Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Maine have remained low in recent weeks, providing further evidence that Mainers managed to host a healthy summer tourist season in the midst of a global pandemic.

August was the quietest month for Maine’s hospitals since the pandemic began in March, especially for those in Portland. Statewide, just nine people were hospitalized with the virus as of Friday.

For the week ending Thursday, Maine Medical Center, which has handled nearly half the state’s coronavirus burden through most of the crisis, had an average of just two confirmed COVID-19 inpatients each day, down from the low-to-mid-30s during the disease’s peak in early April and late May. Maine General in Augusta also had an average of two confirmed patients per day, a slight increase from the week before that followed a 25-day run of having no such patients at all.

Central Maine Medical Center had an average of 1.9 COVID-19 inpatients a day, down from 3.3 the week ending Aug. 6, while Lewiston’s other hospital, St. Mary’s, had an average of 0.7 a day, unchanged from the week before.

Southern Maine Health Care Medical Center in Biddeford had just one inpatient for one day during the week ending Thursday – an average of 0.14 per day – one of a string of quiet weeks extending back to early August. But York Hospital had one of its busier weeks, with 1.4 COVID-19 patients a day, down slightly from 1.6 the previous week; it had no such patients on the last two days of the period, however.

The 10-hospital Northern Light Health network admitted just a single COVID-19 patient for a single night during the period, and that was at Blue Hill Hospital, which had never before reported such a patient. The network’s other hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Portland and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, had none.

Bridgton Hospital had an average of one COVID-19 inpatient a day, unchanged from the previous two weeks, but three other hospitals that had admitted pandemic patients back in June – Rumford, Waldo in Belfast and Franklin Memorial in Farmington – had none for the week.

Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator in that they typically occur one to three weeks after a person is exposed to the disease, but unlike other metrics, it is not dependent on who and how many people were tested. The low figures through Sept. 3 confirm the disease remained in check in Maine through at least the first week of August, prior to the Aug. 7 Millinocket wedding reception that has triggered outbreaks in three counties and resulted in the death of three people who were not in attendance.

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.

The Press Herald’s survey is for the seven days ending Sept. 3. It compiles data received directly from the hospitals and hospital networks. It includes most of the state’s hospitals and accounts for the vast majority of the statewide hospitalizations reported each week by the Maine CDC.


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