As voters lined up at the polls on Tuesday, Maine reported 127 new cases of COVID-19, a record high for one day.
The previous record was 103 cases on Friday, as Maine is seeing a late October/early November surge in cases.
The seven-day daily average of new cases continues to soar, and stood at 87.9 on Tuesday, compared to 57 a week ago and 31.9 a month ago. Forty-seven of Tuesday’s cases were in Cumberland County, 15 in Kennebec County and 12 each in both York and Somerset counties. Nationally, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, and the United States has reported more than 9 million infections and 230,000 deaths.
The recent spike caused the Mills administration over the weekend to indefinitely delay the opening of bars – which were set to open on Monday – and to impose other restrictions, such as reducing indoor gatherings to 50 people or fewer.
Indoor gatherings had been expanded on Oct. 13 to 100 people or 50 percent of permitted occupancy – whichever was fewer – but the limit has been reduced back down to 50 people, regardless of seating capacity. Outdoor gathering limits remain at 100 people, and occupancy limits for retail remain at five people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.
Also, because of rising case numbers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, visitors to Maine from those states are now no longer exempt from Maine’s requirement that visitors quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the state or produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to arrival. Massachusetts is also on the watch list for having its exemption removed because of rising cases there.
There were no additional deaths on Tuesday.
In a tweet on Sunday, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said, “We must get control of the virus’s spread. Please, do your part. The most vulnerable in our communities are those who will suffer the greatest if we do not. The better we do now, the better we’ll do later.”
Gov. Janet Mills said during a media briefing on Monday that she is “deeply sorry” for having to postpone bar reopenings and dial back other reopening measures. But Mills said it was a necessary measure to try to control the spread of the virus.
“We cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy population,” Mills said.
Twenty-nine people were hospitalized on Tuesday, with eight in intensive care. A new outbreak was reported on Monday, at Deeper Life Assembly of God in Pittsfield. But Shah has said more of the cases in recent weeks are occurring from community spread and are not tied to specific outbreaks.
This story will be updated.