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Maine has one of the nation's highest rates of COVID-19 cases per capita

Gov. Janet Mills said the spike in cases Maine is seeing appears to be completely attributable to subvariants of the omicron strain of COVID-19.

MAINE, USA — According to New York Times data tracking coronavirus, Maine, as of Thursday afternoon, is tied with Rhode Island for the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country per capita.

A tracker on nytimes.com lists both states as having 53 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

For Maine, that represents a 144% increase over the past 14 days, and the state is just behind Delaware at the top of the list for hospitalizations per 100,000 people as well.

"We believe that this is following a similar pattern that we’ve seen before where Europe gets these surges and then New England and the mid-Atlantic," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, one of the state’s largest healthcare networks.

Mills added that the spike in cases Maine is seeing appears to be completely attributable to subvariants of the omicron strain of COVID-19.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and the vaccine in Maine

Asked about the high case rates, Robert Long, a spokesperson for Maine CDC, replied that the state agency suggests taking a "longer-term perspective than case and hospitalization changes from one-day rates" because those rates "fluctuate more radically for states with smaller populations, so the longer-term seroprevalence monitoring may be a better measurement tool."

In terms of precautions people can take given the case jump on the tracker, Long said Maine CDC urges people to follow U.S. CDC recommendations to prevent COVID-19 spread based on transmission risk in a given county.

As of Thursday afternoon, only one Maine county, Aroostook County, met the federal threshold that recommends someone wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

RELATED: Eight Maine schools closed as COVID cases surge

Meanwhile, Knox County, Lincoln County, Sagadahoc County, and Franklin County were all in the medium-risk category.

The U.S. CDC recommends that people in those areas who are "at high risk for severe illness" should talk to their "healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions."

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