Chris Laird, critical care nurse at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, says that the hospital has reached a critical point, as ICU beds continue to fill with COVID patients. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — A record 74 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care units across Maine on Thursday as virus cases continue to surge across the state, testing hospital resources.

Thirty-eight patients also required ventilators, surpassing the record set in mid-January, while overall COVID-19 hospitals surged to 193, the highest single-day total since the winter.

As of Thursday, 43 critical care units were still available across the state, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said. That is higher than a few weeks ago, when only 34 beds were unfilled.

The record number of critical COVID-19 patients comes as cases have continued to climb in Maine, which is now seeing the highest case rate of any New England state. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continue to be unvaccinated. At Northern Light Health, Maine’s second-largest hospital system, 35 out of 42 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 had not had any vaccine doses as of Wednesday. All but one of the hospital system’s 21 critical care patients were unvaccinated, as were 10 out of 11 patients on ventilators.