The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maine climbed again on Sunday.
There were 202 people being treated for the coronavirus in hospitals statewide, up from 195 patients reported Saturday, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among those hospitalized with COVID-19 complications, 74 patients were in critical care units and 39 were on ventilators.
Hospitalizations had dropped below 200 on Friday for the first time in a week. At that time, 78 were in critical care and 38 were on ventilators.
The number of Mainers hospitalized for coronavirus remains at a sustained high level even as hospitalization rates have declined nationally.
Maine also continues to see high daily case counts. The Maine CDC does not release new infection numbers on Sundays, however.
The seven-day daily case average has fluctuated somewhat but has remained stubbornly high – at or above 450 cases – for all but a few days over the last month.
Across the country, meanwhile, cases have been steadily declining, from an average of 113,003 a month ago to 68,792 cases now. Some of that is attributable to testing volume, which has dropped off dramatically in many states, especially in the South.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 104,259 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Maine and 1,167 people have died with the virus, according to the Maine CDC.
Health care systems in Maine have been forced to delay certain surgical procedures because of bed shortages, and some hospitals are holding patients who are medically cleared but don’t have a long-term care facility to move into because of staffing shortages.
As for vaccinations, the pace has picked up in recent weeks. On Tuesday of last week, nearly 8,000 doses were administered across the state, the highest daily total since May. Maine already is in the top five among states with the highest vaccination rates. All of them are in New England.
Overall, Maine has given 937,800 final doses of vaccine, which is nearly 70 percent of all 1.3 million residents, and just over 79 percent of residents age 12 and older who are currently eligible. As early as this week, children ages 5 to 11 could be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. There are roughly 80,000 children in that age range in Maine.
In addition to final doses, Maine has administered 87,531 booster doses, which are now recommended for anyone 65 and older, individuals who are immunocompromised, and anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.