In recent weeks, the amount of breakthrough cases has made up more than half of all positive cases at LincolnHealth, but boosters continue to prove effective, according to LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins.
Of the 1,144 tests conducted during the last week, there were 283 positive cases for a positivity rate of 24.73%, up from 24.17% the week prior.
Of those positive cases, 149, or 53%, were fully vaccinated. Cases in those under the age of 18 rose to 76, up from 72 the week prior.
While the percentage of positive cases in those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at LincolnHealth has risen in prior weeks, positive cases for those that have received boosters has remained relatively low. On Jan. 12, the hospital registered 53 positive cases, 33 of which were vaccinated while only six were vaccinated and boosted.
As of the afternoon of Jan. 18, Martins reported that there were no beds available at LincolnHealth. He added that the emergency department is overcrowded due to patients awaiting placement elsewhere in the MaineHealth system, such as behavioral health, nursing care, or hospice.
The hospital currently meets the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of “contingency levels,” meaning that administrators are seeking alternative staffing resources and non-emergent procedures are being rescheduled. No LincolnHealth department has yet reached crisis levels.
“It’s important to recognize that our team members are doing heroic work in perhaps the most challenging time in their careers. While there are reports on the national level that indicate this variant is losing its grip in the United States, we have yet to see that here in Maine,” Martins said.
Those seeking a booster shot have the option of scheduling an appointment for a booster shot or walking into the clinic at the Watson Health Center on LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta when it is open.
The Watson Health Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Booster appointments can be made at vaccine.mainehealth.org or by calling 877-780-7545. Those registering will need to provide the date of their final COVID-19 shot.
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 Jan. 18, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 3,372 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 2,900 confirmed cases and 472 probable.
There have been two COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last week, raising the total to 18 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 Jan. 18, 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 209,520.93.
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, 26,140, or 75.47%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 26,787, or 77.34%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 69,320 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 908 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 16,393 additional or booster shots given to Lincoln County residents, up 621 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 20.79%, up from 18.43% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Jan. 18, the Maine CDC has reported 162,940 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 6,408 from the week before. Of those cases, 43,626 are probable.
There have been 3,749 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,688 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 65 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 1,217.4 per 10,000 people, up from 1,169.5 last week.
On Jan. 18, Maine reported 538 new cases since the weekend with no additional deaths. However, those numbers are incomplete as a result of low staffing with Monday falling on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.