The number of COVID-19 patients in Maine hospitals held steady Wednesday as the state reported 191 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 234,159 cases of COVID-19, and 2,190 deaths.

Hospitalizations remained unchanged on Wednesday, with a total of 91 patients statewide. Of those people, 23 were in critical care and eight  were on ventilators.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have plummeted 79 percent since reaching a peak of 436 on Jan. 13.

In other news, Moderna is now seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for a COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and under.

“Given the need for a vaccine against COVID-19 in infants and young children we are working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, said in a statement. Bancel said results from clinical trials “are good news for parents of children under 6 years of age.”


Pfizer has also asked for FDA approval for a similar age group, although the emergency use authorization that seemed likely to be granted in late February or early March has been pushed back to April or May as Pfizer works to fine-tune dosing. Pfizer is testing a three-dose regimen, rather than a two-dose series, for the vaccine for children under age 5. Vaccines are approved for all ages 5 and older.

Meanwhile, the omicron BA.2 subvariant is spreading in the United States, accounting for about 35 percent of all new cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The subvariant is being blamed for a rise in cases in the United Kingdom and other countries, but many U.S. public health experts say vaccinations and recent immunity from people infected during the omicron surge are blunting the impact of the omicron subvariant and will likely not lead to a huge surge in hospitalizations and death.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington “does not project a COVID-19 surge in the U.S. in the coming weeks similar to what we have seen in parts of Europe. Our models suggest that after the end of March there should be a steady further decline in transmission,” according to a tweet on Tuesday from Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist with IHME.

Maine is slated to update its genomic surveillance on March 28 to detail the presence of the omicron subvariant in the state. Initial tests in March on 23 samples did not detect the presence of the subvariant, but the subvariant accounted for about 5 percent of samples tested in February, according to a Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention report on March 14.

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