The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 33 COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths, making for more than two weeks of daily cases under 100 as the tourist season ramps up.
Churches around the state are grappling with reopening as well. Maine lifted its mask and physical distancing limits in May, but congregations are still considering whether to resume all their usual activities — including singing indoors, which is particularly likely to spread respiratory droplets.
Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 68,826 on Sunday. Of those, 50,330 have been confirmed by testing and 18,496 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 33.7, while the 14-day average was 42.4 cases.
Eight hundred fifty-four people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began.
Faith Lutheran Church in Windham came up with a solution last Sunday: hold services outside. In a grove of oaks, maples and pines, the sounds of nature mingled with hymns and prayer. Many, but not necessarily all, congregants are vaccinated, so although some felt comfortable enough to hug and shake hands, the church decided to move outdoors as a compromise.
“It’s all anyone is talking about in the church world: How do we safely come back together for in-person worship?” said the Rev. Jane Field, the pastor at Faith Lutheran, and also executive director of the Maine Council of Churches.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has moved closer to the old normal, too. This weekend, the diocese allowed parishioners to line up for Communion, made holy water available at church entrances and allowed food to be sold at parish events.
“The diocese has been guided by experts and science in making decisions throughout the pandemic,” Dave Guthro, diocesan spokesman told the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. “We have acted with caution and continue to do so.”
Guthro noted that, since the pandemic began, no COVID-19 outbreak has been traced to a Catholic church in Maine. The diocese also lifted masking and distancing requirements last month, in line with the change in state regulations.
By Sunday morning, Maine had given 766,358 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 64.71 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county as of Sunday, there had been 8,381 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,895 in Aroostook, 17,225 in Cumberland, 1,377 in Franklin, 1,373 in Hancock, 6,593 in Kennebec, 1,145 in Knox, 1,078 in Lincoln, 3,636 in Oxford, 6,320 in Penobscot, 583 in Piscataquis, 1,473 in Sagadahoc, 2,278 in Somerset, 1,049 in Waldo, 938 in Washington and 13,480 in York.
By age, 18.9 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Around the world on Sunday, there were 178.2 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 3.86 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.5 million cases and over 601,000 deaths.