The  number of people hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19 declined slightly Monday, and the state reported 791 new cases and one additional death.

The University of Maine System reported a jump in the number of cases on its campuses, from 54 last week to 187 on Monday. The increase prompted the system to issue an update over the weekend saying masks will be required in all exam settings, including in classrooms and labs. Faculty no longer have the option of waiving the mask requirement.

Statewide COVID hospitalizations declined from 156 on Sunday to 150 on Monday. Of those hospitalized Monday, 29 were in critical care and five were on ventilators.

Despite Monday’s decline, patient counts have increased sharply over the past 10 days. Hospitalizations had hovered around 90 to 100 from mid-March to late April before the recent rise. The number of hospital patients with COVID peaked at 436 on Jan. 13.

The Maine CDC does not track the percentage of vaccinated versus unvaccinated COVID-19 patients on a daily basis, but it does issue periodic updates.

About 67 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 since vaccines became readily available last year have been unvaccinated. While vaccines continue to protect against serious illness in most cases, that percentage has decreased because the number of people who lack immunity from either vaccination or a previous infection has declined.


Among new hospital admissions reported to the state from April 16-26 for which the vaccination status was noted, 55 percent were unvaccinated and 45 percent were vaccinated.

On Monday, MaineHealth reported that 44 of its 57 current COVID-19 hospital patients are vaccinated. MaineHealth is the parent organization of Maine Medical Center in Portland and seven other Maine hospitals.


Public health officials say the higher percentage of vaccinated COVID patients being hospitalized doesn’t mean the vaccines are any less effective. It merely reflects that the number of unvaccinated Maine residents that haven’t been infected is now a smaller percentage of the state population than it was last spring and summer.

About 75 percent of Maine residents are now fully vaccinated, and 90 percent of people age 60 and older, the population group most likely to need hospitalization.

Vaccinated patients who require hospitalization tend to be older adults with weakened immune systems related to other conditions. Health officials continue to recommend that people in these groups get a second booster shot to maximize their immunity.


Also, many Maine residents who are not vaccinated have already contracted COVID-19 and have some natural immunity. The U.S. CDC reported last week that about 35 percent of Maine’s population has contracted COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic, with most of the infections occurring since September 2021.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not typically release new case counts on Mondays, but made an exception this week because of the higher number of recent cases.

“The number of reported positive COVID-19 test results increased last week, so our team worked through the weekend to ensure that there would be no backlog,” said Robert Long, Maine CDC spokesman. “We hope that this is a short-term change in response to the recent increase. It’s not a change in our standard procedure.”

Since the pandemic began, Maine has reported 245,871 cases of COVID-19, and 2,287 deaths.

The daily case count indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading compared to previous days or weeks. But because many people now rely on at-home tests that are not included in the official count, it can’t be accurately compared to case counts during previous phases of the pandemic.

Wastewater testing data updated Monday was mixed, with Bangor and Belfast showing decreases in virus levels, while Brunswick experienced a slight increase but remained at a low level. Augusta showed an increase in virus prevalence Monday from wastewater testing.

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