The number of active cases of COVID-19 reached its highest level since the outbreak began in March.

Gov. Janet Mills announced at the Thursday, May 7 briefing that the state and IDEXX laboratories of Westbrook have a partnership to provide the state with testing kits that will more than triple the state's ability to test people for the new virus.

"This is a game changer for Maine and its people," Gov. Mills said.

Now that physicians can order tests for anyone, even if the person is not showing symptoms, the state can get a better handle on the extent of the outbreak in Maine. This, in turn, will allow her to soon update the plan for reopening Maine businesses.

There were an additional 76 statewide cases of COVID-19 reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, May 7. Thirty-nine of the new cases are from testing done of workers at the Tyson food plant in Portland and another 13 from a skilled nursing care facility in Westbrook.

The new cases outpaced the increase in recoveries. There were no new deaths reported on May 7 with the total remaining at 62. The first death in Maine was reported March 27.

The 76 additional cases bring the statewide total of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Maine since the outbreak began to 1,330. There were 21 additional people who have recovered, bringing that number to 787.

The number of active confirmed cases statewide increased by 55, reaching a record high of 481 as of May 7 . The previous peak was reached April 17 when there were 446 active cases.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Tuesday that 269 of the confirmed cases of the new virus were contracted by health care workers.

The active Knox County cases remained at four on Thursday with 17 cases overall with 13 recoveries. Two Knox County residents have been hospitalized by the new virus.

Waldo County active cases dropped to five on Thursday with 49 overall cases, 31 recoveries, and the 13 deaths. The cases and deaths have been largely concentrated at the Tall Pines long term care center in Belfast.

Lincoln County's active cases remained at three on Thursday with 14 cases and 11 recoveries.

The number of people hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 increased to 39 on Thursday. Sixteen are in critical care units and 1a of those people are on respirators.

The number of people who tested negative for the virus was 22,092 as of May 6.

Of the people who tested positive as of Thursday, the Maine CDC reports most were people in their 50s, which accounted for 264 of the confirmed cases since the outbreak started. There have been 218 people in their 60s, 198 in their 40s, 167 in their 70s, 162 who were 80 or older, 147 in their 30s, 143 in their 20s, and 31 who were younger than 20. During the past week, many of the new cases have been people in their 30s and younger.

Fifty-four percent of the confirmed cases have been women and 47 percent men.