LincolnHealth saw a record-setting number of positive COVID-19 cases for a third week in a row, with increases in breakthrough youth cases contributing to the spike, according to LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins.
From Dec. 13 to Dec. 19, LincolnHealth tested 769 individuals for COVID-19 with 151 positive results, for a positivity rate of 19.64%, up from 13.6% the week prior.
Cases in those under the age of 18 rose from 36 last week to 46 this week. The number of breakthrough cases, or positive cases among fully vaccinated individuals, also rose to 58, or 38% of new cases.
Martins said that LincolnHealth continues to stay prepared for a surge in patients. Capacity remains high at the hospital, but some beds remain open and no non-emergent procedures have been postponed entirely.
“We would like to encourage people who do not need emergency care to go to their primary care physician or perhaps the Urgent Care Center when possible,” Martins said.
LincolnHealth’s Urgent Care Center in Boothbay Harbor will be closed on Christmas Day. It will open again at 8 a.m. Dec. 26.
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.
“The message from our providers continues to be to get your vaccine and when the time comes, get boosted. Research has consistently shown that doing so may very well save your life, as most of those who are hospitalized and critically ill are unvaccinated,” Martins said.
LincolnHealth is continuing to provide booster shots Monday through Friday in the Watson Health Center for ages 16 and older. Boosters are available by appointment only. Appointments can be made at vaccine.mainehealth.org/booster or by calling 877-780-7545. Those registering will need to provide the date of their final COVID-19 shot.
Martins emphasized that it is important for patients to be honest about any potential COVID-19 symptoms when scheduling appointments. Patients who are symptomatic will still be seen.
Those who received a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months after their initial series. Individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended to receive a booster shot after two or more months from the initial shot.
According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data through Dec. 21, since COVID-19 arrived in Lincoln County in March 2020, 2,603 residents have had the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — 2,175 confirmed cases and 428 probable.
There has been one COVID-19-related death in the last week, bringing the total to 11 in the county.
An estimate of the number of people with an active infection of COVID-19 can be made using the number of cases identified within two weeks from the latest data updated on Dec. 2. Active infections are at 262, up from 177 the prior week and 143 two weeks prior.
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. 21, 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 198,745.66.
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, 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, 25,659, or 74.09%, have received their first dose of the vaccine and 26,356, or 76.1%, have received the second and final dose, according to the agency’s data.
A total of 65,755 doses of vaccine have been administered, up 1,693 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 13,740 additional or booster shots given to Lincoln County residents, up 1,387 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 8.16%, down from 10.14% last week.
State COVID-19 numbers
According to data current as of Tuesday, the Maine CDC has reported 139,421 COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 6,537 from the week before. Of those cases, 39,352 are probable.
There have been 3,336 hospitalizations in the state. There have been 1,468 deaths so far from COVID-19 in Maine, including 90 reported in the last week. The statewide case rate is 1,041.7 per 10,000 people, up from 992.9 last week.
Maine reported 1,462 new cases on Wednesday along with five additional deaths.