The number of COVID-19 patients remained at near-record levels Sunday, with the same number of patients hospitalized, but an increase in those in critical care and on ventilators from the previous day.

There were 212 people with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals, including 76 in critical care and 35 on ventilators. 

The number of people hospitalized in Maine remains at a sustained high level even as hospitalizations have come down nationally. The majority of those in Maine hospitals are unvaccinated.

Maine also continues to see high daily case rates. The Maine CDC does not release new infection numbers on Sundays, however.

The seven-day average has hovered at around 500 cases each day over the past few weeks. Across the country, meanwhile, cases declined through September and October before leveling off in the past week.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 107,772 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,207 people have died with the virus, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health care systems in Maine have postponed certain surgical procedures because COVID-19 patients are straining capacity. A staffing shortage in nursing homes is also contributing to the pressure on hospitals because patients are forced to stay hospitalized longer while waiting for a bed in a long-term care facility.

As for vaccinations, the pace has picked up in recent weeks and elementary-age children began getting shots last week. Overall, Maine has given 946,689 final doses of vaccine, which accounts for 70.43 percent of all residents.

In addition to final doses, Maine has administered 123,223 booster doses.

According to data updated every Friday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people have contracted COVID-19 at much higher rates, accounting for 86 percent of all COVID-19 cases since vaccinations became widely available this spring.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, has said in recent weeks that the uneven vaccination rates in parts of Maine are a contributing factor, leaving pockets of unvaccinated people to spread the disease. He has also said the state’s previous low case counts are among the reasons the delta variant surge has been sustained in Maine while subsiding in other parts of the country.

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