Hospitalizations for COVID-19 remained low for a sixth week across Maine, with hospitals in the hardest-hit southern counties seeing modest declines.

Statewide, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell to just 15 on Friday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, its lowest level since March. Hospitalizations remain low in much of the northeastern United States, but they are exploding across the South and Southwest, with hospitals in Houston and other cities warning they will be overwhelmed.

Maine Medical Center, which has handled nearly half the state’s coronavirus burden through most of the crisis, saw the number of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients fall from 13 to five in the week ending Thursday, compared to a peak level of 35 hit on both April 7 and May 25.

Portland’s other major hospital, Mercy, had an average of 1.6 such patients each day, down from 2.9 the week before and roughly a quarter of its burden in mid-to-late May. Biddeford’s Southern Maine Health Care Medical Center had one to two inpatients each day, down from three to five the week before, while York Hospital hasn’t reported a COVID-19 inpatient since June 22.

Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston had an average of 2.4 confirmed COVID-19 inpatients for the week, about the same as the week before, while the city’s other hospital, St. Mary’s, has had no such patients since June 30.

MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta – the hospital that has had the fourth largest pandemic burden after Maine Med and SMHC – averaged 0.3 COVID-19 inpatients each day.

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor averaged 2.9 COVID-19 inpatients a day, up from 1.1 patients the week before, while Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick on Tuesday admitted its first patient since May 24.

Franklin Memorial in Farmington had one patient on July 3 but none since. Three smaller hospitals that had reported having patients during the month of June – Bridgton, Rumford, and Waldo in Belfast – had none for the week.

MaineHealth’s hospitals, including Maine Med, SMHC, Mid Coast and Franklin, have not been reporting Sunday numbers for four weeks due to an administrative change, but are working on a remedy to correct this.

Hospitalizations can end three ways: recovery, death, or transfer to another facility. The data do not include outpatients or inpatients who were suspected of having the virus but never tested.

Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, because it typically takes two or three weeks after exposure for an acutely affected person to become sick enough to be admitted, but it is one metric that is not affected by how many people are tested.

The Press Herald’s survey is for the week ending July 9. It compiles data received directly from the hospitals and hospital networks. It includes most, but not all, of the state’s hospitals, but accounts for the vast majority of the statewide hospitalizations reported each week by the Maine CDC.


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