Maine Sets Records in COVID-19 Pandemic Cases; First US Omicron Case Detected in California


Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC, at a COVID-19 Briefing.

At his weekly briefing this afternoon, Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of Maine’s CDC, announced that the state has set records in some areas of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As of today, Dr. Shah said that 334 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.  Just two weeks ago, 280 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.  Forty-nine patients are on ventilators – a new record as well.  Two weeks ago 36 people were on ventilators.  Six children are now hospitalized.

Dr. Shah also reported that 72% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated.  Almost 30% of eligible residents have received their booster shots.  Over 5,000 vaccine shots are administered every day.  Seventy-three percent of those shots are boosters.  Fifteen percent of those shots are first doses.

Dr. Shah then turned his attention to the Omicron variant which has captured the attention of so many across the country.  He said it is a “variant of concern.”  But whether or not it is a threat is yet to be determined.  “More datss are needed” to make that determination he said.  The first case of the Omicron has been detected in the United States – in California.There are a number of questions that need to be addressed.  They include: 1. how contagious is this new variant? Does it spread more easly  than other variants?  2. what is the degree of vaccine protection for Omicron?  There have been conflicting statements on this subject recently.  It’s too early to know how severe this variant is?  And 3. what about the therapeutics?   The answers to these questions will come when more data are available.  “It is unlikely to take us back to square 1,” Dr. Shah stated.

Dr. Shah encouraged Maine residents to stay informed, get vaccinated, get boosted and wear face masks indoors.

Dr. Shah’s briefings can be seen every Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 pm on public television.  Last minute changes in scheduling do occur occasionally.