With the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to Maine increasing, LincolnHealth’s vaccination clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor will be able to operate “at capacity” for the first time this week, according to John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth.
Since opening the clinic in January, LincolnHealth has been limited in how many doses of the vaccine it can administer by how many doses it received.
This week, the clinic will administer the most weekly doses to date — 1,000 first doses for new patients and 891 second doses, averaging 378 doses per day. In total, the clinic has delivered over 10,000 first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine to patients.
Currently, all “school and child care workers,” people age 50 and older, and people categorized in phase 1a — which includes first responders, health care workers, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities — are eligible to receive a vaccine.
People can register for the LincolnHealth clinic by calling 1-877-780-7545, visiting vaccine.mainehealth.org, or talking to their primary care physician.
Patients of Sheepscot Valley Health Center in Coopers Mills can now call 549-7581 to make an appointment for a vaccine, according to a database maintained by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the database, vaccine appointments can also be requested at Hannaford in Damariscotta and Walgreens locations in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor. Appointments are also available at Walmart and now, at 15 Shaw’s locations, all outside Lincoln County.
The Shaw’s grocery store in Wiscasset does not have a pharmacy and thus is not offering vaccinations.
To schedule an appointment at Shaw’s, go to shaws.com/covid-19.
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.
Those who need help scheduling a vaccination appointment can call a community vaccination line at 1-888-445-4111.
Amelia Arnold, of Community Pharmacies, which has a location in Waldoboro, said Tuesday, March 30 that she is hopeful that distribution of vaccine to smaller independent pharmacies will begin in the near future.
“We are encouraged by President Biden’s announcement that he is instructing his team to open up vaccination sites to 40,000 independent pharmacies. As the vaccine supply increases, we are confident we will be allocated supply and have vaccine available soon,” Arnold said.
She said at that time, anyone eligible will be able to register to receive a vaccine from Community Pharmacies.
Arnold addressed a Facebook post on March 19 from the Waldoboro location that said people can sign up for a vaccination. She said this was only meant to distribute some doses left over from an allocation the pharmacy received for long-term care and senor living facilities.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 30, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 61,462.72.
The latest census data for Lincoln County lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 21,287, or 38.38%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 7,995, or 23.08%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data. A total of 21,287 doses of vaccine have been administered.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 23, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 657 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 563 confirmed cases and 94 probable. This is an increase of 25 cases from last week, up from 19 the week before.
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, 44, up from 35 last week.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the second-lowest case rate in the state, after Waldo County, at 191.3 per 10,000 people.
The number of hospitalizations held at 18.
Cases of COVID-19 have also been reported at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta, Miller School in Waldoboro, and Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.
On Tuesday, March 30, GSB sent a letter to parents and guardians informing them that the Maine CDC considers the school in “outbreak status for COVID-19.”
“An outbreak means that there are three or more cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period that are epidemiologically linked, whether transmission occurred in or out of school,” the letter said.
GSB will not alter its full-time in-person instruction schedule as a result of the outbreak.
Miller School announced two COVID-19 cases associated with the school on Tuesday. The school said that a lack of available substitutes would necessitate remote learning for the remainder of the week with a return to school on Monday, April 5
LA announced one COVID-19 case associated with the school on Thursday, March 25, and said its hybrid schedule would not change as a result.
The letter reminded parents and students that COVID-19 cases are “on the rise” in Lincoln County and of the need to remain vigilant.
“We all hope for continued hybrid learning, an uninterrupted spring sports season, and in-person graduation events for the Class of 2021. To accomplish these things we must all work together and remain vigilant: wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance,” the letter said.
According to an online dashboard maintained by the Maine CDC, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services that is current as of Thursday, March 25, there have been less than five COVID-19 cases identified in the past 30 days at each one of seven different schools in Lincoln County.
The schools listed as having less than five cases in the past 30 days are GSB, Jefferson Village School, Boothbay Region Elementary School, Boothbay Region High School, The Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Miller School and Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, and Wiscasset Middle High School.
None of the schools are listed as having an open outbreak since the data is only updated weekly at 4 p.m. on Thursdays.
Martins, of LincolnHealth, said by email that the “trend of more new cases continues, with positive percentages rising slightly” at the Respiratory Care Clinic on the hospital’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta.
“While the percentage of fully vaccinated people in Lincoln County continues to rise, it is important to avoid complacency when it comes to preventing the disease from spreading,” Timothy Fox, chief medical officer for LincolnHealth, said by email. “Many states, including Maine, have seen an increase in cases over the last month, and we still need to do our part by wearing our masks, washing our hands, avoiding large gatherings and practicing social distancing.”
“The best way for all of us to protect ourselves and others is to get vaccinated when you are eligible,” Fox said.
LincolnHealth conducted 490 COVID-19 tests in the period from March 22-28 with a positivity rate of 3.88%, the highest it has been since the beginning of February.
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 2.4%, down from 1.03% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average positivity rate for March 19-25 is 4.7%, up from 4.2% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 50,504 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,532 from the week before. Of those cases, 11,793 are probable.
There have been 1,669 hospitalizations and 12,963 people have completed isolation. There have been 743 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 12 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 377.3 per 10,000 people, up from 354.8 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 3,021.