Cumberland County continues to dominate the list of ZIP codes in Maine reporting the highest COVID-19 infection rates, with a few towns in York and Androscoggin counties making the top 10.
But as Maine experiences a disturbing rise in coronaviruses, public health officials are warning that new infections are occurring across the state, including in previously rural towns. few or no cases.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has described the situation as a “sustained, strong and widespread public spread” across the state.
New ZIP-level data released by the Maine CDC this week shows that, unsurprisingly, some of Maine̵7;s most densely populated areas have the highest total COVID-19 infections since the virus’s discovery in Maine in mid-March. Lewiston’s ZIP 04240 had the highest total number of cases, with 453, followed by Portland’s ZIP codes 04103 and 04101 with 383 and 324 cases respectively. These numbers represent the total number of cases so far, including those who have recovered from the disease.
ZIP codes in Westbrook, South Portland, Falmouth, Biddeford, Scarborough and Auburn make it to the top 10 in total COVID-19 cases.
Checking the ZIP code data on a per capita basis gives similar results, but with some mid-sized towns in York County – such as Alfred, Springvale and Sanford – rising higher in the list due to translation disease outbreak or spread from the community. But it’s impossible to calculate per capita rates for every town in the state because the Maine CDC only publishes a specific number of cases for 113 ZIP codes, plus 115 regions with zero COVID-19 cases.
The case numbers for the remaining 168 ZIP codes are provided in the range – from one to five, six to 19, and 20 to 49 – because “the exact number of cases is discarded in all ZIP codes have 5 cases or less or populations less than 2,000, ”the agency said.
Portland’s ZIP code 04101, which includes downtown, East End and Bayside, has the highest virus prevalence rate with one incident out of 58 residents. The region also had the highest incidence rates in June when CDC Maine first started releasing ZIP-level data.
Taken together, the three ZIP codes in Maine’s largest city – 04101, 04102 and 04013 – account for 938, or nearly 15 percent, of the state’s 6,467 COVID-19 cases since March. However, this virus is less common in Portland’s population on a per capita basis, affecting one in 74 residents compared to one in 67 Falmouth residents and one in 71 Westbrook residents, based on ZIP code data.
Cape Elizabeth has a rate of 1 case per 96 residents while Lewiston is 1 case per 82 residents.
Three York County towns in the top 10 have also been affected by outbreaks since the summer, some of which were epidemiologically associated with an August wedding and reception around 200 miles away at Millinocket. Alfred, which experienced an outbreak at the York County Prison that made about 70 prisoners or staff sick, 1 case in 84 residents, while Springvale and Sanford had a rate of 1 case per 100 and 101 residents have their ZIP codes, respectively.
Determining per capita rates for smaller towns – including some that have been affected by outbreaks – is more difficult or inaccurate because the Maine CDC does not report the number of major cases. validators for ZIP codes with less than 2,000 residents.
For example, in the town of Brooks, in the countryside of Waldo County, at the heart of a growing outbreak involving a church, there were 20 to 49 cases of COVID-19 in a ZIP code with only 1,727 residents. That means the lowest rate would be 1 case for every 86 residents of Brooks, but it could be as common as happening once per 35 residents. The Penobscot County East Millinocket town, which was affected by the August outbreak tied to a wedding, has a similar range.
Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, urged Mainers not to use the ZIP code file number to make a decision about the level of vigilance on precautions against COVID-19.
“What we’ve seen over the past week, last month and certainly today is the virus in every corner of the state – every ZIP code, every county,” Shah said on Wednesday. “So, while ZIP code data is interesting and informative, they are not tools for individuals to calculate the risk of engaging in certain activities. We should go about our days as we recommended for months, there is the virus all around us. “
After successfully avoiding outbreaks in other states in recent months, Maine is now seeing some of the highest daily infection numbers since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, the state recorded 76 more cases, followed by 80 more on Thursday and 103 more on Friday. That raised the state’s seven-day average of new cases to 67.9 on Friday, more than double the figure a month earlier and up from 34.9 a week ago.
Somerset County in the countryside had 26 new cases in two days, up sharply in a county that had previously had fewer than 150 cases in seven months.
“The important and disturbing thing in Somerset County is that there was no new outbreak investigation at any of the facilities in that county, not to mention one facility that caused an increase of 26 cases in two days,” Shah said. said in a press conference on Thursday. “In other words, based on what we know right now, this is strong evidence of the spread of the community across Somerset County.”
The state is looking for a COVID outbreak related to Pat’s Pizza in Portland