There were 15 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Knox County in the past day, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday, Feb. 9.

This continues a slowdown in cases. The Maine CDC says there is a backlog in adding cases to the positive list and a better metric are deaths and hospitalizations. There have been no additional deaths or hospitalization in Knox County in the past 15 days.

Since the pandemic began in Maine in March 2020, 4,340 Knox County residents have been diagnosed with the virus, 70 have been admitted to hospitals, and 22 have died.

Statewide, an additional 1,098 cases were reported in the past day. There were three additional deaths reported statewide Feb. 9, increasing the number to 1,819.

There were 16 additional people statewide admitted to hospitals in Maine with COVID-19 in the past day, increasing that number to 4,065 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Hospitalizations of Maine residents with the virus are declining. The CDC reports 319 Mainers currently in the hospital, down from a record high of 436 in early January. Of the 319 hospitalized, 75 are in critical care units and 29 on ventilators. Fifty-five critical care beds are available in Maine. These hospitalization numbers are the lowest since mid-November.

Seventy percent of hospitalized patients are people who have not been vaccinated, and 90 percent of people in critical care units are unvaccinated.

Eighty-two percent of the eligible population in Knox County has been fully vaccinated. Statewide, 76 percent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, ranging from a low of 62 percent in Somerset County to 88 percent in Cumberland County.

Medical leaders across the state continue to say the spread is being fueled by people who have not been vaccinated.

Health officials continue to urge people to wear masks in indoor public places and to get vaccinated, including booster shots. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said surgical masks, N95s and KN95s are more suitable for protection against the more transmissible Omicron variant of the virus than plain cloth masks.

The Maine Department of Education updated its statistics on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the schools during the past 30 days. The Feb. 3 update shows Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro with the most cases locally with 53. The Miller School in Waldoboro had 49 cases. Oceanside High School in Rockland had 48; Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro, 18; Warren Community School, 35; Union Elementary 28; the St. George School, 22; Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston, 24; Ash Point Community School in Owls Head, 17; the South School in Rockland, 16; Camden Hills Regional High School 21; Islesboro Central School, 18; Appleton Village School seven; and Lincolnville Central School, six. Each of the remaining area schools have had five or fewer cases over the past 30 days.

Portland High School has had the most in the state with 147 cases in the past 30 days.