Maine's COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen 9 percent over the past seven days.
In this Dec. 8, 2021, file photo, a nurse treats a patient in the hallway of the Maine Medical Center emergency department. Credit: Courtesy of MaineHealth

Maine’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen about 9 percent over the past week.

There are now 159 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 down from 160 the day before and down from 175 last Friday.

Of those, 23 people are in critical care and four are on ventilators, state data show.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen sharply since hitting a pandemic high of 436 in January. But since the beginning of the summer, they have largely held steady, falling no lower than 104 on June 25. Maine hasn’t seen hospitalizations dip below 100 since mid-April.

Despite the downward trend over the past few days, COVID-19 hospitalizations have rising slowly but steadily since June 25.

That reflects a combination of those in the hospital primarily because of COVID-19, those who test positive upon being admitted for another reason, and those who bring the virus into the hospital while visiting others without a mask on, infecting other patients.

Outside factors such as students returning to school and a healthy tourist season in Maine also contribute to rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths because they increase the amount of COVID-19 in a community, Dr. James Jarvis, senior physician executive for Northern Light Health’s COVID-19 response, told the Bangor Daily News last week.