The state reported one additional death from COVID-19 and 236 new cases on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized increased slightly. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said 97 patients were in hospitals statewide with the coronavirus, two more than on Friday. Of those, 19 were in critical care units and six on ventilators.

One month ago, the number of patients hospitalized with the infectious disease was 143, and on March 18 there were 107.

Like the majority of the country, all of Maine is deemed at low or moderate risk of community spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reclassified Aroostook County from low risk to moderate, which means case counts and hospitalizations are somewhat elevated there, and residents at high health risk should resume wearing masks indoors.

The rest of Maine is classified as green, or low risk, which means there is no CDC recommendation that people wear masks indoors. The guidelines are based on case counts, hospitalizations and hospital capacity. Low risk does not mean the virus is not spreading, but does indicate the rate of infections is not likely to place a strain on hospitals.


A new strain of COVID-19 – the more contagious BA.2 subvariant – continues to make up more of the cases – an estimated 72 percent – in the country, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC,  tweeted Friday. But as of Thursday more than 99 percent of the U.S. population lived where there is a low or medium risk, according to Walensky. That said, she and other doctors caution people to watch for changes in community risk levels. Doctors have recommended that if cases and hospitalizations rise, it would be prudent to resume mask wearing indoors.

On Friday Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, told National Public Radio that the U.S. could follow the trend of the United Kingdom and see a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the BA.2 subvariant. Cases are still trending down across the United States, but some states are seeing a rise, he said.

“I think without a doubt that we are going to see a turnaround as people get out more and into the inside venues without masks,” Fauci said. “That’s going to be certainly resulting in infections, even in people who are vaccinated.” If community risk levels change and cases go up, “I for one will go back to masking indoors,” he said.

Since the pandemic has began, the Maine CDC has logged 237,717 cases of the coronavirus. The death toll from COVID-19 now numbers at 2,222 in the state.

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