In this March 13, 2020, file photo, medical personnel discuss patients that had been admitted for testing for the coronavirus at the entrance Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen 46 percent over the past 10 days.

That comes as a surge in cases accompanying the spread of the so-called stealth omicron variant — BA.2 — gains a foothold in Maine, erasing for the moment gains the state made in reducing hospitalizations since the winter.

There are now 209 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 up from 205 the day before and up from 143 just 10 days earlier.

It’s the highest Maine’s hospitalizations have been since Feb. 23 as they were falling off sharply from the peak set during the winter’s omicron-fueled surge in infections.

Of those, 39 people are in critical care and four on ventilators.

Despite the renewed surge in cases and hospitalizations, the situation in Maine is not as dire as during the peak of winter, when more than 430 Mainers were hospitalized at one point with the virus and the Maine CDC was swamped with a backlog of positive cases.

Even those Mainers requiring ventilators make up just 1.9 percent of current hospitalizations, a much lower share than the 10 percent to 20 percent seen in earlier phases of the pandemic. That tracks with suggestions from experts that the newer omicron subvariants cause less severe hospitalizations despite being more contagious.

Since late last week, Maine has seen another 1,356 infections reported across the state, data show. The rising rate of infection — Maine’s was the highest in the nation over the past week — has prompted a limited return to masking in places such as Bangor, where they are required again in schools, government buildings and the city’s public bus system.