The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported four new cases of COVID-19 and two more recoveries in Lincoln County residents over the past week.
After no new cases in county residents since Oct. 6, the agency reported two confirmed cases Friday, Oct. 16 and one each Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18.
According to data current as of Monday, Oct. 19, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March, 54 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 48 confirmed cases and six probable.
Forty-five people have recovered from COVID-19 and one has died, leaving eight active cases.
The case rate for Lincoln County is 15.7 per 10,000 people. The Maine CDC has not detected community transmission in the county. Five residents have been hospitalized at some point in their illness.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said the agency has not opened any new outbreak investigations in Lincoln County.
The agency’s ZIP code data does not indicate the location of the new cases. Waldoboro is listed as having 6-19 cases and Jefferson is listed as having seven. Both crossed the five-case threshold in recent weeks. The numbers reflect total cases, not active cases.
The Maine CDC lists the following Lincoln County municipalities and places as having one to five cases: Alna, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Dresden, Edgecomb, Newcastle, Pemaquid, Southport, Walpole, Whitefield, and Wiscasset.
The agency does not list any cases in East Boothbay, New Harbor, Nobleboro, Round Pond, South Bristol, or Trevett.
LincolnHealth has continued to see an increase in testing, performing its highest weekly total of tests from Oct. 12-18. Weekly testing numbers have grown steadily since the beginning of September.
According to LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins, the hospital performed 432 tests with three positives, for a positivity rate of 0.69%. He did not have any additional information about the positive cases.
Martins said by email that the Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus in Damariscotta is “busier than it has ever been” with calls and testing.
“On Monday, the team answered approximately 200 calls and conducted 89 tests, which is the most tests in one day since the clinic was launched. The team continues to provide excellent care and service despite the additional volume,” Martins wrote.
Of the 432 tests LincolnHealth performed in the past week, 215 were clinical, for people exhibiting symptoms; 48 were of patients without symptoms at either admission or discharge from the hospital; and 169 were preoperative or of people with known exposure to COVID-19 who did not exhibit symptoms.
LincolnHealth also hosts a state-sponsored “swab-and-send” testing program at the Respiratory Care Clinic, at the Webster Van Winkle Building on the Miles Campus. Martins said that in the past week, the program conducted 15 tests with no known positives.
The swab-and-send site currently offers drive-up testing by appointment outside the clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Thursday. To make an appointment, call the clinic at 563-4353.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has said that anyone who feels they need a COVID-19 test in Maine can now get one at a swab-and-send clinic — even without symptoms, known exposure, or a doctor’s order.
Since July 13, LincolnHealth has conducted 4,268 tests with 18 positives, for a cumulative positivity rate of 0.42%.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Oct. 20, Maine’s seven-day average positivity rate is 0.4%, down from 0.5% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide positivity rate for “week 41,” ending Oct. 10, rose to 5.4% from 4.9% the week prior.
LincolnHealth is offering drive-up flu shots for anyone over the age of 7 every weekend in October.
The flu shot clinics are at the Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus and the Family Care Center on the St. Andrews Campus in Boothbay Harbor. Hours are 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.
Health officials say the flu shot is especially important this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Monday, the Maine CDC has reported 5,989 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 209 from the week before. Of those cases, 648 are probable.
There have been 469 hospitalizations and 5,206 people have recovered. There have been 146 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine. The statewide case rate is 44.7 per 10,000 people.
The number of active cases, 637, is an increase of six from a week before.