COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to decline, while the state reports 50 deaths as of January
COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to decline, while the state reports 50 deaths as of January

COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to decline, while the state reports 50 deaths as of January

Fewer patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, the state reported Saturday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 231 patients have been hospitalized with the virus throughout Maine, down from Friday’s report of 245 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Of the 231 inpatients, 63 are in critical care and 23 in ventilators, according to the Maine CDC.

These figures represent a dramatic drop from just last month. On January 13, there were 436 patients admitted with COVID-19, a pandemic height. Deaths, hospitalizations and wastewater screening data remain the best measures to determine the impact of COVID-19, the state has said. In addition, the state received 244 positive cases on Thursday, far from January 12, when the state received 3,400 positive tests that day.

But the death toll in Maine continues to rise.

The state CDC reported another 50 deaths as part of a vital medical record review, said Robert Long, communications director for the Department of Health and Human Services. “These deaths occurred between January 9, 2022 and January 22, 2022,” Long said in a news release. “The Maine CDC expresses sympathy with their loved ones and communities.”

Since the pandemic began, 1,960 people have died from COVID-19, according to the Maine CDC.

A number of states and cities have dropped indoor, public mask mandates. Portland, Bath and Freeport completed their indoor, public mask mandates, while other municipalities, including Brunswick and South Portland, are reviewing their indoor, public mask mandates.

At his weekly briefing, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah that the steady decline in hospital admissions, combined with other measurements showing that transmission is declining, has prompted state health officials to consider updating masking recommendations for public schools. But he warned: “We are not there yet.” “The trends are encouraging and favorable, but what we are looking for now is continued stability. Omicron’s ball trains are slowing down, but it is not time to let go of the brakes,” Shah said on Wednesday.

The U.S. CDC continues to recommend wearing masks in indoor, public spaces, as most of the country has high transmission rates. The American CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said this week that updated recommendations on masking are likely to come soon, but she did not set a timeline. National news reports suggested the new guidelines would be announced next week.

Dr. Dora Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer at MaineHealth, said the omicron rise is smoldering, and at the national level, hospitals are working hard to catch up with the huge backlog of patients to be operated on and ongoing increases in patients with underlying chronic diseases.

With the long pandemic, Mills recommends people “do what gives you joy, including gathering with their loved ones if you are fully vaccinated and boosted,” she said on her Facebook page. Mills said she will continue to wear a mask in public spaces, as well as when she is indoors with people who are not in her household, as the transmission speed is high.

Also on Saturday, Maine also added 4,011 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the pandemic as health officials work to clear up a backlog of positive tests submitted in recent weeks. Maine is using a new partially automated system to sort in the backlog. Before the process was automated, staff at the Maine CDC were overwhelmed with cases during the omicron wave and could not process test results fast enough to prevent the backlog.

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