Maine reports 18 additional deaths and 1,411 additional cases of COVID-19 - Market News
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Maine reports 18 additional deaths and 1,411 additional cases of COVID-19

Maine reports 20 COVID-19 deaths and confirms 1,779 additional cases

Maine reported 1,411 cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths on Friday as hospitals are flooded with patients sick with the omicron strain of the virus.

While the omicron variant is clearly causing a spate of infections in Maine and across the country, public health experts are placing increasing emphasis on case count as a way to monitor the pandemic and assess its risks. Those numbers are less useful because of a delay in reporting test results, the increase in home use tests that go unreported to the state and the fact that many people who get mild symptoms don’t get tested at all. Since the start of the pandemic, Maine has recorded 159,498 cases and 1,644 deaths.

The number of hospital admissions was not updated Friday morning, but 436 were hospitalized on Thursday, a record and a 25 percent increase from two weeks ago. Maine crossed the 300 patient threshold less than two months ago and peaked at just over 200 patients during the winter wave a year ago.

Intensive care use in Maine, however, has fallen slightly in the past two weeks, with 103 on ICU units on Thursday, compared to in the range of 110-115 two weeks ago. Maine’s experience is similar to reports from other places where a microwave wave has been observed, where hospitalizations are skyrocketing, but ICU admissions are stable or declining. Omicron, early research shows, appears to cause a less severe form of the disease compared to delta and earlier variants.

Meanwhile, the ommicron variant a wave of cases in schools, with some districts being completely remote or some schools in their district being remote.

The MSAD 51 school district — which includes the towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth — will begin distance learning on Friday, with a view to returning Tuesday, the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“This has been a challenging week for MSAD 51 schools,” Chief Superintendent Jeff Porter said in an email to parents. “We’ve been dealing with severe staff shortages for most of the week, with about 15 percent of our staff absent every day due to illness. We have also had large numbers of students absent from school this week – between 160 and 215 students daily, with the highest absenteeism (on Thursday).”

Some schools in Biddeford, Saco, Kennebunk, Brunswick, Gorham, South Portland, Scarborough, Windham and Portland have also had remote days recently.

This story is being updated.


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