Hospital admissions remain stable as Maine reports 317 new COVID-19 cases
Hospital admissions remain stable as Maine reports 317 new COVID-19 cases

Hospital admissions remain stable as Maine reports 317 new COVID-19 cases

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maine remained stable Saturday as the state reported 317 new cases and no new deaths.

A total of 104 patients were admitted Saturday morning, including 16 in critical care and two in respirator. That’s one patient more than Friday’s number of 103, as the state continues to have an average of just about 100 COVID-19 patients daily.

The number of hospitalized patients across the country has been around 100 for more than a month, although the average number of new cases reported by the state has increased by about 50 percent in recent weeks, from about 200 cases a day to about 300.

Although the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 317 new cases on Saturday, the actual number of new infections is significantly higher than the daily reports because many people now rely on home tests that are not included in the official counts. Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 242,033 cases and 2,280 deaths.

Maine’s increase in infections coincides with increases across the northeast after the spread of the BA.2 omicron subvariant, which is more contagious than the original omicron variant.

Hospital admissions have also begun to increase in the Northeast, but not as markedly as infection rates. The number of new hospital admissions has increased by 24 percent over the past week in New England, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Public health experts do not project a large jump in hospital admissions because both omicron variants tend to cause less severe cases, and with high levels of the population immunized through vaccination and previous infection, there are fewer people to infect. Also, people who are vaccinated and get breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are much more likely to get a mild version and do not need hospitalization.

Aroostook County was reclassified as being at high risk for virus transmission, according to federal data updated late Thursday.

The high-risk category on the US CDC’s COVID Data Tracker card means that community transmission of the virus is high and can strain hospital capacity. People living in high-risk areas are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in public spaces.

Franklin County is now considered to be at moderate risk. Residents of moderate-risk counties are advised to wear masks when indoors if they are at high risk for COVID-19 complications due to their age or underlying health conditions.

All other counties in Maine are classified as low-risk, meaning there is no universal recommendation to wear masks indoors. The virus is still circulating in low-risk areas, but there is little chance that diseases will strain hospital capacity.

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