Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Maine continued to fall this week, with hospitals reporting the lowest numbers of patients since the early days of the pandemic.

The key metric, which typically lags exposure to the disease by one to three weeks, has been falling steadily for more than a month in Maine and has been at low levels since the end of May. The welcome trend has continued even as hospitalizations and deaths surge across the southern and southwestern United States, overwhelming intensive care units.

Maine Medical Center, which has handled nearly half the state’s coronavirus burden through most of the crisis, had an average of 3.7 confirmed COVID-19 inpatients each day for the week ending Thursday, up slightly from 3.3 last week but far below its peak daily census counts of 35 on both April 7 and May 25.

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor had the second largest burden this week, with 3 inpatients being treated on each day of the week, up slightly from an average of 2.7 the week before.

Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston had the third largest burden with just 1.5 COVID-19 inpatients per day, down from 2.7 the previous week. The city’s other hospital, St. Mary’s, had just 0.14 per day.

Portland’s Mercy Hospital had an average of just 1.1 COVID-19 patient a day, down from 3.1 last week, while York County’s largest hospital, Southern Maine Health Care Medical Center in Biddeford, hasn’t had such a patient since July 17 and an average of 0.14 per day for the week.

The figure for MaineGeneral in Augusta – the hospital that has had the third largest pandemic burden to date after MaineMed and SMHC – was 0.6 patients a day, and at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick it was 1, unchanged from last week.

York Hospital hasn’t reported a COVID-19 inpatient since June 22.

Four smaller hospitals that had reported having patients during June – Bridgton, Rumford, and Waldo in Belfast and Franklin Memorial in Farmington – also had none for the week.

Hospitalizations can end three ways: recovery, death, or transfer to another facility. The data does not include outpatients or inpatients who were suspected of having the virus but never tested.

The Press Herald’s survey is for the seven days ending July 23. It compiles data received directly from the hospitals and hospital networks. It includes most, but not all, of the state’s hospitals, but accounts for the vast majority of the statewide hospitalizations reported each week by the Maine CDC.

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