Nurse Cassandra Pateneaude treats a patient in the hallway of the Maine Medical Center emergency department. The Portland hospital and its affiliates have been pushed to the brink by a recent surge of COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated. Credit: Courtesy of MaineHealth

A record number of Mainers were in critical care with the coronavirus on Friday.

That comes amid a three-day surge of record-breaking COVID-19 infections, with 2,148 cases reported on Friday alone.

There are now 375 Mainers hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While up from a day earlier, that falls just shy of the record 379, set on Wednesday.

Of those, 122 are in critical care, the highest level seen yet during the pandemic. Meanwhile, there are 60 people on ventilators in hospitals across the state, a number that’s remained largely stable since Monday.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been rapidly rising in recent days, straining health care resources across the state. This rapid surge prompted Gov. Janet Mills to mobilize the Maine National Guard to staff overwhelmed hospitals that face the possibility of rationing care for the first time during the pandemic if the situation continues to worsen.

Already some hospitals, including Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital in Presque Isle, have cut back on elective surgeries because of the influx of cases.

Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, said late last month that COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to be driven by the unvaccinated.