Eight Maine counties are now seeing high enough coronavirus transmission that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal mask-wearing indoors, according to data released by the agency on Wednesday.
Masks are now recommended indoors in Cumberland, Kennebec and Piscataquis counties. On Tuesday, five counties fell under masking recommendations — Penobscot, Waldo, York, Somerset and Lincoln — and have maintained high enough transmission rates to keep them in place.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status if there is substantial transmission of the virus in their community, defined as 50 or more cases per 100,000 people at a county level.
Seven out of the eight Maine counties — all except Waldo — are just over the threshold, a Bangor Daily News analysis of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data found, with more than 50 but less than 70 new cases per 100,000 people per week.
Waldo County reported the highest rate of new cases on Tuesday, after 29 new cases were reported there. The county, with a population a bit under 40,000, has seen 146 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, with cases rising due to community transmission.
As data changes from day to day, the number of counties that fall under the U.S. CDC recommendations change daily.