Maine COVID hospitalizations edge higher

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Jul. 11—Maine reported an increase in the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 Monday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention listed a total of 119 hospitalizations, including 24 patients in critical care units and three on ventilators. That's up from 111 the day before, but down from 122 a week ago.

While hospital patient counts exceeded 200 in early May, the current number is well above what Maine experienced during either of the past two summers. New, more contagious omicron subvariants that have driven up cases and hospitalizations around the world are now spreading in Maine and likely causing the majority of new infections here.

The latest strains of the virus are less likely to cause severe symptoms than earlier versions of the disease, but health officials say older people with underlying conditions, as well as younger, unvaccinated people, are still showing up in hospitals and needing care. Health experts continue to urge people to get vaccinations and booster shots if they are eligible.

The Maine CDC does not typically report new cases of the virus and additional deaths on Sundays and Mondays.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 271,596 cases and 2,461 deaths, the state reported Sunday.