As the BA.2 omicron subvariant of COVID-19 drives up infections in the Northeast, Maine reported 437 new cases on Saturday. There were no new deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of hospitalized patients with the coronavirus statewide continues to be stable. On Saturday, 100 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, one fewer than on Friday. A total 17 were in critical care units and three on ventilators.

The seven-day average of new cases in Maine rose to 310 on Friday, a nearly 50 percent increase in less than a week, and Maine’s case count in the last two weeks has increased 55 percent, according to The New York Times. Other New England states also have seen a significant rise in cases, including 84 percent more in New Hampshire, 77 percent more in Massachusetts, and 88 percent more in Vermont.

The daily count of new cases likely represents a significant undercount because of the increased use of at-home tests, which are not included in official reports.

As the official daily case count rises, more Maine counties have been reclassified as having a moderate risk of virus transmission and increased hospitalizations.

Five counties, – Aroostook, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Washington and Hancock – are now are in the yellow, or moderate risk, category, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A week aago, Aroostook was the only Maine county not considered to be at low risk.

Cumberland and the other counties remain in the green, or low-risk, category. The low-risk designation indicates the level of transmission and rate of hospitalizations are not expected to strain local hospitals.


Residents of moderate risk counties are advised to wear masks when indoors if they are at high risk of complications from COVID-19 because of their age or underlying health conditions.

Dr. Eric Topol, head of Scripps Research Translational Institute, said case numbers will likely keep growing until the surge reaches about a quarter the height of the last “monstrous” one in the winter, according to the Associated Press. Keeping the surge somewhat in check, experts said, is a higher level of immunity in the U.S. from vaccination or past infection compared with early winter.

In Maine, 73.97 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the state reported on Friday. The fully vaccinated includes those who have had a first and second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-dose J&J vaccine. The number of Mainers who have received a COVID-19 booster shot stands at 651,034.

On March 29 the U.S. CDC expanded eligibility for a second booster shot to people age 50 and over, especially those 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions.

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