LEWISTON – While COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, the region’s two largest hospitals have seen only modest increases over the past few weeks.

On Tuesday, 84 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Of those, 45 were in critical care, including 20 on ventilators.

Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, both in Lewiston, each reported three patients with confirmed COVID-19, according to data provided by the hospitals.

At CMMC, two of those patients were in the intensive care unit, with one of them on a ventilator.

One patient was in noncritical care at Bridgton Hospital and none at Rumford Hospital. The small, community hospitals and CMMC are a part of Central Maine Healthcare.

On average over the past seven days, providers at CMMC were caring for 2.6 coronavirus patients per day, which is down from an average of 5.3 patients as of Aug. 10 and the six days prior.


CMMC hit a record high of 21.7 patients per day on May 10 and the six days prior, which was about a month after the seven-day average of new daily cases in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties hit an all-time high.

Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of case surges and typically rise one to three weeks following an increase in new cases.

St. Mary’s no longer actively tracks the vaccination status and hometown of COVID-19 patients, St. Mary’s Health President Steve Jorgensen said Tuesday, but the small number of inpatients recently is “very manageable right now.”

“I don’t think people are saying we’re going to be going back to having overflowing ICUs or 15 to 20 patients up into the hospital,” he said.

The daily average of COVID-19 inpatients over a seven-day period ending Tuesday at St. Mary’s was three.

“I think with the vaccinations that have occurred within the state of Maine, and that impact, we don’t see it peaking out where it was,” Jorgensen said.


As of Tuesday, 62.9% of all eligible residents of Androscoggin County have been fully vaccinated. In Franklin and Oxford counties, 58.7% and 59.4% of eligible residents, respectively, have received their final inoculations.

But if hospitalizations do go up, “we’re going to adjust and we’re going to put our priorities where we need to be to meet the needs of the community,” Jorgensen said.


On Tuesday, state health officials reported a total of 375 new cases in Maine over a three-day period, including 17 in Androscoggin County, five in Franklin County and 21 in Oxford County.

Three additional deaths, one from Penobscot County and two from York County, were reported Tuesday. The deaths of one man and two women occurred between Aug. 5 and 14 and were confirmed via a review of vital records. Two were in their 70s and one was in their 60s.

Driven by the uptick in new cases over the past week, the community transmission of COVID-19 hit a high level in Oxford County according to metrics from the U.S. CDC. It most recently stood at a substantial level of transmission.


The rate of community transmission in Androscoggin County decreased slightly from where it stood late last week, but not enough to take it out of the substantial category and into the moderate category.

Franklin County remained substantial as well and saw a small bump in its transmission rate from last week.

The U.S. and Maine CDCs recommend that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor, public settings in areas with substantial and high transmission rates.

The rate of community transmission is the total number of new cases reported over a seven-day period per 100,000 residents of that county. The level is determined by that number and the percentage of positive tests over the same seven-day period. If those two numbers indicate a different transmission level, the higher of the two is taken.

All but one of Maine’s 16 counties were considered to have substantial or high levels of transmission as of Tuesday. Only Kennebec County remained at a moderate level.

With the upward direction that trends have been moving, it is likely that Kennebec County could move into the substantial range within the next couple of days. There were 49.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period on Tuesday and a county moves into the substantial range once it hits 50 cases, and high when it hits 100 cases.


The seven-day average of new daily cases in Oxford County on Tuesday topped the statewide average for the first time in a month, at 1.44 new cases per 10,000 residents. Statewide, the seven-day average was 1.31 per 10,000 residents.

Androscoggin County’s seven-day average stood at 0.86 cases per 10,000 residents and Franklin County stood at 0.76 cases per 10,000 residents.

According to a weekly report from the Maine CDC published Monday with data as of Aug. 13, the delta variant accounted for 100% of the samples collected for genome sequencing so far this month, and 238 additional cases have been identified since the Aug. 6 report.

The bulk of the 398 cumulative cases of the delta variant in Maine were identified within the past three weeks.

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