LincolnHealth reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 for the week of Aug. 23; 381 tests were administered, down from 456 the previous week, bringing the percent-positive up to 5.25%.
Director of Communications John Martins said breakthrough cases represented about 30% of positive tests with six of the 20 cases being in those under age 18. Many of these cases were due to exposures in the household or were people who are immunocompromised, he said.
Aside from administration of COVID-19 vaccines, LincolnHealth staff have been busy with the required schedule of vaccines for students to attend public and private schools, said Martins. Though COVID-19 vaccines are not mandated for students, other vaccines are, such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella and, for grades 7-12, meningococcal disease. Said Martins, “We’re also developing processes for COVID-19 booster shots and planning to administer flu vaccine.”
COVID-19 vaccine clinics are still open for LincolnHealth employees who have until Sept. 17 to have their second Moderna dose or first and only Johnson and Johnson dose to meet the state’s mandate of full vaccination by Oct. 1. Many have been vaccinated in the last few weeks, said Martins. “While we respect our team members’ rights to choose, we will be disappointed to lose them should they not comply with the Oct. 1 deadline … It’s important to share how grateful we are for all of our team members and their continued dedication and hard work. Our teams continue to rise to the occasion, focusing their energies on their patients and residents and providing excellent care and services.”
While there are no new policy changes to date, several changes are being made elsewhere in the MaineHealth system due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, said Martins. Those include a return to strict no-visitor policies and suspension of elective procedures. LincolnHealth’s senior living teams continue to be impacted by staffing shortages, hospital beds are all full and the emergency department has been overwhelmed. “We ask people with non-emergent needs to see their primary care provider or visit the Urgent Care Center in Boothbay Harbor to lessen congestion in the ED.”