Jun. 5—The state reported Sunday that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline.
There were 169 people in hospitals statewide with the coronavirus on Sunday, down from 193 on Thursday and 178 on Saturday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of those currently hospitalized with virus, 19 are in critical care units and four on a ventilator.
And when Maine is compared to the rest of the nation, there's more improvement.
Earlier this spring during the omicron variant surge, Maine was among the most affected states, with high numbers of people infected with COVID-19. As of Sunday, Maine's infection rate appeared to have dramatically improved. It now has the 33rd highest case rate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The states on the top of the list now are Hawaii, Florida, Rhode Island, Delaware and California. Maine's case rate for the last seven days is 142.8 for every 100,000 people . The national average, according to the CDC, is 205.8 cases per 100,000.
The federal government still ranks much of Maine as at medium or high risk of infection spread, but there's been improvement.
Half of Maine counties, including Cumberland, are now rated as low risk, with four counties categorized as medium risk and four counties as high risk.
The low-risk counties are Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Kennebec, Knox, Somerset and Waldo.
Medium-risk counties are Androscoggin, Hancock, Penobscot, and Washington, while the four remaining counties ranked at high risk are Aroostook, Franklin, Oxford and Piscataquis.
Mask wearing in public, indoor spaces is not recommended for low-risk counties, but that does not mean the virus is not circulating. In medium-risk counties, mask wearing is recommended for those with health risks, including older persons. In high-risk counties, all people are urged to wear masks in indoor, public settings.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has logged 264,366 cases of COVID-19 and the state reported 315 new cases on Saturday. The state typically does not report new cases or additional deaths on Sundays and Mondays.
Maine's death toll from the virus now numbers 2,382. Nationally, 1,003,800 Americans have died from the virus, federal statistics showed Sunday.
On Saturday, Dr. Tom Frieden, an epidemiologist and the former head of the U.S. CDC, tweeted that because of COVID-19 vaccines, about 2 million Americans are alive today who would have died if it weren't for the vaccines.
As of Saturday, 74.3 percent of Maine's 1.34 million residents had been fully vaccinated, the state reported. Statewide, 765,575 doses of booster shots have been administered.