Jul. 2—The number of patients hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19 increased slightly on Saturday while case numbers held steady.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 121 people in hospitals statewide with the virus, an increase from 115 on Friday.
Of those hospitalized on Saturday, 18 people were in critical care units and three were on respirators.
Meanwhile, the Maine CDC reported 208 new cases of the coronavirus and one additional death. The official count of new cases does not include those who have tested positive at home.
Maine case numbers and hospitalizations continue to hold steady as the Fourth of July celebrations are mostly back to normal. But infections and patient counts remain far higher than they were at the beginning of July 2021 and 2020. One year ago there were only about 30 patients hospitalized statewide with the virus.
Most of those hospitalized because of COVID-19 symptoms are older people who are vulnerable to the virus even when vaccinated, and younger people who are not vaccinated, Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, said.
She and other experts recommend Mainers take certain precautions to stay healthy while gathering for the holiday.
Mills recommends four strategies to consider for gatherings — vaccination, ventilation, masking and testing.
To avoid becoming infected with COVID-19, Mills said she does not walk into an indoor crowd without wearing a high-quality mask. She is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots. Also, she plans to gather only with vaccinated family members and friends for the Fourth of July. Outdoor celebrations are safer than indoors, since transmission outdoors is greatly reduced, experts say.
Since the pandemic began, the state has logged 270,331 cases and 2,419 deaths, according to the Maine CDC.