Maine reported a slight decline Thursday in the number of hospital patients with COVID-19 and in the average daily case count.

And all 16 counties of the state are now classified as having low community levels of the virus, according to guidelines updated Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The classification system is based on each county’s case counts, hospital patient loads and hospital capacity.

But the state’s key pandemic indicators have hovered over the past 10 days with no upward or downward momentum. They remain far higher than the levels experienced at this point during the previous two summers.

And while Maine’s infection rate remains well below the national average, it has climbed over the past week from the lowest rate in the nation to the 10th-lowest, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maine has recorded 129 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 10 days, while the nationwide rate is 229 cases per 100,000 people.

A total of 113 patients were hospitalized statewide with COVID as of Thursday morning, including 18 in critical care and four on respirators, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall number is down from 115 on Wednesday.

The state also reported 246 new cases of COVID and two additional COVID-related deaths. The seven-day average of new cases dropped to 220 new infections per day. Those counts do not include those detected with at-home tests.


The federal classification of all Maine counties as having low community levels means there are no official indoor masking recommendations anywhere in Maine, except for inside transportation centers and medical facilities. But a low community level does not mean the virus is not actively circulating or that there is no risk of contracting COVID. Many people continue to wear masks in public indoor spaces based on the current levels of infections and some businesses may continue to encourage mask wearing.

While experiencing lower levels than most other states, Maine’s case counts and patient counts remain far higher than they were at the end of June in 2020 and 2021, when the state enjoyed summer breaks from the pandemic.

On June 30, 2020, Maine reported just 29 hospitalization and the average number of new cases was 37 per day. On June 30, 2021, there were 30 hospitalizations statewide and the average number of new cases was 22 per day.

Even though Maine saw the pandemic’s lowest levels of infections and severe illness during the past two summers, that doesn’t mean it will happen again this summer, one prominent national expert told the Press Herald earlier in June. Unlike the flu, the COVID virus does not reliably follow seasonal patterns and should not be expected to recede just because the weather is warmer, according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 269,926 cases and 2,415 deaths.

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