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Some elective surgeries are postponed due to delta variant

September 8, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The parent company of Maine Medical Center is postponing some elective surgical procedures because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Maine Medical Center reduced surgeries by 30% last week, and all hospitals in the MaineHealth network are reducing surgeries that require a hospital admission after surgery, said Dr. Joan Boomsma, chief medical officer.

Boomsma told the Portland Press Herald the tightening hospital capacity for non-COVID-19 patients is similar to what Maine Med experienced at the previous peak of the pandemic in mid-January.

MaineHealth is the parent company of eight hospitals including Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick.

In other pandemic-related news:

THE NUMBERS

The Maine Center for Disease Control reported 732 infections over a four-day period that includes Labor Day. There were six additional deaths, the agency reported Wednesday.

Maine is hard-hit by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 161 new cases a day on Aug. 23 to 316 new cases a day on Monday.

As of Tuesday, 183 Mainers were hospitalized with the disease, with 68 in critical care and 29 on ventilators, the Maine CDC said.

HONOR FLIGHTS

A nonprofit that flies Maine veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials honoring their service is suspending its trips planned for September and October because of worries over the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The last Honor Flight was in November 2019, before the pandemic struck. Now those flights are being delayed again.

“As much as we regret having to make this difficult decision, the safety and well-being has always and always will be our priority for our veterans, guardians, and volunteers,” the organization’s chair Laurie Sidelinger told News Center Maine.

REMOTE LEARNING

Many schools are just a week into the year, and there already are 10 COVID-19 outbreaks and some schools are already moving to remote learning.

Mildred L. Day School in Arundel demonstrates the difficulties schools are facing. Officials said 143 people were identified as close contacts following COVID-19 cases, forcing the move to remote learning.

“I guess kind of expected in a way, sadly. Delta is really contagious. Kids are like – I’m sure they’re trying to keep their masks on but...” parent Tara McNeal told WMTW-TV.

Last month, a school in northern Maine was forced to return to remote learning after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.