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Delta variant comprised 100% of latest samples in Maine

August 18, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Eleven Maine transportation companies ranging from windjammers to bus lines are eligible to receive aid from a $1.6 billion federal relief package.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a ranking member of the transportation appropriations subcommittee, made the announcement Tuesday.

“Bus and motorcoach companies, ferries and tour boats sustain good-paying jobs and provide critical transportation services,” Collins said. “The COVID-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on these businesses, many of which are small and family owned.”

The grant recipients include Chebeague Transportation Company, which provides passenger ferry service between Cousins Island in Yarmouth and Chebeague Island; BayCycle, a human-powered party boat docked in Portland; and VIP Tour & Charter Bus Company in Portland.

Others include the Monhegan Boat Line; Acadia National Park Tours and Transport in Bar Harbor; Downeast Windjammer Cruise Lines; and Northeast Charter and Tour Company of Lewiston.

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In other pandemic-related news:

DOMINANT DELTA

The delta variant continues to be the dominant strain of coronavirus in the latest testing by the Maine Center for Disease Control.

The delta variant made up 100% of 35 sampled cases so far in August, compared to 86% percent in July, the Portland Press Herald reported. In June, delta accounted for only 3.6 percent of all tested cases.

The state is dealing with an increase in COVID-19 infections because of the more contagious variant.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 92 new cases per day on Aug. 2 to 176 new cases per day on Aug. 16.

All told, there have been 191 COVID-19 infections and two deaths since the weekend in Maine, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control.

COUNTIES AND MASKS

Mainers should now wear masks regardless of their vaccination status in all but two of the state’s counties because of the summer surge in COVID-19 cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status if there is substantial transmission of the virus, defined as 50 or more cases per 100,000 people at a county level on a weekly basis.

The only counties where there’s no formal recommendation for masks are Androscoggin and Kennebec, the Bangor Daily News reported.