Lincoln County saw 11 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, the lowest weekly increase since cases began to surge across Maine last November.
Options for vaccinations have also expanded in Lincoln County. Vaccinations are ongoing at a LincolnHealth clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor. Eligibility has now been expanded to include anyone 60 years of age or older.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email that eligible individuals can call 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.
Martins said the clinic is on track to deliver 1,500 vaccination doses this week, 900 of which are first doses.
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.
According to Amelia Arnold, of Community Pharmacies, which has a branch in Waldoboro, the state has not yet allocated any vaccine for distribution in smaller pharmacies.
She said Community Pharmacies has been involved in distributing vaccine at long-term care facilities and other senior living facilities, but does not yet have doses for the general public.
“We hope to get vaccine distribution in our pharmacies sometime in the future,” Arnold said in a phone interview on Wednesday, March 3.
She recommended that, for the time being, Community Pharmacy customers look to schedule appointments through Hannaford, Walgreens, or Walmart.
Arnold also said the Maine CDC has not started distributing vaccine to smaller primary health care providers yet, instead focusing on “high throughput” sites like the LincolnHealth clinic in Boothbay Harbor.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 2, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 32,699.08.
The latest census data for Lincoln County lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 11,325, or 21.66%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 3,822, or 11.04%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
Martins said residents should not let their guard down, even if they have received the second dose of the vaccine. He said everyone should continue to wear a face covering, physically distance, and avoid large groups.
“It’s important for all of us to remain vigilant and continue the precautions that have been in place for months. We have made significant progress in the battle against COVID-19 and now is not the time to let our guard down,” Martins wrote.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 2 since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 585 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 511 confirmed cases and 74 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, 34.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the fourth-lowest case rate in the state, after Hancock, Knox, and Waldo counties, at 170.3 per 10,000 people.
Total hospitalizations of Lincoln County residents held at 15 this week and one new death was added to the tally.
Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long said by email on Friday, Feb. 26 that the agency reported the death after a review of death certificates. Long said patient privacy laws prevent him from releasing information about the death, except that it occurred between Jan. 26 and Feb. 14.
The Maine CDC had previously reported a second death of a Lincoln County resident, a man in his 50s, Nov. 23. But the CDC removed that death from Lincoln County’s count earlier in February.
Long said by email Feb. 10 that the change resulted from case investigators determining “that the primary residence of an individual who was originally reported as a Lincoln County resident was in another county.”
An outbreak investigation associated with the Maine Department of Transportation bridge operations teams in South Bristol and Southport is ongoing, Long said by email on Tuesday, March 2. He said that the investigation involves four cases of COVID-19 and no new cases have been reported in recent days.
Long said no other outbreaks have been reported in Lincoln County in the past week.
Maine CDC defines an outbreak as three or more cases with epidemiological links.
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data, current as of Feb. 24, shows that case counts in Damariscotta, Jefferson, and Wiscasset have increased with the latest data.
Damariscotta added six new cases for a total of 57; Jefferson added four new cases for a total of 52; and Wiscasset added four new cases for a total of 96, the highest count in Lincoln County. Wiscasset’s ZIP code includes Westport Island.
All other counts remain unchanged from last week.
Since the ZIP code dashboard is updated less frequently than the total case counts on the Maine CDC website, total new cases in Lincoln County may not match up with new cases identified in various ZIP codes throughout the county.
From Feb. 22-28, LincolnHealth performed 418 tests for COVID-19 with 10 positives, for a positivity rate of 2.39%.
The state’s swab-and-send site on LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus 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 1.8%, up from 1.1% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average positivity rate as of Friday, Feb. 26 is 5.2%, down from 5.9% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 45,091 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,191 from the week before. Of those cases, 9,680 are probable.
There have been 1,545 hospitalizations and 12,820 people have completed isolation. There have been 705 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 28 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 336.9 per 10,000 people, up from 328 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 2,219.