Maine Has One of Nation's Highest Rates of COVID-19 Cases Per Capita

A tracker on lists both Maine and Rhode Island as having 53 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

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According to New York Times data tracking coronavirus, Maine, as of Thursday afternoon, is tied with Rhode Island for the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country per capita.

A tracker on lists both states as having 53 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

For Maine, that represents a 144% increase over the past 14 days and the state is just behind Delaware at the top of the list for hospitalizations per 100,000 people as well.

"We believe that this is following a similar pattern that we’ve seen before where Europe gets these surges and then New England and the mid-Atlantic," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, one of the state’s largest healthcare networks.

Mills added that the spike in cases Maine is seeing appears to be completely attributable to subvariants of the omicron strain of COVID-19.

Asked about the high case rates, Robert Long, a spokesperson for Maine CDC, replied that the state agency suggests taking a "longer-term perspective than case and hospitalization changes from one-day rates" because those rates "fluctuate more radically for states with smaller populations, so the longer-term seroprevalence monitoring may be a better measurement tool."

In terms of precautions people can take given the case jump on the tracker, Long said Maine CDC urges people to follow US CDC recommendations to prevent COVID-19 spread based on transmission risk in a given county.

As of Thursday afternoon, only one Maine county, Aroostook County, met the federal threshold that recommends someone wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

Meanwhile, Knox County, Lincoln County, Sagadahoc County, and Franklin County were all in the medium-risk category.

The US CDC recommends that people in those areas who are "at high risk for severe illness" should talk to their "healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions."

During a Thursday interview with NECN & NBC 10 Boston, Mills also recommended looking at the US CDC case map while planning a trip to see if you are traveling from a state with lower COVID-19 rates to one with higher incidences of the virus.

"Make sure you’re up to date on your vaccinations, use ventilation, and take some test kits," she said, listing tips for travelers to high case count areas.

"It’s similar to just looking at the weather forecast and dressing appropriately," she added.

Looking ahead, Mills said she expects the jump in COVID-19 rates in New England and the Mid-Atlantic could move across the country.

She added that families with children under 5 who cannot be vaccinated yet, or families with people who are elderly and have chronic illnesses, regardless of vaccination status, may want to take extra precautions.

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