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Rising COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people bring fresh stress to Maine health workers

Maine health care workers knew what they had to do when rising coronavirus cases began pushing more Mainers back into the hospital. But the routines made commonplace over the course of the pandemic are something most hoped they would not have to repeat.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maine has soared in the past few weeks with the spread of the highly contagious delta variant across the state. As of Friday, 69 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus, nearly tripling from just 25 three weeks ago. More than half were in intensive care units and 15 were on ventilators.

Since mid-January, less than 5 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 here have been fully vaccinated, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data. Maine’s high vaccination rate — more than 80 percent of adults here have received at least one dose — is one of the reasons the virus situation has not deteriorated as much as some southern states, where hospitals have begun to run out of critical care beds. Maine’s hospitalization numbers are lower than in the winter.

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