May 28—The number of people hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19 declined a bit on Saturday as the pace of new infections slowed.
The state reported that 166 people were hospitalized with the virus, compared to 168 on Friday. Of the 166 people hospitalized on Saturday, 16 were in critical care units and four on ventilators.
The number of coronavirus patients needing hospitalization has declined by about 27 percent since May 17, when 231 patients were hospitalized. The spring omicron subvariant surge did create a spike of infections, but has resulted in fewer serious illnesses compared to the January omicron surge. On Jan. 13, 436 people were hospitalized in Maine with the virus.
On Saturday, the Maine CDC reported 475 new cases of COVID-19, compared to 510 new cases on Friday. The true number of infections is underreported since many people who take at-home tests do not report results.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 262,572 cases of the virus and 2,346 deaths, which is one less death than the state reported on Friday. An email to the state asking why there was one less death Saturday was not answered.
On Friday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Maine with the ninth highest infection rate among the states, — 287.8 per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. Maine's rate is lower than Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington and New York.
Nationally, 55 percent of the country's population live in areas with medium or high COVID-19 community transmission risk levels, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. CDC, tweeted Friday.
Experts recommend people who live in high-risk counties wear masks when entering public, indoor places. People who live in medium-risk communities, and have health vulnerabilities, should also wear masks in indoor spaces.
In Maine, nine counties are in the medium-risk category: Cumberland, Lincoln, Knox, York, Kennebec, Waldo, Piscataquis, Washington and Somerset.
Six counties are rated at high risk: Androscoggin, Oxford, Franklin, Hancock, Penobscot and Aroostook. Only one county in Maine, Sagadahoc, is listed at low risk, according to the U.S. CDC.
Recent wastewater testing shows lower levels of coronavirus prevalence in Maine's higher-population sewer districts, including Portland, Westbrook, Yarmouth, Bangor and Bath-Brunswick. However, Lewiston-Auburn wastewater testing reports show an increase in virus prevalence there.