The number of COVID patients hospitalized in Maine dropped to 91 on Tuesday, the lowest number since last August.

Hospitalizations have plummeted 78 percent since a peak of 436 on Jan. 13, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those hospitalized Tuesday, 19 were in critical care and nine were on ventilators.

The Maine CDC also reported 272 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday in the first update in three days. The agency does not process tests over the weekend, so Tuesday’s case count reflects cases from Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The state also reported four additional deaths. Since the pandemic began, Maine has logged 233,968 cases of COVID-19, and 2,188 deaths.

Wastewater treatment data posted by the Maine CDC shows virus levels remaining low in most places, including Portland Water District plants in Portland and Westbrook and treatment plants in Bangor, Brunswick, Lewiston-Auburn, Augusta and York.

National public health experts are keeping an eye on Europe, where an omicron subvariant is causing a rise in cases.

“While the federal government needs to do far more to prepare for this potential surge by ramping up therapeutics and urging boosters, most Americans should not be worried,” Dr. Leana Wen, a George Washington University research professor of health policy, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Wen pointed out in a series of tweets that the vaccines provide strong protection against the subvariant, which does not cause more severe disease than the original omicron variant. Also, people who have contracted COVID-19 will likely have some immunity against the subvariant.


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