LincolnHealth saw a record number of COVID-19 cases and a record high positivity rate during the past week of testing at the Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus in Damariscotta.
From Sept. 6-12, LincolnHealth tested 491 individuals with 42 positive results, for a positivity rate of 8.55%.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, urged unvaccinated individuals to talk to their healthcare provider about any concerns they may have with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As Maine’s transmission rate shows, the delta variant is highly contagious and vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you,” Martins said by email.
He said that the clinic has been struggling to keep up with call volume and testing. On Monday, Sept. 13, the clinic conducted a one-day record of 148 tests and received 486 incoming calls and made over 200 outgoing calls.
Martins said what is making things more challenging is that some callers are treating the staff poorly. He understands the frustration of those waiting to be tested, but said that hospital staff is working extremely hard to serve the community and has been doing so for many months.
“They deserve common courtesy during all interactions,” Martins wrote.
Lincoln County also saw a record number of COVID-19 cases in the past week, with 96 new positives being identified, up from 24 last week.
There have been four deaths in Lincoln County residents and 31 hospitalizations since COVID-19 arrived in March 2020—both unchanged from last week.
Schools in Lincoln County are also feeling the effects of the ongoing surge fueled by the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
Newcastle’s Lincoln Academy canceled school on Friday, Sept. 10 because of a COVID-19 outbreak and on Tuesday, Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta switched to remote learning for grades 5-8 for the remainder of this week because of an outbreak.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, Sept. 14, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 1,354 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 1,107 confirmed cases and 247 probable.
An estimate of the number of people with an active infection of COVID-19 can be made using the number of cases identified in the past two weeks, 120, up from 48 last week and 81 the week prior.
According to a graph maintained by the Bangor Daily News, as of Wednesday, Sept. 15, masking is recommended in Lincoln County and every county in Maine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people wear face coverings indoors if there is “substantial transmission” of the coronavirus in a county, defined as a weekly case rate of 50 or more cases per 100,000 people.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, for the total population, Lincoln County has a “moderate” rate of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 136,972.34. The number does not represent fully vaccinated individuals and, since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses, the number can be higher than 100,000, according to Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC.
The census data for Lincoln County provided by the Maine CDC lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 23,116, or 66.74%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 24,323, or 70.23%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data. A total of 47,439 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 417 doses from last week. Those counted in the final dose category have either received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The vaccine is being provided through all of LincolnHealth’s primary care practices.
According to a database maintained by the Maine CDC, vaccine appointments can be requested at Hannaford in Damariscotta, Walgreens in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Nathan’s Pharmacy in Boothbay Harbor, and Community Pharmacy in Waldoboro.
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 Hannaford, go to hannaford.com/pharmacy/covid-19-vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at Walgreens, go to walgreens.com/schedulevaccine or call 1-800-WALGREENS.
To schedule an appointment at Community Pharmacy, go to communityrx.com/covid-19.
To schedule an appointment at Nathan’s Pharmacy, call 315-2280.
According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, the seven-day average positivity rate for Maine is 6.78%, down from 9.3% last week.
According to the U.S. CDC, the seven-day average positivity rate for this past week is 9.1%, down from 9.6% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 81,955 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 3,152 from the week before. Of those cases, 23,243 are probable.
There have been 2,388 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 976 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 30 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 612.3 per 10,000 people, up from 588.8 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 5,666, up from 4,494 last week and 3,202 the week prior.