In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, a person wearing scrubs and a mask walks up a ramp at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued their weekslong slide, falling to their lowest level since Halloween 2021.

That long fall in hospitalizations from their pandemic high is seen as a hopeful sign that the coronavirus is loosening its grip after the omicron-fueled surge over the winter.

Hospitalizations have increasingly been relied upon as a barometer for the strength of the virus here as Maine deals with a large backlog of positive cases, which have made the daily count a less reliable indicator.

There are now 211 Mainers infected with the virus in hospitals across the state as of Wednesday morning, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down from 224 the day before and from the pandemic high of 436, set on Jan. 13.

It’s the lowest those numbers have been since Oct. 31, 2021, when 202 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus. Overall, hospitalizations have fallen more than 50 percent since they peaked in January, state data show.

Fewer Mainers also are in critical care and on ventilators — 41 and 16, respectively.

Still, even now more Mainers are hospitalized than at any other time between March 12, 2020, when the first coronavirus case was confirmed here and last Halloween.