State health officials reported 938 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths on Wednesday.
The report comes after a decline in new infection reports in the past week caused by a delay in testing over the holidays and a five-day gap in the state’s processing of positive tests. Test volume and cases are expected to increase in the coming days, and holiday gatherings are expected to spark another surge in cases in Maine and nationwide.
Health officials are also closely monitoring the new coronavirus variant, omicron, out of concern that it may be even more transmissible than the delta variant responsible for the current wave in Maine. So far, no cases have been discovered in the US, but many other countries have confirmed cases of the variant.
Hospital admissions were not updated Wednesday morning, but as of Tuesday there were 330 COVID-19 patients in Maine hospitals — another pandemic spike. Of those, 100 were in intensive care and 43 were on a ventilator. In the past month, the number of people in hospital has increased by nearly 70 percent on any given day.
At one point since the start of the pandemic, 3,138 people have been hospitalized with the virus and 1,327 people have died.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah will provide an update on the state’s pandemic response at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
The state’s report of new cases on Wednesday raised the seven-day average to 398, although that number is artificially low due to the long holiday weekend. On Tuesday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,173 new cases for the 5-day period from Thanksgiving through Monday — just about 235 per day — reflecting a trend of fewer tests being performed and processed on weekends, and even more of a holiday weekend.
The seven-day average number of new cases in the United States fell early this week, figures from the US CDC show, but that too is largely a function of decreased testing around the holidays. Prior to Thanksgiving, cases were up about 40 percent in the past month.
Meanwhile, vaccinations in Maine have remained stable, especially booster injections. As of Wednesday, the state has administered 915,341 final doses, representing 68.1 percent of all residents, and 297,160 boosters, covering 22 percent of the population.
Since children ages 5-11 became eligible for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine about a month ago, 27,416 in that age group have received the first doses, or 28.4 percent. But as has been the case during Maine’s vaccination efforts, there are wide geographic differences. Cumberland County, for example, has seen 48 percent of elementary school-age children receive their first doses, the highest percentage of any counties. On the other hand, half of Maine’s 16 counties have not yet reached 20 percent.
This story is being updated
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