After more than two weeks with no new confirmed cases, Lincoln County saw one new COVID-19 case Thursday, April 30. With one more recovery, the number of confirmed active cases in the county remains at two.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the new case Thursday, April 30. The Maine CDC initially reported another Friday, May 1, but removed it the next day.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email on Monday, May 4 that the most likely reason for the removal is that an epidemiological investigation revealed that the individual’s primary residence was not in Lincoln County as originally thought. He declined to provide more specific information, citing patient privacy laws.
Of the 13 cases in Lincoln County, 11 people have recovered and none have been hospitalized.
LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins said by email that one more individual had tested positive within the past week for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, at the Miles Campus in Damariscotta. He said the individual has not been hospitalized and is quarantining at home.
As of Monday, May 4, six people have tested positive for COVID-19 through LincolnHealth. The hospital has conducted 387 tests, with 381 negative results.
Martins said the hospital remains in a “surge maintenance” phase, prepared for a spike in COVID-19 cases that could require hospitalization and critical care. He also said there had been a slight uptick in calls to LincolnHealth’s COVID-19 clinic over the past week.
In an interview with Lincoln County Television on Friday, May 1, Dr. Andrew Russ said that in general, it appears that Lincoln County, and Maine, is successfully flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections. Russ said LincolnHealth was on “incident day 52” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russ said the recommendations for containing the spread of the coronavirus remain the same: only leaving the house when absolutely necessary, wearing a mask in public, and washing hands regularly.
LincolnHealth is preparing to conduct nonemergency, time-sensitive procedures that had to be delayed because of COVID-19 preparations, Russ said. The hospital has continued to treat emergency situations throughout the preparations.
Russ urged everyone in the area to contact the hospital or their physician if they need treatment, noting a recent increase in telehealth visits.
“We’re getting feedback from the community that people are afraid to come in. And there are people at home with symptoms that really need care and they feel like they’re waiting it out, they’re trying to tough it out like good Mainers. And we want people to know that we can care for you. If you have something that you would be seeking care for in regular times, give us a call. We’ll figure out the best way to care for you,” Russ said.
Russ said LincolnHealth has not started conducting tests for COVID-19 antibodies because of the unreliability of many of the tests available.
“We certainly don’t plan to go forward with antibody testing until we have something we truly believe in,” Russ said.
LincolnHealth remains in “good shape” with regard to personal protective equipment because of the hospital’s affiliation with MaineHealth, according to Martins. The hospital currently has 240 COVID-19 test kits.
According to the Maine CDC, as of Tuesday, May 5, 1,226 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Maine. There have been 187 hospitalizations and 741 people have recovered. There have been 61 deaths.
Of the 1,226 cases, 76 are “probable cases,” a category recently added to the Maine CDC’s data breakdown. This category includes people who are close contacts of someone with a confirmed case who then become symptomatic.
Although the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise in Maine, the number of active cases, 424 – calculated by subtracting recoveries and deaths from the confirmed case total – has been trending downward since a peak of 446 active cases on April 17.
“Right now, what we’ve seen is a bit of a plateau,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in a briefing Monday. “It’s a high plateau, to be sure, on the order of 20 or 30 new cases (a day), and it is one that could go back up. But a plateau is at least evidence that measures that were taken two or three weeks ago to have folks stay inside have slowed that rate of exponential growth.”