The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported three new cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County over the last week, the first new cases in the county since June 11.
In total, as of Tuesday, June 30, at least 21 people from Lincoln County have had a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 and there have been three “probable cases.”
The new cases were reported June 25, 26, and 30.
This category includes people who are close contacts of someone with a confirmed case and become symptomatic or someone who has had a confirmed antibody test and had close contact with a confirmed case or became symptomatic.
The case rate for Lincoln County is reported as seven per 10,000 people. Two residents have been hospitalized for COVID-19. There have been 20 recoveries, leaving a total of four active cases.
Community transmission of the virus has not been detected in Lincoln County, according to the Maine CDC.
LincolnHealth saw one more positive case of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, on June 24, after not seeing any new cases for more than a month.
In total, as of June 28, LincolnHealth has performed 1,367 COVID-19 tests, with 12 positives and 1,355 negative results.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email that the number of calls to the hospital’s COVID-19 clinic continues to increase. Many of the calls have been inquiring about expanded testing, such as a COVID-19 test for out-of-state residents or visitors not traveling from Vermont or New Hampshire who wish to avoid the statewide 14-day quarantine requirement.
Martins said LincolnHealth does not offer such a “COVID passport” test.
Travelers from Vermont and New Hampshire are exempt from the requirement because of the relatively low case count in those states.
Although people with symptoms still need a physician’s referral to receive a COVID-19 test, LincolnHealth has expanded the availability of tests slightly.
Tests recommended by a physician will take place at the Miles Campus Respiratory Care Clinic, formerly the COVID-19 clinic.
If someone feels symptoms warrant a visit to the urgent care center in Boothbay Harbor or the emergency department at the Miles Campus in Damariscotta, Martins said they can receive a test there after first registering as a patient.
For people with an established relationship with MaineHealth or LincolnHealth, testing may be available without symptoms if the individual has had known exposure or is at elevated risk of exposure.
LincolnHealth defines known exposure as someone who has been within 6 feet of another person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 for at least 30 minutes.
Martins wrote that people in the elevated risk of exposure category include: “people returning from states with a COVID-19 prevalence higher than that in Maine; those who have participated in large gatherings; employees of businesses who have direct, daily contact with members of the public; essential health care workers and first responders; and residents and staff of group living facilities such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”
Martins said arrangements for testing can be made by calling one of LincolnHealth’s primary care offices. If a test is deemed necessary, the individual will be referred to a testing location.
LincolnHealth has also started to perform mid-turbinate testing for COVID-19 on patients admitted to the hospital. According to Martins, this test can be administered with less personal protective equipment and is more comfortable than the typical nasopharyngeal swab test.
In a change to the hospital’s strict no-visitors policy, with some exceptions, patients in long-term care can now have visitors outside. Martins said a plastic barrier has been created to allow visitors to Cove’s Edge and Chase Point to “touch” their loved ones through the barrier.
Martins also said the hospital’s supplies of COVID-19 test kits and personal protective equipment are still very good.
State COVID-19 numbers
The Maine CDC reports that 3,294 people have or had COVID-19 in Maine as of Tuesday, June 30, an increase of 300 from the week before. Of these cases, 372 are probable cases.
There have been 351 hospitalizations and 2,671 people have recovered. There have been 105 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine. The statewide case rate is 24.6 per 10,000 people.
The number of active cases, 518 – calculated by subtracting recoveries and deaths from the confirmed and probable case total – is an increase of nine from one week before.
The Maine CDC also lists the results of antibody tests, which are intended to detect whether someone has had COVID-19 and recovered from it. It is not yet known if testing positive for coronavirus antibodies confers immunity from COVID-19.
Since May 20, 332 people have tested positive for antibodies and there have been 7,106 negative results in Maine. Nine tests were indeterminate.