The number of Maine hospital patients with COVID-19 continued to climb Monday and has increased 17 percent in the last week.

Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 139 patients, the most in nearly five weeks. A week ago, there were 119 patients statewide.

The number of patients in critical care also has jumped after dropping to the lowest point of the year last week. There were 22 patients in intensive care units as of Monday morning, twice the number reported last Thursday. Only one patient was on a ventilator as of Monday.

Hospitalizations also have been increasing nationwide as new more contagious omicron subvariants drive up infection rates. The number of new hospital admissions increased 8 percent nationwide over the past week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While less likely to cause severe illness than previous strains, omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are much more transmissible and more likely to infect people with some past immunity, whether from vaccination or past infection. Health officials say older people with underlying medical conditions and younger, unvaccinated people are most likely to need hospital care following an infection.

The state does not release updated case counts on Mondays because data is not processed on weekends. Maine averaged 218 new cases per day over the past week. Official case counts do not include results of at-home tests, however.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has logged 273,123 cases and 2,464 deaths.

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