New COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County residents dropped by nearly half this week—with 66 new cases identified, down from the record-setting total of 129 last week.
One more individual has been hospitalized, for a total of 32 hospitalizations and four deaths in Lincoln County residents since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
LincolnHealth saw a drop in tests performed at the Respiratory Care Clinic on the Miles Campus in Damariscotta, but an increase in the positivity rate to 8.17%, up from 6.64% the week prior.
“It’s encouraging to see two successive weeks with the number of cases dropping, but it remains a little early to call the drop in numbers a ‘trend.’ As we have seen throughout this pandemic, trends situations can change rapidly,” LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins said by email.
Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3, LincolnHealth tested 551 individuals for COVID-19 with 45 positive results, for a positivity rate of 8.17%.
“Of the 45 cases, 17 were individuals age 18 and under. The majority of cases are ‘known exposures’ and often involve multiple family members,” Martins wrote.
Out of the 45 positives, 13 were fully vaccinated individuals, known as “breakthrough cases,” which have made up about 30% of the total number of positive cases identified since August.
“One thing we do know is COVID remains a disease of the unvaccinated, especially in rural areas across the country,” Martins wrote.
Martins said that LincolnHealth’s hospital beds remain full and there are a high number of “swing” patients who are awaiting placement in nursing care, skilled nursing, group homes, and other places.
“The challenge for a lot of health systems and hospitals is admitting patients when so many of the swing patients remain with us. LincolnHealth is not alone – it’s a problem across our state’s hospitals and health systems,” Martins wrote.
LincolnHealth is currently working to prepare for delivery of booster shots of the Moderna vaccine once they arrive.
Schools in the area also saw cases of COVID-19. According to a database maintained by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention current as of Oct. 5, Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro has an open outbreak of less than five cases. Wiscasset Middle High School and Whitefield Elementary are listed as having less than five cases, but not in open outbreak status.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, Oct. 5, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 1,633 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 1,334 confirmed cases and 299 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, 195, down from 213 last week and 180 the week prior. This is the first drop in the number of active infections in the county in weeks.
According to a graph maintained by the Bangor Daily News, as of Wednesday, Oct. 6, masking is recommended in Lincoln County and every other 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 140,821.16.
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, 23,413, or 67.60%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 24,578, or 70.96%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 48,772 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 552 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 781 additional or booster shots given to Lincoln County residents.
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 7.75%, down from 13.2% last week.
According to the U.S. CDC, the seven-day average positivity rate for this past week is 6.6%, down from 7.6% 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 7,509 from the week before. Of those cases, 26,550 are probable.
There have been 2,542 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,045 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 23 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 692.4 per 10,000 people, up from 665.4 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 11,417, up from 7,109 last week and 6,353 the week prior.