Flags lowered in memory of COVID deaths

ELLSWORTH — In accordance with a presidential proclamation, U.S. and Maine state flags were lowered to half-staff May 12-16 in remembrance of the 1 million Americans who have died of COVID-19. Maine deaths totaled 2,336 as of Tuesday.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on many, but the greatest grief has been borne by those who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus — the mothers and fathers who are missing at the kitchen table; the brothers and sisters who never came home for the holidays; the grandparents who used to read to their grandkids; the neighbors you don’t see at church anymore. One million Americans, including more than two thousand Maine people, who lived meaningful, loving lives,” said Governor Janet Mills. “As we mark this unwelcome milestone, I ask all Maine people to join me in remembering those we have lost, honoring their lives, and doing what we can to prevent more illness and death, most especially by getting vaccinated.”

There were 219 people hospitalized with the virus statewide as of Monday morning, up from 214 on Sunday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those patients, 38 were in critical care and four were on ventilators. On May 13, there were 223 people hospitalized with COVID, including 35 in the ICU and two on ventilators.

Hancock County had a 15.88 percent seven-day positivity rate through May 13, according to the CDC. While the infection rate has been climbing, it is still lower than the peak early this year.

As of early this week, Hancock County’s COVID-19 community level was high, according to the U.S. CDC. The public health agency advises masking indoors in public areas, staying up to date on vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms.

Seventy-seven percent of Hancock County’s population is fully vaccinated, including 95 percent of those 65 and older.

“As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow,” President Joe Biden said in his proclamation. “To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.”

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