Maine’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen nearly 50 percent in the past 10 days amid fresh growth in infections.
There are now 136 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 up from 132 the day before and 91 on April 17.
That’s a 49.5 percent increase in the last 10 days.
There also are 29 Mainers currently in critical care, up from 27 the day before and 15 from on April 17, a 93 percent increase.
In a perhaps more concerning sign, the number of Mainers requiring ventilators more than doubled over the past 24 hours from 5 to 11, state data show. That represents 8 percent of all current hospitalizations, up from 4 percent on Tuesday.
That share of hospitalizations remains lower than earlier phases of the pandemic when it rose as high as about 20 percent.
Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said Monday on Twitter that the increases are being seen at hospitals across the state. At one hospital system, Mainers seeking treatment for COVID-19 are accounting for about 80 percent in-patient cases, he said.
Still, hospitalizations remain down across the board from the heights they reached a little more than three months ago, when more than 430 Mainers required stays in the hospital for treatment.
It comes as an even more transmissible version of the highly contagious omicron subvariant is gaining a foothold in Maine, accounting for more than 1 in 10 cases in April, up from 1 percent in March. The so-called stealth omicron variant — BA.2 — has proved so far elsewhere to result in less severe infections, and there are signs in places such as Boston that a surge in cases may be set to recede.