A sign for Mid Coast Hospital at the exit of Medical Center Drive in Brunswick. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

COVID-19 hospitalizations declined at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick last week, following a statewide trend that suggests the omicron wave of the virus may be waning.

As of Friday, eight inpatients were being treated for COVID-19 at Mid Coast Hospital. Of those, four were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. For comparison, the hospital was treating 25 inpatients for COVID-19 at the surge’s peak in January and has not seen the current level of hospitalizations since October 2021.

“We’re at a much better position through this week than we have been for the last four to five weeks,” said Mid Coast Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Bowe on Friday.

For the hospital, Bowe said, this means services that were temporarily on hold have been reinstated, such as select visitation hours as well as non-emergent procedures for patients that would need an overnight bed.

“Probably the most important thing for hospital staff and operations is that we’ve had less people out sick from COVID from our staff,” said Bowe. “At the same time we had surging patient volumes, we had surging numbers of infections among our staff because it was going through the community.”

Statewide, the Portland Press Herald reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations fell below 300 for the first time since before Thanksgiving on Friday. In addition, the number of daily positive test results received by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been nearly cut in half.


Mid Coast Hospital is a 93-bed facility. As of Friday, nine out of the 11 beds in the intensive care unit and 53 out of the 54 general surgical beds were occupied. While the hospital is still bumping capacity, it is more manageable since many of the beds are occupied by patients admitted on a more predictable timeframe, according to Bowe.

“I think our community should be very proud that we’ve reached this point together,” said Bowe. “I think people can take a deep breath in and a deep breath out now, but I don’t think we’re necessarily done with this – there is always the potential for another variant.”

Like other healthcare systems nationwide, staffing continues to be a challenge at Mid-Coast Parkview Health. The organization employs 2,188 individuals and had 137 open positions as of Friday. In January, 19 members of the Maine National Guard were deployed to the hospital through Feb. 23 to support staff through non-clinical roles.

Mid Coast Hospital continues to encourage vaccination to minimize the spread and severity of COVID-19 infections.

Brunswick COVID-19 Wastewater Testing

As a new tool for monitoring the levels of COVID-19 in Maine communities, the Maine CDC launched a wastewater testing program in January. Over 20 municipalities were selected for the program, including Brunswick.


According to Michael Abbott and Dena Bushman, both experts with the Maine CDC leading the wastewater screening initiative, the program will serve as an early warning system to help predict upticks of the virus within a community.

“Results from wastewater testing are available several days after a toilet flushes and about four to six days before COVID-19 cases are confirmed through patient testing, and can help Maine CDC and communities, like Brunswick, tailor public health messaging and direct healthcare resources,” said Abbot and Bushman.

As of Friday, three samples from Brunswick had been reported. Those results indicated a declining level of COVID-19 in town, with the normalized virus concentration going from 1.09 million on Jan. 27 to 645,752 on Feb. 3.

Brunswick will continue to collect samples two times per week. The Maine CDC estimates that approximately 88% of Brunswick residents are vaccinated, compared to the statewide average of 76%. The agency reports that 1,824 Mainers have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID-19 in the Brunswick School Department

Cases of COVID-19 in Maine schools are also reportedly dropping for the first time since the return from holiday break. In the Brunswick School Department, 56 active cases of COVID-19 were being reported as of Friday.

“We are happy to report that case trends in Brunswick schools are going down,” Superintendent Phil Potenziano wrote in a newsletter. “After a high of 118 cases during the week of Jan. 14, we are down to 36 during the week of Feb. 7.”

In total, 652 cases of COVID-19 had been reported within Brunswick schools. Potenziano added that the district is anticipating new guidance from the Maine Department of Education, which enable the roll back of some health and safety protocols.

“Our health team is also monitoring our situation and identifying metrics to help determine which protocols may be eased at which time,” Potenzaino wrote.

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