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High COVID-19 transmission prompts indoor mask requirement at Acadia

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say COVID-19 transmission is at high levels in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington counties.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Rising COVID-19 cases in Hancock County have prompted the National Park Service to reinstate the mask requirement in all indoor spaces at Acadia National Park effective Oct. 15.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Hancock County as having "high" community-level transmission.

Three other Maine counties, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington, were also listed as "high" on Monday.

The Department of the Interior policy requires that parks in counties with high community levels require all people in indoor spaces to wear high-quality masks.

The level of COVID-19 transmission in other Maine counties is as follows:

Medium transmission: 

  • Androscoggin
  • Franklin
  • Kennebec
  • Oxford
  • Somerset
  • Waldo

Low transmission

  • Aroostook
  • Cumberland
  • Knox
  • Lincoln
  • Sagadahoc
  • York

In August, the U.S. CDC relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, eliminating a requirement that people quarantine if they encounter someone infected with COVID-19.

Students returned to school in September largely with no mask requirements. But health officials predicted that the return of cold weather and more indoor activities would likely increase transmission of the virus.

But in early October, the number of people in Maine hospitals with COVID-19 reached levels not seen since May.

Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, warned that rates of the virus are rising across the northeast, including in Maine, and that some people catching it are going to the hospital.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and the vaccine in Maine

On Friday, Oct. 17, the Maine CDC reported 1,547 new cases since Tuesday. As of Friday, 214 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 38 in critical care and six on a ventilator.

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