As COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Maine, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick has taken steps to increase visitation hours closer to pre-pandemic norms.

As of Friday, there was one patient hospitalized with COVID-19 at Mid Coast. The individual was not in intensive care or on a ventilator. For comparison, in mid-February, The Times Record reported that the hospital had eight patients with COVID-19, while in January, there were 25 patients being treated for the virus.

On March 8, the hospital increased visitation hours — with various capacity and time limitations — from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Prior, the hospital held two-hour visitation blocks twice a day. Before the pandemic, the hospital maintained open visitation efforts.

“We’ve gone through multiple different iterations of our visiting, depending on how COVID was spreading in the community,” Mid Coast Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Bowe said. “We know that visitors help our patients improve and recover faster, when they can have their family members visit, and we want to have visitors as much as possible.”

While the hospital is in a much better position and morale among staff members is improving, Bowe said, the BA.2 subvariant of COVID-19 that is attributed to Europe’s case uptick is “a little nerve-wracking.”

“If there is anything we’ve learned it’s when things improve or worsen, they often change quickly,” Bowe said. “We’re appreciative of being in a better position but watching carefully to make sure that we can respond quickly if our numbers start to rise up again.”


Mid Coast-Parkview Health is the local division of MaineHealth, a 12-hospital statewide health care organization. Mid Coast-Parkview includes Mid Coast Hospital, Mid Coast Medical Group, Mid Coast Senior Health and CHANS Home Health & Hospice.

Like other healthcare organizations, staffing shortages continue to persist at in Mid Coast-Parkview Health. As of Friday, the organization employed 2,159 individuals and had 257 job openings.

According to Bowe, however, the number of employees out with COVID-19 has decreased along with community transmission, which has helped with managing the shortage. Bowe said that at the pandemic’s worse, nearly 80 staff members were out with the virus, and as of Wednesday, only two were out.

Bowe also said that the National Guard members who were deployed to the hospital up until late February were a significant help in filling both environmental and dining service roles.

“That National Guard deployment was instrumental in us maintaining functions, being able to move patients to the right care setting and being able to feed everybody,” Bowe said. “We couldn’t have been more appreciative to have their help.”

The concentration of COVID-19 in Brunswick’s wastewater has trended downward since the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention began the program on in January.


On Jan. 27, an effective virus concentration of 1.09 million was reported by the CDC in Brunswick’s wastewater, and that figure has decreased to 423,000 on March 16. The most recent concentration is an increase over the town’s low, however, which was under 200,000 in early March.

Statewide, there were 300 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the Portland Press Herald reported. While most of the state is classified under either low or medium transmission risk, Aroostook and Washington County remain in the 2% of counties nationally at high risk.

The Press Herald also reported that hospitalizations have gone down 75% since peak of 436 on Jan. 13 to 107 on Friday.

As of Friday, 233,537 COVID-19 cases, 4,482 hospitalizations and 2,179 deaths have been reported by the Maine CDC statewide since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Cumberland County, 47,791 and 346 deaths were being reported as of Friday.

The Maine CDC estimates that just under 77.5% of Maine’s population has received the final dose of a vaccine.

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