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Maine is the second-highest state for COVID cases in the nation. Rhode Island has been named the first.
Two weeks ago Maine had low numbers of COVID, according to the Maine CDC. Now, there are high numbers in most counties in Maine.
A majority of the nation has lower numbers except for most of the Northeast.
The CDC designated eight counties in Maine as high-risk for COVID after a spike in cases of the B.A. 2 Variant sub-variant to omicron. It is also known as stealth omicron.
High-risk COVID Counties in Maine
The counties in Maine that are in the high-risk category are Lincoln, Knox, Penobscot, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Hancock, and Cumberland. These areas have been recommended to wear masks while inside public areas by the CDC.
The counties that are yellow are listed as medium risk. The CDC recommends people in those counties with underlying medical conditions wear a mask. The counties consist of Oxford, Waldo, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Washington, Somerset, Franklin, and York
This comes after an increase of approximately 150% in COVID cases within the last two weeks. It also stems from an increase in patients being hospitalized by 59%. Hospitalizations are at their highest point since February at 204 patients.
The current level of COVID is to the at that using a mask in high-risk areas is similar to wearing a coat in the rain, according to some health experts.
MaineHealth and CDC
Dr. Dora Mills with MaineHealth, believes that people watch the weather to decide what to wear and COVID is the same. She says that people look at the area and if the risk is high you use extra precautions.
Even though the numbers are on the rise, no requirements have been put in place by the Maine CDC. Some areas are prompting the use of masks in town offices and other facilities with no regard to vaccination status.
The town of Falmouth is the most recent to call for masks.
The levels for each community are based on the number of new cases that were reported in the past seven days, new hospitalizations caused by the infection, and the percentage of inpatient beds that are used by COVID patients. High-risk counties are at risk of pushing hospital capacity.
Subvariants of Omicron
The risk assessment changes follow a high spike in COVID cases in Maine and the Northeast region that results from the appearance of the three subvariants of omicron. Each subvariant spreads easier than the original strain. The initial variant was behind the highest spike of cases in the winter. Maine is going through the most recent spike weeks after higher population states in the Northeast.
The infection attempts to spread through human hosts and turn into variants and subvariants, according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, who specializes in infectious diseases and is a professor at the University of Minnesota
It is not easy to predict accurately what subvariants will show up. However, it is easy to predict that new types of the illness will create at some point, Dr. Osterholm explained. He was a member of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. In November 2020, the board was appointed by President Joe Biden.
Written by Marrissa Kay
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