One resident of Lincoln County tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, April 15. None have tested positive since.
As of Tuesday, April 21, a dozen residents of Lincoln County have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. Eight of the 12 have recovered; none have been hospitalized, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Tuesday, 888 people have tested positive for COVID-19 across all 16 of Maine’s counties. There have been 139 hospitalizations and 36 deaths, while 443 people have recovered.
There have been 14,076 negative tests in the state.
The total number of cases in Maine is up by 20.98% over last week, compared to a 41.43% jump in case numbers the week before.
The number of new cases announced each day has been steadily falling since a single-day high of 65 on April 13. Eight new cases were announced Monday and 13 on Tuesday.
There were 16 deaths in the past week. Hospitalizations across the state increased by 15 from last week.
After accounting for deaths and recoveries, Maine CDC data showed 409 active coronavirus cases Tuesday, 17 fewer than a day earlier.
During his daily briefing Tuesday, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah cautioned against reading too much into Maine’s trends, which he said are “exquisitely sensitive to day-to-day changes,” because of the relatively small sample size of COVID-19 cases in Maine.
“Even though the number of recovered individuals is rising – it’s up 30 from yesterday – we are still very much in the thick of things,” Shah said. “We are still seeing additional cases, and given the low numbers that we have in Maine, any one day’s change is difficult to interpret.”
LincolnHealth has seen only one new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks. The individual lives in Cumberland County, according to hospital spokesperson John Martins.
Four Lincoln County residents have tested positive through LincolnHealth and all four have recovered, according to Dr. Andrew Russ.
Since testing for COVID-19 began, LincolnHealth has tested 316 individuals, Martins said by email. The hospital currently has the capacity to conduct 315 more tests and has an “adequate” supply of personal protective equipment like face masks, goggles, and gowns.
LincolnHealth has been taking steps over the past several weeks to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Martins said the hospital is ready for a surge and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
“We’re prepared. We’re in a position where we feel that we’re adequately prepared for any surge that we might get,” Martins said by phone Wednesday, April 22.
He said hospital administrators are talking about how to slowly return to normal hospital operations. There is no timeline yet.
“We still don’t know what we don’t know in terms of the virus, and if and when we will be hitting a surge,” Martins said.
Martins said this week saw an uptick in calls to LincolnHealth’s COVID-19 clinic inquiring about expanded testing and antibody testing.
An antibody test determines whether someone has previously contracted COVID-19 by detecting antibodies the body produces to fight the infection. However, reliable antibody testing is not yet widely available in the state.
LincolnHealth continues to adhere to Maine CDC guidelines for COVID-19 testing.
The country and state have tight restrictions in place that determine who gets tested for COVID-19 due to a nationwide shortage of testing supplies.
The Maine CDC prioritizes testing in two tiers.
Tier one, the highest-priority individuals, are those who have been hospitalized; health care workers and emergency medical services workers; and patients living in group homes, like assisted-living facilities.
Tier two includes patients who are 65 or older and have underlying medical conditions that put them at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19.