State health officials reported 178 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday but no additional deaths, as Maine prepares to enter the next inoculation phase ahead of anticipated increases in vaccine supplies.
Maine’s seven-day rolling average of new cases stood at 207 on Monday after rising above 200 last week for the first time in more than a month. While the 178 new cases reported Monday represented a decline from numbers late last week, case reports often sag on weekends because of lower testing volumes.
Officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that they are investigating reasons why new cases are trending upward again in Maine, including the potential role of new variants of the virus in the state.
To date, the Maine CDC has tracked a total of 48,642 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 since the coronavirus was first detected in the state roughly one year ago. At least 729 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 in Maine.
This week marks another milestone in Maine’s vaccination effort as the eligibility age drops to 50 starting on Tuesday. As of Monday morning, 365,382 individuals had received at least one dose of vaccine, representing 27.2 percent of the state’s 1.3 million residents. Additionally, 219,073 individuals, or 16.3 percent of the population, had received either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-shot vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.
While Maine expects to see only a modest bump in vaccine shipments this week, state officials hope that could change next week or in early-April thanks to an increase in vaccine production.
The anticipated increase in doses prompted Gov. Janet Mills to announce last week that starting on April 19, all state residents age 16 or older will be eligible for vaccination. Mills cautioned, however, that vaccine supplies will still lag behind demand for inoculation, meaning many people will still have to wait to receive shots.
This story will be updated.