The Maine Center for Disease Control reported 14 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, as the statewide case count rose to 2,971 and the death toll remained at 102.
State health officials haven’t reported a virus-related death in five days. Three virus-related deaths have been reported in the last two weeks in Maine.
Cumberland County has reported the most virus-related deaths of all the counties, with 58, officials said. Waldo County trails with 14 deaths, followed by York with 11 deaths, Kennebec with nine, Androscoggin with four, and Penobscot with two. Knox, Aroostook, Franklin, and Hancock have each reported one death.
Indoor bar service will be postponed until further notice to protect the health of residents, Governor Janet Mills announced in a statement Monday. Outdoor bar service was able to resume in all counties on Wednesday, ahead of the originally scheduled July 1 opening date.
“This was a difficult but necessary decision given the increased public health risk and the outbreaks we have seen across the country associated with indoor service,” Mills said. “While we believe this is the most prudent step to protect the health and safety of Maine people, we recognize that it will frustrate some businesses and patrons.”
State health officials cited recent outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Idaho as reasons for the postponement.
Amid nationwide public health concerns about how the virus disproportionately affects minority groups, the Portland Press Herald reported that Maine has the widest racial disparity in regards to the coronavirus in the United States. Black residents are contracting the virus at 20 times the rate of white residents, the report said.
The state has the highest percentage of white residents in the country and a relatively low coronavirus infection rate, the report said. But Black residents, who make up 1.4 percent of the state’s population, account for almost a quarter of those infected with the virus, according to the report.
The disparity is “categorically, unacceptably high,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, at a virtual press conference Friday afternoon.
“We are making strides and we are attempting to do better in partnership with members of those communities,” Shah said. But … I will be the first to acknowledge that we have more to do there.”
Mills called for the United States Department of Agriculture to designate maple syrup as an eligible Coronavirus Food Assistance Program specialty crop on Friday, in an attempt to help maple syrup producers who have struggled due to price drops, event cancellations, and restaurant closures, the administration announced Monday. If added to the program, maple syrup producers would be eligible for funding doled out by the program.
Maine is the third-largest maple syrup producer in the country, with 557 maple syrup producers making about 580,000 gallons of syrup in 2019, state officials said. Altogether, the production value of the syrup was estimated at $21.6 million.
“Maine’s growing maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full- and part-time jobs, and $25.1 million in labor income,” Mills said in the letter to the USDA.
As of Sunday, 80,662 coronavirus tests have been administered across the state, officials said.
No additional people were hospitalized since Sunday, officials said. The total number of people who have been hospitalized at some point during their illness remains at 336. Currently, 27 people are hospitalized, with 13 in critical care and six on ventilators.
Another 15 people have recovered since contracting the virus, bringing the state’s recovery total to 2,406 people, officials said.
There are 139 ICU beds and 262 ventilators available for use across the state, officials said.
Material from the AP Wire Service was used in this report. Matt Berg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.