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

Maine’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen 20 percent over the past week.

There are now 143 Mainers infected with the virus in hospitals across the state as of Friday morning, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 140 the day before and 119 since last Friday.

Of those, 24 are in critical care, but none is on a ventilator, state data show.

The rise in hospitalizations comes as health officials warn about the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which have been fueling a worldwide surge in cases since the start of the summer and have been factors in infections rising here in the U.S. Already a new subvariant of BA.5 has been found in California.