Daily new coronavirus cases in Maine reached a record high this week, with the state recording some 554 cases on Tuesday alone.
The seven-day moving average also increased on Tuesday, rising to 409.3, an increase from 321.6 a week prior.
Maine has now recorded more than 17,300 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, per official estimates.
The news comes as the widespread rollout of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine began this week. The jab, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, received emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last week. The vaccine, which requires two doses given weeks apart, is the first to receive such approval in the U.S.
Another promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by Moderna, is expected to also be granted emergency use approval. An FDA advisory committee is slated to meet Thursday and is expected to recommend that the vaccine be formally given an EUA by the federal agency.
A nurse at the Maine Medical Center was thought to be the first person in the state to receive the Pfizer jab on Tuesday morning.
"I trust the science and I trust that receiving the vaccine is a safer alternative to how critically ill patients are suffering," said nurse Kayla Mitchell. "I’ve seen enough. People are scared and they end up alone. It’s exhausting and it’s relentless."