Lincoln County has three new COVID-19 cases — its first in two weeks — but does not have an outbreak, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The last new case was reported Sunday, Sept. 13. Two new cases were reported Saturday, Sept. 12.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email that there are no outbreak investigations in Lincoln County, “which indicates that the cases lack a connecting point such as a congregate living center or workplace.”
“Epidemiological investigators are in the midst of exploring potential connections between cases,” Long said.
As of Monday, Sept. 14, the Maine CDC has reported 39 cases of the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus in Lincoln County since mid-March — four of which are active. There have been 34 confirmed cases and five probable cases. The three new cases are all confirmed.
The case rate for Lincoln County is 11.4 per 10,000 people. Three residents have been hospitalized at some point in their illness, one of whom has died.
There have been 34 recoveries, leaving the four active cases. The number of active cases is calculated by subtracting recoveries and deaths from the confirmed and probable case total.
Community transmission of the virus has not been detected in Lincoln County, according to the Maine CDC.
According to John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, the hospital performed 243 COVID-19 tests between Sept. 7 and Sept. 13, with one positive.
This number does not include tests at the state-sponsored “swab-and-send” testing site on the Miles Campus. Martins said that in the past week, the site performed 27 tests. The results of the tests, which the state oversees, were not immediately available.
He said the turnaround time for the swab-and-send tests is about five to seven days, while LincolnHealth test results are usually available within 24 hours.
All COVID-19 drive-up testing is now taking place at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in the Webster Van Winkle building, on the hill above Chase Point, where the hospital recently relocated its Respiratory Care Clinic.
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.
Of the 243 tests performed in the past week, 73 were clinical, for people exhibiting symptoms; 39 were of patients without symptoms at either admission or discharge from the hospital; and 131 were preoperative or of people with known exposure to COVID-19 who did not exhibit symptoms.
Martins also said the hospital, in accordance with new federal and state guidelines, will be testing all employees at the hospital’s long-term care facilities. He said testing will begin at Cove’s Edge next week.
Martins said how often employees are tested will be decided by federal and state officials and will depend on whether there is community spread of the coronavirus.
Since July 13, LincolnHealth has conducted 2,332 tests, with nine positives, for a positivity rate of 0.39%.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Sept. 15, Maine’s seven-day average positivity rate is 0.6%.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide positivity rate for “week 36,” ending Sept. 5, was 5.1% — down from 5.5% the previous week.
LincolnHealth has also conducted three serology, or antibody, tests since July 13, which were negative. These tests determine if someone has been infected with the coronavirus by detecting antibodies the body deploys to fight the infection. The U.S. CDC states on its website that it is unknown whether antibodies confer immunity from the virus.
“If antibodies do provide immunity, we don’t know how much antibody is protective or how long protection might last. CDC scientists are currently conducting studies to answer these questions,” the site says.
State COVID-19 numbers
The Maine CDC has reported 4,918 COVID-19 cases in Maine as of Monday, an increase of 205 from the week before. Of those cases, 503 are probable.
There have been 432 hospitalizations and 4,280 people have recovered. There have been 137 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine. The statewide case rate is 36.7 per 10,000 people.
The number of active cases, 501, is an increase of eight from a week before.
The Maine CDC also lists the results of antibody tests. Since May 20, 503 people have tested positive for antibodies and there have been 9,503 negative results. Fourteen tests were indeterminate.