Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The number of coronavirus patients at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor has continued to fall over the past week even as the state has seen record-high hospitalizations. But the drop in Bangor might not be cause for optimism.

EMMC was treating 28 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, down from the 40 COVID-19 patients it was treating a week before and down by about half from the hospital’s peak of 55 coronavirus patients on New Year’s Eve, according to Brewer-based Northern Light Health.

Some patients have come off the COVID-19 hospitalization list because they’ve recovered from the disease, but continue to be hospitalized, Northern Light Senior Physician Executive Dr. James Jarvis said. Others have died while under the hospital’s care, he said.

“The stark reality of this pandemic continues to be this virus’ ability to affect seemingly healthy individuals in extremely harsh ways,” Jarvis said.

The virus’ surge is showing no signs of abating.

Another 808 new COVID-19 cases were reported across Maine on Thursday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the state continues its vaccine rollout, with another eight Mainers reported to have died from the virus. It was only the second time new daily cases had surpassed 800 statewide. The first time was on Wednesday, when the state reported a record-high 824 new cases.

Some 207 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Maine as of Thursday, according to the Maine CDC.

Northern Light Health continues to have the necessary intensive care unit beds and staffing required to treat the dozens of COVID-19 patients in its system, but that could change with a “significant” rise in cases, Northern Light Health spokesperson Andrew Soucier said.

EMMC had the majority of the 50 coronavirus patients in the Northern Light hospital system on Thursday, while Mercy Hospital in Portland had 13. A.R. Gould in Presque Isle and Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield were each treating three, while Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth — which was contending with a newly reported outbreak — had two, and Mayo Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft had one.

Northern Light Health staff were also caring for 56 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in their homes as of Wednesday through its home care and hospice division, Jarvis said.

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