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Boosters are about to be available; UMaine students return

August 31, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Booster shots for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be available in about three weeks in Maine.

People will be eligible for booster shots after at least eight months have passed since getting their second dose, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

But he told Maine Public that the focus continues to be getting first shots into the arms of unvaccinated Mainers.

The likelihood of contracting COVID-19 is eight times higher, and the likelihood of being hospitalized is seven times higher, for unvaccinated people compared with those who’ve received the vaccination, he said.

Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer at MaineHealth, said the delta variant of COVID-19 is “pushing our hospitals to the limit.”

Maine Medical Center has been holding up to 50 patients per day in the emergency department as they awaited hospital beds.

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“Surges caused by the delta strain of the COVID-19 virus are not letting up. This means we may be several weeks away from reaching a peak. Yet our hospitals are already full,” she wrote in a social media post.

In other pandemic-related news:

THE NUMBERS

Cases of the virus have continued to rise in the state during the late summer.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 173.86 new cases per day on Aug. 15 to 245.86 new cases per day on Aug. 29. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 0.43 deaths per day on Aug. 15 to 0.86 deaths per day on Aug. 29.

Maine CDC reported on Tuesday that there have been more than 75,000 positive cases of the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic. There have also been 932 deaths.

More than 70% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

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UMAINE

University of Maine students are back in classrooms in large numbers for the first time since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

Students are required to be vaccinated and about 93% of residential hall students and 69% of non-residential students have verified that they’ve been vaccinated, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Students were elated to be back and for classes to resume Monday.

“All I’ve known is online classes,” said Anya Lam Zimet, a sophomore engineering physics major. “It actually does feel like I’m in college now.”