In this Dec. 8, 2021, file photo, nurse Cassandra Pateneaude treats a patient in the hallway of the Maine Medical Center emergency department. Credit: Courtesy of MaineHealth

Over the past two months, Maine has seen its COVID-19 hospitalizations fall 73 percent.

It’s the latest evidence that COVID-19 is loosening its grip as spring looms around the corner, and much of the state — and nation — readies for a return to a sense of normalcy three years into the pandemic.

There are now 116 Mainers infected with the virus in hospitals across the state as of Monday morning, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down from 124 the day before and down from the pandemic high of 436, set on Jan. 13.

That’s a nearly 73 percent fall, and the first time hospitalizations have been below 120 since Aug. 24, 2021, and the lowest they have been since Aug. 22, when 101 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus, state data show.

Of those, 25 Mainers are in critical care and another seven are on ventilators.

Even as falling hospitalizations offer a bright spot of news after the winter’s long surge of infections, hospitalizations still remain higher than much of 2020 and late winter and summer 2021. At this time last year, just 78 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus.