Wastewater tests show continued decline in COVID-19 in Maine
Wastewater tests show continued decline in COVID-19 in Maine

Wastewater tests show continued decline in COVID-19 in Maine

The state continues to remove a backlog in positive cases from the top of the omicron wave, as hospitalizations, sewage tests and school outbreaks all continue to show sustained improvement in pandemic conditions.

Wastewater tests from most places in Maine shows a significant decrease in virus prevalence, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. The state-wide wastewater data on the Maine CDC website has not been updated since February 14th.

But on Sunday, the city of Yarmouth released a new report that revealed a 95 percent drop in the presence of the virus in Yarmouth’s sewage system compared to the previous week.

Yarmouth lowered its “COVID-O-Meter” from “high” transmission to “moderate”.

The virus in Yarmouth is at its “lowest level since mid-October 2021. The current level continues the declining trend that started with the test on 10-11 January 2022,” according to the Yarmouth report.

Meanwhile, nationwide hospital admissions have fallen by more than 50 percent since a peak of 436 patients admitted with COVID-19 on January 13th. This number had dropped to 216 COVID-19 patients on Monday, the latest available data.

The dramatic reduction in hospital admissions over the past month has helped ease the strain on Maine hospitals, which handled a stretch of 17 consecutive days in January with at least 400 people hospitalized with the virus.

The state on Tuesday added 2,609 COVID-19 confirmed cases, bringing the total pandemic to 221,406 cases and 1,960 deaths. Most of the recently confirmed cases were from positive tests submitted to the state weeks ago, when CDC staff were overwhelmed with thousands of tests a day and could not process them to determine which were new cases and which there were duplicates.

Robert Long, Maine CDC spokesman, said in an email Sunday that the agency is continuing to work on the backlog as it automated part of the process of working through positive tests that were yet to be addressed. Before the system was partially automated in February, the omicron wave overwhelmed the state authority’s ability to process tests in a timely manner, resulting in a backlog that at one point had grown to nearly 60,000 cases.

This story will be updated.

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