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Sen. Angus King improving; 95% of Mainers in 70s vaccinated

August 24, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine health officials have reported that 95% of state residents in their 70s have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Maine is one of the oldest states in the country, and it also has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccination. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that 95% of the more than 125,000 people in their 70s in the state have now had their final shots.

More than 70% of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. That means they have had one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Older Mainers have higher vaccination coverage than other age groups. The rate for people age 50 and older is about 83%. For those 12 to 49, it’s about 58%.

The pace of vaccination in the state has ticked up recently, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Tuesday.

In other pandemic news in Maine:

KING IMPROVING

A spokesperson for independent Sen. Angus King said the senator is feeling better as he recovers from the coronavirus.

King, 77 and a U.S. senator since 2013, announced Aug. 19 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. King was vaccinated for the disease earlier this year.

Spokesperson Matthew Felling said Tuesday that King is “feeling better, quarantining and resting at home, following doctor’s orders.”

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THE NUMBERS

Cases of the coronavirus are still on the rise, and the delta variant is to blame.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 140.50 on Aug. 8 to 162.57 on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 0.14 on Aug. 8 to 2.86 on Sunday.

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.

Nearly all cases in the state are likely attributable to the delta variant, Shah said Tuesday. That’s an additional incentive to get vaccinated, he said.

“Delta is not just the predominant variant in Maine, it is the variant in Maine,” Shah said. “This is a concern. ”

Maine CDC has reported more than 74,000 cases of the virus and 924 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 is about twice what it was two weeks ago, Shah said.

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REMOTE SCHOOL

A COVID-19 outbreak has caused the first pivot to remote schooling of the year in Maine.

The high school in Van Buren went remote Monday after a staff member who was in contact with many students tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bangor Daily News reported. Students who are vaccinated or did not come into contact with the staff member were scheduled to return to in-person learning Tuesday, the Daily News reported.

Vaccinated students will be required to wear masks for 10 days. Unvaccinated students have to quarantine for the same time frame and attend school remotely.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.