Two new deaths were reported Wednesday, May 19, at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention briefing, one of which was in Waldo County.

The two people were both women, one in her 60s and the other in her 70s. Besides the woman from Waldo County was one from York County. A total of 807 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine CDC, reported an additional 202 COVID-19 cases since yesterday. Currently there are 107 people in the hospital, of whom 41 are in intensive care units and 27 are on ventilators.

As of April 1, he said, 45% of all new cases are among people under the age of 29. "That is a stark change," he said, from before vaccines were widely available, when the majority of people were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Regarding vaccinations, Shah said half of the state has received their first shot, while 48% have gotten all shots needed. In the 12-to-15 age range, 57% of children have gotten at least their first dose and 54% are done with the COVID-19 series.

In the first week of the vaccination rollout for students 12 to 15, 8,462 adolescents have been vaccinated, he added.

Addressing the recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking guidelines, Shah said Maine is currently in a transition period.

Starting May 24, Gov. Mills' executive order on masking "goes away," Shah said, except for schools and child care centers.

For those not fully vaccinated, he said, "I recommend wearing a mask anytime in an indoor setting."

Those who are fully vaccinated need not wear a mask, he said, except when using public transportation, in an airport, school or health care setting, or in a business that requires a mask.

"Be smart, respectful and considerate," Shah said, and recognize that not everyone is fully vaccinated. "Others may not be where you are," as far as their level of protection, he said.

Ask yourself he said, "Are you vaccinated, and where are you going?"

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services said any Maine organization with at least 10 people who wish to be vaccinated can request online that a clinic come to their location. The focus is to bring the vaccine to the individual, she said.

The vaccination incentive program, which is giving away hunting and fishing licenses along with park passes and gift cards to any Maine resident age 18 and older who gets their first COVID-19 shot before Memorial Day, has already rewarded 1,739 people according to Shah.

The mobile vaccination unit will be in Old Town from May 22 to 25. Appointments can be made by calling the Community Vaccination Line at 888-445-4111 or visiting VaccinateME.maine.gov. Drop-in vaccinations are also available at this location on a first come, first served basis. The unit then will travel to Milbridge from May 27 to 29.

Schools participating in the COVID-19 pool testing program, where samples are taken from participating students in an entire class, can decrease their social distance to three feet, Lambrew said. Students taking part need parental consent  and if any positive case is found, all individuals in the class will be individually tested with the BinaxNow test.

This method provides for a quicker way to identify positive cases in the few remaining weeks of school, she said.

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