The number of patients hospitalized in Maine with the coronavirus remained relatively low on Saturday, the state reported.

A total of 122 people with COVID-19 were in hospitals statewide, one more than on Friday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those hospitalized on Saturday, 23 were in critical care and six on ventilators.

Also on Saturday, Maine reported 282 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.

Hospitalizations have declined by more than 70 percent since reaching a peak of 436 on Jan. 13.

With the coronavirus picture improving in Maine, most of the state’s 16 counties are now considered at low risk for COVID-19 transmission and hospital burden, according to updated federal data.

Two weeks ago, Maine was mostly considered “red,” or at high risk, which means masks were recommended for everyone when indoors. But the case count data were still being skewed because the Maine CDC was going through a massive backlog of cases from previous weeks, making case counts appear artificially high.


Since then, the Maine CDC has cleared the backlog, and hospitalization metrics have improved. Ten of Maine’s 16 counties are now in the “green” category: Cumberland, York, Penobscot, Androscoggin, Oxford, Franklin, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Hancock and Piscataquis.

Five are in the moderate transmission, or “yellow,” category: Somerset, Lincoln, Washington, Knox and Kennebec. Residents of counties in the yellow category are advised to wear masks indoors if they are at high risk of illness.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has logged 232,293 cases of COVID-19 and 2,145 deaths.

With health officials easing masking recommendations, most schools, cities and towns have lifted mask mandates. Fewer shoppers in stores are wearing masks as life has begun to feel more like 2019, before the pandemic began.

On Monday, Portland schools will lift the mask mandates for students and staff, moving to optional masking.

“There is a lot more optimism in the air,” said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer for the MaineHealth network and a former Maine CDC director. “There is a sense of relief across the board, and a desire for some normalcy, and we’re experiencing more normalcy.”

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