Maine's COVID infection rate drops to lowest in the nation

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Jun. 23—Maine has the nation's lowest COVID infection rate, with Vermont and New Hampshire close behind, according to the most recent federal data.

Maine briefly had the nation's highest infection rate in early May when highly contagious omicron subvariants were spreading through the Northeast. Infection rates have dropped in the region since then, while increasing in other parts of the country.

The state's infection rate stood at 88 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, while the national rate is 205 cases, according to data posted Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vermont's rate is 89 cases per 100,000 residents and New Hampshire's rate is 92.

Maine did not report new cases over the holiday weekend, and it was not clear if a delay in processing data influenced the state's rate compared to other states.

Meanwhile, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID in Maine edged higher Thursday, increasing to 121 from 115 on Wednesday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Seventeen patients were in critical care and four were on ventilators as of Thursday morning.

The Maine CDC also reported 430 new cases Thursday, bringing the seven-day average to 172 new cases per day. The official counts do not include cases confirmed through the use of at-home tests.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 268,386 cases and 2,409 deaths, according to the most recent state data.