Despite record COVID-19 hospitalizations, Maine’s ICU usage steady

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:08 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - While Maine sees yet another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, the number of patients in critical care is actually down today. In fact, ICU usage has remained relatively steady in Maine over the last few weeks.

Northern Light Health’s Dr. Gavin Ducker says COVID-19 hospitalizations are a numbers game. He says because the omicron variant is so contagious, it’s inevitable that some of the large number of people infected will end up in the hospital.

But, Ducker says, there are a few reasons why high hospitalizations haven’t translated to high ICU admissions. They include the fact that omicron generally causes less severe illness than delta.

“If you look at the rate of ICU admission over the course of the entire pandemic, both across the United States and in Maine, the proportion of patients who end up in the ICU has consistently dropped since the first surge, and that reflects a number of things but it basically reflects the fact that we’re much more experienced with this illness,” Ducker said. “We intervene earlier, we have some good treatments available. We’re able to to avoid, particularly, intubation and ventilation at a much more effective rate than we ever were before.”

Dr. Ducker says despite breakthrough cases, those who are unvaccinated or who haven’t gotten a booster dose are most likely to be infected with COVID-19 and end up in the hospital.

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