While overall testing dropped significantly at LincolnHealth in the last two weeks, positive case rates have remained high, according to LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins.
Of the 528 tests conducted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, there were 88 positive cases for a positivity rate of 16.66%, down from 16.95% the week prior.
“We are certainly encouraged by the reduction in testing,” Martins said. “We’re hoping to see our positive percentages drop in future weeks.”
Of those positive cases, 56, or 64%, received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. There were 14 cases in those under the age of 18. This is the lowest case numbers have been in the under-18 age group since July 2021.
The Miles Campus hospital is still operating at capacity and the number of patients awaiting placement in a more appropriate facility remains high and has hamstrung the hospital in its ability to admit patients.
On Feb. 7, LincolnHealth had 11 “swing patients” awaiting placement, representing about 40% of the hospital’s beds.
Those seeking a booster shot have the option of scheduling an appointment or walking into the clinic at the Watson Health Center at Miles Campus when it is open.
Hours at the booster clinic have changed. It is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Booster appointments can be made at vaccine.mainehealth.org or by calling 877-780-7545. Those registering will need to provide the date of last COVID-19 shot.
Martins said that while a growing collection of studies continue to show that the COVID-19 booster is effective at reducing hospitalizations and the spread of the disease, those at LincolnHealth anticipate that the booster rate in Lincoln County is much lower than the vaccination rates.
According to a news release from LincolnHealth, while 75% of eligible Mainers have received a full vaccination series, only 37% of Mainers have been boosted
Those who received a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months after their initial series. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, booster shots are recommended after two or more months.
Pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Lincoln Medical Partners Primary Care Office in Damariscotta. Pediatric patients do not need to schedule special appointments.
Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5-11 is available in a two-dose series and is administered in a lower dose than the vaccine for adolescents and adults. Just like adults, doses will be administered 21 days apart.
According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data through Feb.8, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 3,872 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 3,337 confirmed cases and 535 probable.
There has been one COVID-19-related death reported in the last week, raising the total to 21 in the county.
According to a graph maintained by the Bangor Daily News, masking is recommended in Lincoln County and every other county in Maine. The U.S. CDC is recommending that people wear face coverings indoors if there is “substantial transmission” of the coronavirus in a county, defined as a weekly case rate of 50 or more cases per 100,000 people.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Feb. 8, for the total population, Lincoln County has a “moderate to high” rate of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 212,891.04.
The number does not represent fully vaccinated individuals and, since the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both require two doses, the number can be higher than 100,000.
The census data for Lincoln County provided by the Maine CDC lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 26,309, or 75.96%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 26,964, or 77.85%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 70,435 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 306 doses from last week. Those counted in the final dose category have either received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
There have been 17,162 additional or booster shots given to Lincoln County residents, up 179 doses from last week.
The vaccine is being provided through all of LincolnHealth’s primary care practices, as well as a booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
According to a database maintained by the Maine CDC, vaccine appointments can be requested at Hannaford in Damariscotta, Walgreens in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Nathan’s Pharmacy in Boothbay Harbor, and Community Pharmacy in Waldoboro.
Patients of Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills can call 549-7581 to make an appointment for a vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Hannaford, go to hannaford.com/pharmacy/covid-19-vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Walgreens, go to walgreens.com/schedulevaccine or call 1-800-WALGREENS.
To schedule an appointment at Community Pharmacy, go to communityrx.com/covid-19.
To schedule an appointment at Nathan’s Pharmacy, call 315-2280.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, the seven-day average positivity rate for Maine is 13.09%, down from 17% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Feb. 8, the Maine CDC has reported 183,499 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 6,400 from the week before. Of those cases, 48,260 are probable.
There have been 4,065 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,819 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 60 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 1.371 per 10,000 people, up from 1,323.2 last week.