Despite a well-vaccinated population, cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County residents continue to surge with 59 new cases this week, up from 41 last week and 35 the week before that.
Wiscasset Elementary School, Wiscasset Middle High School, and Jefferson Village School all switched to distance learning last week prior to April vacation after individuals associated with the school tested positive for COVID-19.
Both schools are on vacation this week and intend to return to in-person classes on Monday, April 26.
Wiscasset School Department Superintendent Terry Wood said in a letter to staff, students, and families on Monday, April 12 that two high school students had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a post on the JVS website from Friday, April 16, it says that four individuals have confirmed cases of COVID-19 but the school is not considered in outbreak status. The post says that outbreak status is determined by the Maine Center for Disease and Prevention as three or more confirmed cases from different households within 14 days.
An outbreak investigation at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta was temporarily closed on April 10 after the school did not report any new cases for 14 days, according to an email from Lizzy Garnatz, of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Garnatz said that the outbreak investigation will officially end 28 days after the last positive test or symptom onset date, whichever is later. If the school does not have any additional qualifying cases on or before April 24, the outbreak status will not be restarted, Garnatz said.
The outbreak at GSB was announced in a March 30 letter to parents and guardians from the school. AOS 93 Superintendent Craig Jurgensen said that no COVID-19 transmission was shown to have happened in the school. GSB did not alter its full-time in-person instruction method as a result of the cases.
Outbreak investigations have also been opened in recent weeks at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle and Boothbay Region Elementary School, according to Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, April 20, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 792 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 652 confirmed cases and 140 probable.
Hospitalizations held at 19 and deaths stayed at two total.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the third-lowest case rate in the state, after Hancock and Waldo Counties, at 230.6 per 10,000 people
Since the agency is no longer actively tracking “completed isolations,” an estimate of the number of people currently sick with COVID-19 in Lincoln County can be made using the total number of new cases reported in the past two weeks, 100, up from 74 last week.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said in an email that the clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor has vaccinated 10,000 individuals as of this week.
Martins said that 500 new doses and 900 second doses will be administered this week, for a total of 1,400 doses.
Of the 16,370 doses the clinic has administered since it opened, 12,950, or 79%, were delivered to Lincoln County residents, Martins said
Martins said there have been no-shows at the clinic in the last few weeks and encouraged people to make a vaccine appointment at mainehealth.org/vaccine. All Maine residents 16 years and older are now eligible for a vaccine.
According to a database maintained by the Maine CDC, vaccine appointments can also be requested at Hannaford in Damariscotta, Walgreens locations in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, and the Community Pharmacy in Waldoboro. Appointments are also available at Walmart and Shaw’s locations, all outside Lincoln County.
Patients of Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills can call 549-7581 to make an appointment for a vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Shaw’s, go to shaws.com/covid-19.
To schedule an appointment at Hannaford, go to hannaford.com/pharmacy/covid-19-vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Walgreens, go to walgreens.com/schedulevaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Community Pharmacy, go to communityrx.com/covid-19.
Those who need help scheduling a vaccination appointment can call a community vaccination line at 1-888-445-4111.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, April 20, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 87,362.13.
The census data for Lincoln County provided by the Maine CDC lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 17,572, or 50.74%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 12,685, or 36.63%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data. A total of 30,257 doses of vaccine have been administered.
For those under 30, 2,485 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 1,006 have received the final dose. First doses are up from 785 last week and second doses are up from 396.
Testing data from the LincolnHealth Respiratory Care Clinic at the Miles campus in Damariscotta was not available for this week.
The state’s swab-and-send site on LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta offers drive-up testing by appointment from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Thursday. To make an appointment, call the clinic at 563-4353.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, the seven-day average positivity rate for Maine is 4.75%, up from 2.36% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average positivity rate for this past week is 5.6%, up from 5.5% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 58,465 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 3,091 from the week before. Of those cases, 14,715 are probable.
There have been 1,789 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 768 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 11 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 436.8 per 10,000 people, up from 413.7 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 5,788.