Rural Communities Seeing Higher Infection Rates

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — The highest rates of coronavirus infections in recent months have been in places with lower vaccination rates, demonstrating a divide between rural and urban centers in the state, a newspaper reported.

Communities with the lowest vaccination rates have seen the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases over the past 4 1/2 months amid the onset of the delta variant, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Communities where more than 90% of eligible residents are vaccinated experienced nearly 40% lower infections than in communities with inoculation rates below 70%, the newspaper reported.

The highest infection rates were previously centered in ZIP codes containing cities like Portland, Lewiston, Biddeford and Kittery, the newspaper said, but they are now in communities like Guilford, Levant, Houlton and Madison.

Dr. Noah Nesin, chief medical officer at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, said the good news is that more people are getting vaccinated as they see the damage inflicted by the delta variant.

“It is now a choice between getting vaccinated or getting delta,” Nesin said. “They see this as a very serious disease that isn’t just going to go away.”

In other pandemic news in Maine:

___

THE NUMBERS

The number of daily new cases of the coronavirus in the state increased once again.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 359.00 on Sept. 7 to 457.29 on Sept. 21. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 1.71 on Sept. 7 to 4.43 on Sept. 21.

The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday that there have been 1,009 deaths and more than 85,000 positive cases of the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic.

Federal authorities are recommending indoor mask use everywhere in the state.