New cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County residents continue to stay low, with 12 new cases reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the past week.
This is the second lowest weekly increase, after 11 last week, since cases began to surge across Maine last November.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email on Tuesday, March 9 that the team at the LincolnHealth vaccination clinic at the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse in Boothbay Harbor continues its “exceptional work.” Eligibility was expanded last week to include anyone 60 years of age or older.
LincolnHealth, in a letter to the community noting the one-year anniversary of the fight against COVID-19, stressed vigilance even when vaccinated.
“We ask you to continue to mask and follow safety precautions, even when vaccinated,” the letter said. “There are many more people awaiting the vaccine and much work to be done to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.”
Martins said that eligible individuals can call or text 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
He said the clinic is on track to deliver 900 first doses this week and has delivered 6,141 doses total since the clinic opened in January. Of those doses, 4,200 are first doses and 1,941 are second doses.
Martins said that LincolnHealth is currently in the process of finalizing plans to prioritize teachers for vaccination, per new guidelines from Gov. Janet Mills, and will start with teachers 60 years of age and up later in the week.
“The details are being finalized, but we will likely expand the clinic and offer some hours on Saturday,” Martins wrote.
According to a database maintained by the Maine CDC, 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.
Amelia Arnold, of Community Pharmacies, which has a branch in Waldoboro, has said the state has not yet allocated any vaccine for distribution in smaller pharmacies.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 9, Lincoln County has a “high” rate of doses administered per 100,000 residents relative to other counties in the state at 40,315.87.
The latest census data for Lincoln County lists a population of 34,634. Of those residents, 13,963, or 26.20%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 4,889, or 14.12%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
According to Maine CDC data current as of Tuesday, March 9 since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March 2020, 597 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 519 confirmed cases and 78 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, 23.
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 173.8 per 10,000 people.
Two more residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the past week, for a total of 17.
Martins said LincolnHealth will likely be adjusting its visitation policy this week.
He said that it is anticipated that one visitor will be allowed per day in inpatient areas for a three-hour time period. He also said that patients on palliative care or comfort measures will be able to have two visitors per day and up to four individuals may visit patients likely to expire within 24 hours in the new policy.
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data, current as of March 4, shows that case counts in Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Jefferson, and Wiscasset have increased with the latest data.
Boothbay Harbor added two cases to move to 24 total; Damariscotta added three to move to 60; Edgecomb moved into the 20-49 case category; Jefferson added one case for a total of 53; and Wiscasset added two for a total of 98, the highest count in Lincoln County. Wiscasset’s ZIP code includes Westport Island.
All other counts remain unchanged from last week.
From March 1-7, LincolnHealth performed 449 tests for COVID-19 with seven positives, for a positivity rate of 1.56%.
“Even though testing was up this week, the percentage of positive cases continues to fall for the fifth-straight week and is the lowest we have seen since the first week in November. That certainly is a positive trend,” Martins said.
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 1.1%, the same as last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seven-day average positivity rate as of March 5 is 4.5%, down from 5.2% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 46,254 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,163 from the week before. Of those cases, 10,152 are probable.
There have been 1,583 hospitalizations and 12,864 people have completed isolation. There have been 723 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 18 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 345.6 per 10,000 people, up from 336.9 last week.
The number of new cases identified in the past two weeks is 2,354.