The number of Maine hospital patients with COVID-19 has dropped 12 percent in less than a week.

There were 203 hospitalizations on Monday morning, according to Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those patients, 24 were in critical care and three were on ventilators.

The patient count dropped from 205 on Sunday and has declined each day since last Tuesday, when Maine reached a three-month high of 231 hospitalizations.

Maine also reported 577 new cases of COVID on Monday. The seven-day average of new cases is now 586, down from 809 earlier this month.

Daily case counts have also declined in recent days in several other Northeast states. However, the region continues to have some of the highest infection rates in the country after experiencing a wave of cases and hospitalizations fueled by highly contagious omicron subvariants. Health officials continue to recommend indoor masking and other precautions to slow the spread in Maine and other Northeast states.

Maine now has the 10th highest infection rate in the country with 313 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national infection rate is 223 per 100,000 people.

Cumberland and eight other counties in Maine are categorized by the U.S. CDC as high risk for transmission of the virus. The other counties are: Oxford, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Hancock, Penobscot and Aroostook.

Although infections are widespread, the new strains of the coronavirus are causing less serious illness for most because so many people have some immunity from vaccinations or recent infections. Those who are older and unvaccinated are at higher risk of serious sickness.

Since the pandemic began, the state has logged 2,343 deaths, and 259,635 cases. But the number of cases is underreported, because many people who test positive take at-home tests and do not report the findings.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.