The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maine remains at or near historic highs.

On Sunday the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 384 people hospitalized. Of those, 133 were in critical care – an all-time high – and 63 were on ventilators.

Worries about the virus are increasing as the omicron variant spreads around the world. On Tuesday, President Biden plans to address the nation on the status of the fight against COVID-19. The surge prompted the NFL to postpone three games and some restaurants are closing in different parts of the country due to the rapid spread.

Maine reported its first cases of omicron on Friday, with five in Penobscot County. With cases of the variant expected to increase, Maine Gov. Janet Mills and doctors have renewed calls for people to protect themselves by wearing masks in indoor public places and getting vaccinations and boosters.

 

Shots administered at recent walk-in and pop-up vaccination clinics, and at pharmacies, are growing the number of vaccinated Mainers.

On Sunday the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 70.62 percent of all Mainers were fully vaccinated, or 949,247 people. That’s up from one week ago when 68.89 percent of residents in the state were vaccinated.

So far in Maine, unvaccinated people infected with the delta variant have been blamed for filling up hospitals to a point where National Guard and federal medical workers needed to be called in to help. With omicron here, doctors say vaccinations are the best way to avoid becoming severely sick, hospitalized or dead from COVID-19, but that infections will still occur.

The number of Mainers getting booster shots also continues to rise, to 416,323. That’s 45,000 more than a week ago.

Of the Mainers fully vaccinated, 53.52 percent are females, 46.3 percent are males.

More children ages 5-11 are getting vaccinated; 5,517 became fully vaccinated in the past week, 2,246 received their first doses.

The state does not update the number of cases on Sundays. On Saturday the state reported 1,080 new cases and 11 additional deaths.

Although the omicron virus is raising fears, Brown University infectious disease expert Dr. Ashish Jha tweeted Saturday that “we now have the tools (vaccines, tests, masks) to manage the surge if we use them smartly. We can prevent deaths, keep hospitals functioning and schools open.”

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