The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported seven new cases of COVID-19 and five more recoveries in Lincoln County over the past week.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email that the agency has yet to identify community transmission or an outbreak in Lincoln County, despite a case at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro and another at Union Elementary School, in the same school district. (See “MVHS, Union Elementary report COVID-19 positives, switch to distance learning” in this edition.)
The Maine CDC reported three new cases Tuesday, Oct. 20; three more Wednesday, Oct. 21; and two more Tuesday, Oct. 27. A probable case was likely removed from the count after the person tested negative, leading to a net gain of seven cases.
“The two most common reasons for a change is that the individual tests positive and becomes a confirmed case or that the individual tests negative and is no longer considered a case,” Long has said of probable cases.
According to data current as of Tuesday, Oct. 27, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March, 61 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 56 confirmed cases and five probable.
Fifty people have recovered from COVID-19 and one has died, leaving 10 active cases.
The case rate for Lincoln County is 17.8 per 10,000 people. Five residents have been hospitalized at some point in their illness.
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data does not indicate the location of the new cases. However, Wiscasset is now listed as having six cases, up from one to five last week.
Waldoboro is listed as having six to 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, and Whitefield.
The agency does not list any cases in East Boothbay, New Harbor, Nobleboro, Round Pond, South Bristol, or Trevett.
Tests at LincolnHealth remained steady this week as the hospital performed 431 tests with five positives, for a positivity rate of 1.16%, the highest weekly rate recorded at LincolnHealth.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email that the call volume at the hospital’s Respiratory Care Clinic, at the Webster Van Winkle Medical Building on the Miles Campus, has remained “very high.”
“We will continue to see pockets of positive patients, both with and without symptoms. The important point is that the virus is still here and spreads easily,” Dr. Timothy Fox, chief medical officer for LincolnHealth, said by email.
“As we head into winter and flu season, it is more important than ever to stay home when you are sick, wear your mask when around others, and wash your hands frequently. Students returning home from college should quarantine,” Fox wrote.
Fox said families should approach the holiday season differently this year and avoid travel and large gatherings. He said getting a flu vaccine should be a priority for everyone this year.
Of the 431 tests LincolnHealth performed in the past week, 190 were clinical, for people exhibiting symptoms; 47 were of patients without symptoms at either admission or discharge from the hospital; and 194 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. Martins said that in the past week, the program conducted 17 tests with no 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 free of charge — even without symptoms, known exposure, or a doctor’s order.
Since July 13, LincolnHealth has conducted 4,699 tests with 23 positives, for a cumulative positivity rate of 0.49%, up from 0.42% last week.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Oct. 27, Maine’s seven-day average positivity rate is 0.7%, up from 0.4% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide positivity rate for “week 42,” ending Oct. 17, rose from 5.4% the previous week to 6.3%.
LincolnHealth will continue to offer drive-up flu shots for anyone over the age of 7 from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31.
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.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 6,387 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 398 from the week before. Of those cases, 717 are probable.
There have been 484 hospitalizations and 5,441 people have recovered. There have been 146 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, the same as last week. The statewide case rate is 47.7 per 10,000 people.
The number of active cases, 800, is an increase of 163 from a week before.