New COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County residents ticked up in the past week to 16, up from 12 last week, but are still well below the new case numbers seen during the height of the winter surge of the respiratory illness.
LincolnHealth also adopted new visitation policies on Monday, March 15 established by its parent system MaineHealth.
According to a news release, as of Monday, two parents or guardians are allowed in pediatrics, one spouse or coach is allowed in obstetrics, and in all other inpatient areas, one visitor will be allowed per day between noon and 7 p.m.
For patients on palliative care or comfort measures, two visitors will be allowed each day and for end-of-life care, up to four family members may visit patients likely to expire within 24 hours. Visitors will not be allowed in any units with an active COVID-19 outbreak.
For an emergency department admission, one person is now allowed to accompany the patient, provided there is space for physical distancing and pediatric patients may be joined by two parents or guardians.
“While it is good news that we can start to loosen our visitation rules somewhat, people should understand that we are still in the middle of this pandemic,” said Joan Boomsma, chief medical officer of MaineHealth in the news release. “These restrictions are for the protection of patients, employees, visitors, and the public, and are consistent with guidance from governmental authorities and adopted for the purpose of reducing the potential for spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email on Tuesday, March 16 said the hospital’s vaccination clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor continues to be limited by vaccine allotment.
Eligible individuals can call or text 877-780-7545 to request an appointment or talk to their primary care physician. Anyone not currently eligible for a vaccine can also preregister for an appointment.
According to a database maintained by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine appointments can also be requested at Hannaford in Damariscotta and Walgreens locations in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor. Appointments are also available at Walmart locations located outside Lincoln County.
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.
Maine continues to allot vaccine doses to smaller, independent pharmacies for distribution mostly to vaccinate people in “skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent senior housing communities,” Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email on Tuesday, March 17.
According to a state database, no vaccine has been allotted for independent pharmacies in Lincoln County for the week of Thursday, March 4, the latest week for which the data has been updated.
Long also said that no new outbreaks have been reported in Lincoln County in the past week.
Martins said the LincolnHealth clinic has the capacity to deliver 1,800 doses each week, but only received 1,022 doses for this week. The clinic finds out how much vaccine will be delivered on the Thursday before the following week.
“It is frustrating that our anticipated allotment shrunk this week and that we cannot be vaccinating at full capacity,” Martins wrote.
However, Martins said that Lincoln County has delivered at least one dose to more than 75% of residents 70 years or older, which is the second-highest total in the state.
“Our overall percentages surpass state averages,” Martins wrote.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 16, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 46,962.52.
The latest census data for Lincoln County lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 10,287, or 29.7%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 5,978, or 17.26%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data. A total of 16,265 doses of vaccine have been administered.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 613 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 530 confirmed cases and 83 probable.
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, 28.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the third-lowest case rate in the state, after Hancock and Waldo counties, at 178.5 per 10,000 people.
Hospitalizations stayed at 17.
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data, current as of March 7, shows that case counts in Boothbay Harbor, East Boothbay, and Wiscasset have increased with the latest data.
Boothbay Harbor increased by three to 27 cases, East Boothbay moved into the 6-19 case category, and Wiscasset saw one more case for a total of 99, the highest in Lincoln County. Wiscasset’s ZIP code includes Westport Island.
All other counts remain unchanged from last week.
From March 1-7, LincolnHealth performed 344 tests for COVID-19 with eight positives, for a positivity rate of 2.33%.
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 2.1%, a jump from 1.1% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average positivity rate as of March 5 is 4.1%, down from 4.5% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 47,483 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,229 from the week before. Of those cases, 10,687 are probable.
There have been 1,607 hospitalizations and 12,895 people have completed isolation. There have been 725 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including two in the last week. The statewide case rate is 354.8 per 10,000 people, up from 345.6 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 2,392.