AUGUSTA, Maine — Tied for the third-highest county positivity rate at 3.5 percent, York County has been re-designated from "green" to "yellow" in the Maine Department of Education's (DOE) latest update. The color-coded classifications for Maine counties shows the relative risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Based on the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control's (CDC) assessment, the DOE has reclassified York County, joining Androscoggin, Franklin, Somerset and Washington counties, which were designated previously. Cumberland, Hancock, and Kennebec counties remain designated as green and continue to be closely monitored.
Knox County's new case rate per capita is now below the state average, moving the county from yellow to green. All other Maine counties remain green.
In last week's update, Androscoggin County was reclassified to yellow due to its tripled case and positivity rates. On Friday the DOE said it will remain yellow because the county's number of new cases per capita in the past two weeks increased significantly to a high among Maine counties of 33.8 cases per 10,000.
The new case rate continues to rise in Franklin and Washington counties. Somerset County’s new case rate is third-highest among Maine counties at 24.4 cases per 10,000, and its positivity rate is 4.7 percent.
A "yellow" designation indicates a moderate level of community risk. With the designation, the Maine DOE asks schools to consider additional precautions, such as limiting numbers of people in school buildings at the same time, suspending all extracurricular or co-curricular activities including competitions between schools, limiting interaction through cohorting, or other measures based on the unique needs of each school community.
The color-coded system was implemented at the end of July to help give schools guidance on how to safely restart school amid the pandemic. All 16 counties got the initial go-ahead from the State, all receiving a "green" designation, though many districts opted for a hybrid model.
Here's how the classifications work:
- Green: relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools can consider in-person instruction with required health and safety measures.
- Yellow: elevated risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools should consider hybrid instructional models to try to limit the number of people in classrooms at the same time.
- Red: high risk of COVID-19 spread. In-person instruction is not advised.
The DOE said these designations are made out of an abundance of caution and for the consideration of school administrative units in their decisions to deliver instruction.
The next update is scheduled for Dec. 4.