Maine reached another new high Sunday for hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 287 patients with the virus, including 80 in critical care and 30 on a ventilator.

That number surpassed the 280 count reported on Wednesday. Hospitalizations have been climbing steadily, repeatedly exceeding previous records. The surge has been most dramatic in hospitals serving rural, western Maine, where fewer people are vaccinated.

About two-thirds of hospital patients with the virus are not fully vaccinated, and the percentage is higher among those who are critically ill. A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested unvaccinated people are 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.

The Maine CDC does not release new infection numbers on Sundays, but the state has continued to see high daily case rates. Even with nearly 70 percent of Mainers vaccinated, there are still 400,000 residents who have not gotten their shots and who are exposed to the highly contagious delta variant.

On Saturday, the seven-day daily case average increased to 673, which set another new record. One month ago, it was 489 cases.

In Maine, there have been 115,857 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,272 people with the virus have died, according to data from the state CDC. Even with the recent surge, both are among the lowest per capita of any state.

Maine has given 916,812 final doses of vaccine, which accounts for 68 percent of all residents. The state started offering vaccines to children between 5 and 11 years old earlier this month. So far, 22,018 of those children have gotten first doses, more than half of them in Cumberland and York counties.

In addition to final doses, Maine has administered 246,646 booster doses. Last week, Gov. Janet Mills opened eligibility for boosters to any adult who wants one, as long as it has been at least six months after their final dose of the original Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson version. The federal government also opened up vaccine boosters to all adults nationwide.


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