LincolnHealth saw its one-week total for positive cases cross 200 for the first time last week, according to LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins.
Of the 1,174 tests conducted during the last week, there were 221 positive cases for a positivity rate of 18.82%, up from 16.2% the week prior. This new high is 11.52% above the average positivity rate in 2021 (7.3%).
Of those positive cases, 126, or 57%, were fully vaccinated. Cases in those under the age of 18 rose to 52, up from 35 the week prior.
Martins said that the testing data for fully vaccinated individuals does not include booster shots, and he noted that research has shown that boosters are extremely effective against COVID-19.
As a result of these consistent, record-high positivity rates across the state, the availability of in-patient beds in the MaineHealth system is “nonexistent;” Martins said. LincolnHealth had the only available in-patient bed across the system on Jan. 3. The hospital had to reschedule some procedures due to the lack of an available bed.
Martins said there is currently no capacity to do confirmatory tests at LincolnHealth following positive at-home tests. Those who test positive with an at-home test should quarantine for five days, with a test on day five if they are not symptomatic. Those who test positive again should finish out a full 10-day quarantine (an additional five days).
LincolnHealth will be expanding its booster shot availability and adding walk-in hours at the Watson Health Center, and details will be shared on LincolnHealth’s Facebook page. There is availability in the center’s schedule this week for booster appointments.
Booster appointments can be made at vaccine.mainehealth.org or by calling 877-780-7545. Those registering will need to provide the date of their final COVID-19 shot.
Those who received a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months after their initial series. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
On Nov. 2, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Pfizer’s vaccine for children is available in a two-dose series and is administered in a lower dose than the vaccine for adolescents and adults. Just like adults, doses will be administered 21 days apart.
Pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations are now available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Lincoln Medical Partners Primary Care Office in Damariscotta. Pediatric patients do not need to schedule special appointments.
According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data through Jan. 3, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 2,941 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 2,488 confirmed cases and 453 probable.
There have been two COVID-19-related deaths in the last week, raising the total to 13 in the county.
According to a graph maintained by the Bangor Daily News, masking is recommended in Lincoln County and every other county in Maine. The U.S. CDC 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 Dec. 28, 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 204,279.89.
The number does not represent fully vaccinated individuals and, since the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both require two doses, the number can be higher than 100,000.
The census data for Lincoln County provided by the Maine CDC lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 25,886, or 74.74%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 26,543, or 76.64%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 67,586 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 931 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.
There have been 15,157 additional or booster shots given to Lincoln County residents, up 719 doses from last week.
The vaccine is being provided through all of LincolnHealth’s primary care practices, as well as a booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
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 13.67%, up from 9.83% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 148,217 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 3,679 from the week before. Of those cases, 40,909 are probable.
There have been 3,453 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,556 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 46 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 1,107.4 per 10,000 people, up from 1,079.9 last week.
On Jan. 4, Maine reported 1,477 new cases since Jan. 1 along with 25 additional deaths.