The number of people hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19 declined by 13 patients on Friday and has fallen 7 percent in three days.

There were 215 COVID patients hospitalized statewide as of Friday morning, down from 228 on Thursday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient count reached 231 on Tuesday, the highest since mid February.

Of those hospitalized Friday morning, 28 were in critical care and two were on ventilators.

The rate of new infections in Maine, while still above the national average, also declined this week.

The state reported 518 new cases on Friday. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Maine has fallen from 809 on May 6 to 749 Friday. One additional death was reported Friday.

Actual case counts are believed to be significantly higher than the official reports because many people are now relying on at-home tests, which are not included in state and federal data.


Portland’s school department reported a significant drop in cases over the past week, from 150 cases during the weekend ending May 8 to 93 cases during the week ending May 15.

Maine’s overall infection rate stands at 250 cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days. The national rate is now 213 cases per 100,000 people.

Maine’s infection rate, which had been the highest in the nation earlier this month, ranked 17th as of Friday.

The rate varies across the state. In Cumberland County, the seven-day infection rate has dropped from 495 per 100,000 residents on May 6 to 343 today.

Maine and the rest of the Northeast continue to experience high rates of new infections driven by increasingly contagious strains of the coronavirus. While more contagious, the omicron subvariants circulating now are less likely to cause severe disease than earlier versions of the virus. Hospitalizations have not increased as fast as the infection rate in recent weeks, and the number of critically ill patients has remained stable.

The nation’s top health officials said Wednesday that residents of states such as Maine should step up their efforts to slow the spread by masking indoors, avoiding crowds and testing themselves with at-home rapid tests, especially before indoor gatherings.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 258,267 cases and 2,338 deaths.

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