COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to slide in Maine
COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to slide in Maine

COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to slide in Maine

COVID-19 hospital admissions fell again Monday to levels not seen since before Thanksgiving as pandemic conditions continue to ease in Maine.

Hospital admissions fell from 291 on Sunday to 275 on Monday, a drop of 37 percent from the peak of the pandemic of 436 on 13 January and the lowest since 19 November. Patients in the intensive care unit ticked down from 67 on Sunday to 65 on Monday. Hospital admissions have been downward on most days since the end of January, when the omicron wave peaked and began a steady decline.

Meanwhile, as conditions improve, restrictions and security policies are loosened. Portland fired last week its indoor mask mandate, which will be lifted on 17 February. School inspectors and officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention met last week and are continuing discussions on pandemic recommendations, such as indoor masking and testing, among other issues.

Maine does not have a nationwide mask mandate for schools, but most schools follow the Maine CDC’s recommendations and enforce local mandates that require universal masking. The Maine CDC and Maine Department of Education say schools that do not have universal masking in place should have stricter quarantine policies for students and staff exposed to COVID-19.

Some school leaders in Maine are looking to the CDC to revise the guidelines to say that masks are optional or will soon be, similar to announcements in other states that have formal mandates.

Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island have all set dates for when school mask mandates expire, or indicated when they are likely to, with Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut setting or likely to set a February 28 date, and Rhode Island sets a 4. March date for when masks will be optional in schools. New Hampshire, like Maine, has not set a date for optional masking, but state epidemiologist told New Hampshire Public Radio last week that school masking recommendations could soon change.

This story will be updated.

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