The number of new COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County residents ticked up slightly this week with 30 new cases, up from 25 last week.
Vaccinations are ongoing for members of the general public 70 years and older at a LincolnHealth clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email that the clinic continues to run smoothly, with the main limitation being the availability of vaccine doses.
Martins said that the hospital received 500 doses this week and will administer them all by the end of the week. Martins said that the clinic has the capacity to administer up to 360 doses of vaccine per day once the supply is available.
By the end of the week, Martins said that approximately 2,800 doses will have been administered through the Boothbay Harbor clinic and another 900 have been administered at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta.
Due to inclement weather, 100 vaccine appointments were rescheduled from Tuesday, Feb. 16 to the following week.
Eligible individuals can call 877-780-7545 to request an appointment or talk to their primary care physician, Martins said. In addition, those who are not yet eligible can preregister to be offered a vaccine appointment when doses are more widely available.
According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data current as of Tuesday, Feb. 16, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 20,277.76.
The latest census data for Lincoln County lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 5,516, or 15.93%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 1,507, or 4.35%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
According to Maine CDC data, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 551 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 484 confirmed cases and 67 probable.
One Lincoln County resident has died from complications associated with COVID-19 and 14 have been hospitalized, both unchanged from last week.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email on Tuesday, Feb. 16 that no new outbreaks have been reported in Lincoln County in the past two weeks.
The Colby & Gale Inc. service station in downtown Damariscotta closed on Sunday, Feb. 14 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
In letter to customers on Monday, Daryl Fraser, manager of the station, said it would be closed until all the staff received COVID-19 tests.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the fifth-lowest case rate in the state, after Hancock, Knox, Piscataquis, and Waldo counties, at 160.4 per 10,000 people.
After accounting for 163 “completed isolations” and one death, the number of apparent active cases is up to 387, although this likely does not reflect the actual number of people currently sick with COVID-19.
The agency says that since Nov. 25, it has not been able to follow up on every identified case of COVID-19, therefore, the number of “completed isolations” is no longer being updated.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, is continuing to urge vigilance in Mainers to guard against COVID-19 transmission by wearing face coverings, physically distancing, and avoiding large crowds, especially in the wake of the discovery of two cases in the state of the more contagious COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom.
The cases are not connected and both individuals had recently traveled out of state, Shah said.
“The variants can’t spread if we don’t give them an opportunity to,” Shah said on Tuesday during the Maine CDC coronavirus briefing. “But it’s a risk, it’s a concern, it’s one of the reasons for my caution right now because they are out there and I don’t want them to start spreading.”
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data shows that case counts in Boothbay, Damariscotta, Jefferson, Whitefield, and Wiscasset have increased in the past week.
Boothbay added two cases for a total of 20; Damariscotta also added two for a total of 45; Whitefield added four for a total of 52; and Wiscasset saw an increase of 10 to move to a total of 90 cases, the highest in Lincoln County. Wiscasset’s ZIP code includes Westport Island.
All other counts remain unchanged from last week.
According to Martins, the number of COVID-19 tests performed at the hospital was the lowest it has been since the week after Christmas.
From Feb. 8-14, LincolnHealth performed 412 tests for COVID-19 with 15 positives, for a positivity rate of 3.64%.
The state’s swab-and-send site on LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus 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 3.7%, down from 3.9% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide cumulative positivity rate, as of Tuesday, Feb. 16 is 9.11%.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 42,872 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,242 from the week before. Of those cases, 8,752 are probable.
There have been 1,490 hospitalizations and 12,693 people have completed isolation. There have been 654 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 15 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 320.3 per 10,000 people, up from 311 last week.
The number of active or “other” cases, 29,525, is an increase of 1,102 from a week before.