The Maine CDC reports the total number of new cases of COVID-19 is less than 100, for the first time in nearly 3 months.

Dr. Nirav Shah says it's a good reason for Maine residents to be optimistic. On Tuesday, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported 91 new cases of COVID-19, statewide. As of Tuesday, the 7-day testing positivity rate is at 1.57%. That percentage hasn't dipped that low since last November.

Unfortunately, there are also two people, diagnosed with the virus, who have passed away. Both were elderly residents, one from York County and one from Kennebec County. That brings the total death count to 651.

The lower case numbers are good news, but Dr. Shah says his optimism is guarded, because of the COVID variants that could still make many Mainers sick, and possibly die. The Maine CDC announced, just last week, that the first case of B.1.1.7. has been diagnosed in Maine, in a resident who had just traveled internationally. This variant is said to be even more contagious than COVID-19. So, while Tuesday's numbers are encouraging, Shah says we're not out of the woods yet.

With more and more residents getting vaccinated and with continued safety protocols, he said the numbers could continue to decline. It's still important for Mainers to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings. The Maine CDC statistics show 176,892 residents have received their first COVID-19 vaccine, while 73,021 have been given their second shot.

More information about COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found on the state's online dashboard.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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