New cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County residents dropped to 25 over the past week, down from 40 last week, as vaccinations for members of the general public 70 years and older continue at a LincolnHealth clinic in Boothbay Harbor.
According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data current as of Monday, Feb. 8, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in mid-March, 521 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 459 confirmed cases and 62 probable.
More current Maine CDC data was not available at press time.
The number of Lincoln County residents who have died from complications associated with COVID-19 decreased from two to one and the number of residents who have been hospitalized with the illness decreased from 15 to 14.
Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said by email that the changes result from case investigators determining “that the primary residence of an individual who was originally reported as a Lincoln County resident was in another county.”
Long also said no new outbreaks have been reported in Lincoln County in the past week.
Lincoln County has the second-lowest total case count and the fifth-lowest case rate in the state, after Hancock, Knox, Piscataquis, and Waldo counties, at 151.7 per 10,000 people.
After accounting for 162 “completed isolations” and one death, the number of apparent active cases is up to 358, although this likely does not reflect the actual number of people currently sick with COVID-19.
The agency says that since Nov. 25, it has not been able to follow up on every identified case of COVID-19, therefore, the number of “completed isolations” is no longer being updated.
The Maine CDC’s ZIP code data shows that case counts in Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Whitefield, and Wiscasset have increased.
Boothbay added two for 16 total cases; Boothbay Harbor increased to 20; Damariscotta added five new cases for a total of 43; Whitefield added two for a total of 48; and Wiscasset added five for a total of 80, the highest count in the county. Wiscasset’s ZIP code includes Westport Island.
All other counts remain unchanged from last week.
John Martins, spokesperson for LincolnHealth, said by email that people 70 and older can start the COVID-19 vaccination process by calling 877-780-7545 to schedule an appointment or by talking to their primary care physician.
He said that once the automated registration process is complete, a patient will receive an automated follow-up call confirming their place in line for a vaccine.
He urged patience from Lincoln County residents waiting for a callback for an appointment, noting that the biggest challenge continues to be the uncertainty of the vaccine supply.
Martins said the automated system will now begin to contact patients periodically to provide updates for those who are waiting for a vaccine appointment.
LincolnHealth is scheduling vaccinations as more doses are delivered. Martins said that LincolnHealth does not find out how many doses it will receive until the Thursday before the week they are delivered.
He said this week 900 doses of the vaccine will be dispersed, which brings the total of first doses administered by the hospital to almost 2,400.
Martins said that the clinic operating in the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse will be able to deliver up to 360 doses per day if it receives a larger allotment of vaccine.
Guardian, an outside vendor, administered 20 first doses, 16 to employees and six to residents, and 87 second doses at Cove’s Edge long-term care facility in the past week.
Martins said that St. Andrews Village Retirement Community in Boothbay Harbor had 162 individuals receive a vaccine on Wednesday, Feb. 3 — 93 employees and 69 residents. Of those, 15 employees and three residents received initial doses.
The Moderna vaccine that LincolnHealth has been using requires a booster shot 28 days after the initial shot.
Cove’s Edge has begun to allow visitors for the first time in several months and LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus will be loosening its visitation policy for patients who are receiving end-of-life comfort care.
Cove’s Edge visitors must be screened, tested for COVID-19, stay 6 feet apart, and be separated by a partition. Visits must be supervised and scheduled in advance.
Martins said Cove’s Edge is able to welcome visitors because there are no COVID-19-positive staff or residents and the positivity rate in Lincoln County over the past 14 days has been below 5%.
From Feb. 1-7, LincolnHealth performed 470 tests for COVID-19 with 24 positives, for a positivity rate of 5.1%.
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 the Maine CDC, the seven-day average positivity rate for the state is 3.9%, down from 4.6% last week.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide positivity rate for the week ending Jan. 30, decreased from 11.2% to 9.7%.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Monday, the Maine CDC has reported 41,630 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 1,397 from the week before. Of those cases, 8,329 are probable.
There have been 1,450 hospitalizations and 12,568 people have completed isolation. There have been 639 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 12 in the last week. The statewide case rate is 311 per 10,000 people, up from 300.6 last week.
The number of active or “other” cases, 28,423, is an increase of 1,284 from a week before.