The number of new cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period was the second-highest since May 20, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday, Oct, 28.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said since yesterday, 76 people have tested positive for the disease across the state. Since Sunday, Oct. 25, there have been 250 cases reported, he added.

The trend he said, is “significant and concerning.”

Breaking down the cases by county since Sunday, Shah said, 21% are from Cumberland, 19% from York, 12% from Knox, and 12% from Washington County. In the last 24-hours, 11 cases have been identified in Knox, nine in Washington, seven in Somerset and three in Aroostook County.

The average age of people contracting the virus is 43, he said, and overall spans from 8 months to 94 years old.

The Waldo County outbreak that started at the Brooks Pentecostal Church remains at 60 cases.

In Washington County, the number of people infected with the disease at the Second Baptist Church outbreak in Calais has risen to 27, including 18 people who attended the church service and nine who are close contacts.

The outbreak in Knox County at Woodlands Memory Care has grown to 12, with 10 residents and two staffers having tested positive for the disease.

“The virus is in every single corner of the state,” Shah said.

The case numbers, he said, while similar to what was seen in May, are driven by different factors now. In May, the cases were primarily driven by congregate care facilities. Today, the increases are because “the virus is in every county.”

Shah said the worst-case scenario would be for the virus to increase exponentially. “Seventy or so one day could turn into 140 another day, then 300 cases, and so on and so forth,” he said. “It’s happened in other states. Let’s not let it happen here.”

The cause of the recent spike in cases, Shah said, is not any recent specific outbreak, but rather community transmission. As people move indoors, they are letting their guard down and not using face coverings or adhering to social distancing measures.

“Individuals are now congregating indoors more,” he said, “and less likely to wear a mask.”

One trend in transmission he has seen is in small household gatherings; people in small groups, in someone’s home, where masks or social distancing is not taking place. “People feel safe at home,” he said.

Shah said the rise in cases is also not associated with more testing. The volume of testing, he said, has been holding steady, but the positivity rate and hospitalizations have been going up.

The new cases, he said, are because of transmission and not because of more testing.

Gov. Janet Mills said new cases associated with private gatherings can threaten to overwhelm hospitals and health care workers.

“It’s a basic social responsibility,” she said, referring to wearing a mask. “It’s about common sense.

“It’s like avoiding a crash,” Mills said.