LincolnHealth saw a dip in positive COVID-19 cases at its Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus in Damariscotta this week, a welcome sign after two weeks of record-breaking numbers.
However, countywide, there were 129 residents identified as COVID-19-positive in the past week, the highest weekly total yet seen, breaking a record of 96 set two weeks ago.
Between Sept. 20 and 26, LincolnHealth performed 859 tests with 57 positives, for a positivity rate of 6.64%, down from 9.4% last week, which was the highest rate seen by the hospital since COVID-19 arrived in March 2020.
“There have been reports of studies showing that this COVID-19 surge may have reached its peak nationally,” LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins said by email. “While we’re pleased to see the decreases in cases and positivity rate, and while it’s encouraging, I’m not certain we can consider this a trend just yet.”
Martins urged people to get a COVID-19 vaccination as it is the best option to protect against COVID-19.
He said that breakthrough cases in those who have been fully vaccinated were down to 23%, from 29% last week, and that 23 of the 57 positives were in individuals under the age of 18.
There have been four deaths in Lincoln County residents and 31 hospitalizations since COVID-19 arrived in March 2020—both unchanged from last week.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, Sept. 28, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 1,567 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 1,281 confirmed cases and 286 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, 213, up from 180 last week and 120 the week prior.
Martins said that a third shot of vaccine is now available for individuals who are immunocompromised by calling their primary care provider.
He said this should not be confused with the upcoming booster shots that will be available to the general public in the future. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for a booster shot.
“We are working at establishing clinics on the Damariscotta campus in the Watson Center, offering shots a few days per week,” Martins said.
He advised those interested in a booster shot to follow the newspaper and LincolnHealth’s Facebook page and website for details on when the booster shots will become available.
Martins also said Saturday flu vaccine clinics will be starting up and anyone can get a vaccine at the four LincolnHealth practices.
The Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus has conducted over 10,000 COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic and Martins thanked the team.
“This small but mighty team has been doing exceptional work and we are so grateful for their efforts,” Martins wrote.
According to a graph maintained by the Bangor Daily News, as of Tuesday, Sept. 28, 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 to high” rate of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 139,227.35. 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, 23,335, or 67.38%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 24,311, or 70.19%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 48,220 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 382 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 13.2%, up significantly from 4.15% last week.
According to the U.S. CDC, the seven-day average positivity rate for this past week is 7.6%, down from 8.9% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 85,156 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 3,908 from the week before. Of those cases, 25,453 are probable.
There have been 2,475 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,022 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 15 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 665.4 per 10,000 people, up from 636.3 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 7,109, up from 6,353 last week and 5,666 the week prior.