May 24—Maine reported 836 new COVID cases on Tuesday as new and more contagious strains of the virus continue to spread statewide.
The seven-day average of new cases rose to 619 on Tuesday. The daily average has been holding fairly steady after dropping from an average of 809 cases a day early this month.
The number of Maine hospital patients with COVID-19 was not yet updated Tuesday morning.
There were 203 hospitalizations on Monday morning, a decline of 12 percent in less than a week. according to Maine's Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those patients, 24 were in critical care and three were on ventilators.
The state's latest report on genomic testing of the virus shows that two of the newest omicron subvariants — BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 — now account for most new infections.
More new subvariants — BA.4 and BA.5 — are circulating in a growing number of countries and are being closely watched in the United States. The strains have been detected in Minnesota and California, but not yet reported in the Northeast. They appear to be more infectious and can re-infect people who contracted COVID during the first omicron wave last winter or who have waning immunity from vaccinations.
Health officials continue to recommend vaccinations and booster shots, which they say are still effective and protect people from severe symptoms and hospitalizations.
This story will be updated.