A discarded mask soaks up water on a Portland sidewalk on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Community transmission rates of COVID-19 have dropped substantially in 10 Maine counties, with only one county reporting a high community transmission rate.

Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday indicate that Piscataquis, Penobscot, Hancock, Franklin, Oxford, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Cumberland and York counties have a low risk of community transmission.

Somerset, Kennebec, Lincoln, Knox and Washington counties still have a medium risk for community transmission, while Aroostook County continues to report a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

This comes as hospitalizations reached a nearly 7-month low on Thursday, with just 128 Mainers hospitalized with coronavirus. That’s down from 131 the day before and down from the pandemic high of 436, set on Jan. 13.

That’s a nearly 71 percent fall, and the lowest hospitalizations have been since Aug. 25, 2021, when 125 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus, state data show.

Of those, 28 Mainers are in critical care and another nine are on ventilators.

COVID-19 cases have been steadily falling throughout the state after reaching record levels throughout December, January and early February. On Thursday, another 289 coronavirus cases and four deaths were reported. The statewide death toll from the virus now stands at 2,140.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.