COVID cases up statewide, hospitalizations less so



ELLSWORTH — The number of cases of COVID-19 reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ticking upward, mirroring a trend that’s happening across the country.

The uptick is being driven by BA.2, the subvariant of Omicron that could be about 30 percent more contagious than the January strain. However, the state’s hospitalization numbers have not increased as significantly.

On April 12, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah noted a 29 percent increase in positive cases from the previous two weeks, whereas hospitalizations had increased 10 percent in that timeframe.

On April 19, there were 99 patients hospitalized from COVID-19 in Maine, up from 93 the day before. Fourteen of those patients were in critical care, down from 16 the day before, and two were on ventilators, down from three the day before. On April 18, the most recent data available, there were not any COVID-related deaths reported by the Maine CDC.

Regarding why cases may be increasing while hospitalizations are remaining somewhat steady, Northern Light Maine Coast and Blue Hill hospitals’ Communications Director Kelley Columber said, “COVID-19 infection rates are rising around the state, a result of the new Omicron variant. Vaccinations continue to do their job protecting our community members. If you are sick, you should stay home and let your health-care team know.”

“Also, just because hospitalizations remain low doesn’t mean people aren’t getting sick,” she added.
Northern Light continues to encourage handwashing, masking in crowded areas and getting booster shots when appropriate, Columber said.

“COVID is not over, though, as of now, it is not coming back with the same force as, say, BA.1 did in January,” Shah said April 12 on Twitter, while highlighting the state’s increases in cases and traces of COVID-19 in wastewater samples. “That could most certainly change. That’s why measures like boosters and therapeutics are important right now.”

In national news, the federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks on public transportation was lifted on April 18. The ruling was made by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Florida.

 

 

Rebecca Alley

Rebecca Alley

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Rebecca is the Schoodic-area reporter and covers the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor and Trenton. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband and baby boy who was joyously welcomed in June 2020. Feel free to send tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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