Maine health officials reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, another low daily count that suggests virus transmission continues to wane.
One additional death was reported as well.
The seven-day rolling case average now stands at 73, which is down from 146 two weeks ago and 305 on average this time last month, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Except for a two-week blip in late April and early May, cases have been falling steadily for the last two months as more and more residents have become fully vaccinated. Additionally, it has now been more than two weeks — or one virus incubation period — since most pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and cases have remained low.
The number of new cases has fallen dramatically across the country as well, although some of that is due to decreased testing volume in some areas. The most recent seven-day case average in the U.S., according to the federal CDC, is 13,400. That’s down from about 68,000 cases on average two months ago. Deaths also are at their lowest level since the early days of the pandemic, averaging 380 per day.
Since the coronavirus reached Maine in March 2020, there have been 68,331 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 840 deaths. Both totals are among the lowest per capita of any state.
Hospitalizations have plummeted in the last two weeks as well. As of Tuesday, there were 52 individuals in the hospital with COVID-19, including 26 in critical care and 13 on ventilators.
Over the last 14 days, the number of people hospitalized has been cut in half, and Tuesday’s total was the lowest since last November. Hospitalizations peaked in mid-January, when as many as 200 people were in the hospital with COVID-19.
As for vaccinations, the state has now administered 725,689 first doses, accounting for 61.3 percent of the eligible population over the age of 12, and 723,955 final doses, representing 61.1 percent of eligible residents. Of those final doses, 76,266 have been the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The fact that the percentage of first doses and final doses is now roughly the same suggests the state might be nearing its ceiling.
Persuading those who for whatever reason have yet to get vaccinated has become the state’s focus, but any progress going forward is likely to be much slower than Maine has seen since vaccinations began in December. Daily doses administered have not reached 10,000 in more than two weeks after routinely crossing that plateau throughout March, April and May.
All Maine adults over the age of 16 have been eligible for two full months now, and the percentage of residents between the ages of 16 and 49 who have gotten at least one dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson option, is 56.6 percent. By comparison, 81 percent of Mainers 50 or over have gotten at least one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Maine’s overall vaccination rate now ranks third behind fellow New England states Vermont and Massachusetts, according to a Bloomberg tracker. The national rate of fully vaccinated individuals is roughly 42 percent, although it’s up above 50 percent for adults.
Several southern states have vaccination rates lower that 33 percent.
Vaccinations have slowed considerably over the last month and now average about 1 million doses per day in the U.S. That’s down from more than 2 million one month ago and down from 3 million during the peak in mid-April.
This story will be updated.