LincolnHealth reported a record 221 COVID-19 cases from 1,174 tests for the week of Dec. 27. The positivity rate was 18.8%, over 11% more than 2021’s 7.3% average. There were also a record 126 breakthrough cases, those who have been vaccinated and also contracted the virus, or 57% of cases.
LincolnHealth’s John Martins said people who have had a booster shot since receiving the one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two Moderna or Pfizer doses are not considered breakthrough cases. There are fewer cases among those who have had boosters with research showing extreme effectiveness, he said.
Capacity issues persist across the MaineHealth system and statewide in general, said Martins. At any given moment, there may not be a single inpatient bed available in the system.
“On (Jan. 3), for example, LincolnHealth had the only available inpatient bed … As a result, we continue to review surgical cases that require a hospital stay two or three times a week to be sure there is an available bed. We have had to reschedule some procedures due to the lack of an available bed.”
Watson Health Center at Damariscotta’s Miles Campus will soon have walk-in hours for boosters and will be increasing its availability, though details have not been finalized, said Martins. LincolnHealth will also be offering boosters to ages 12-17 as they have recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Details will be shared on LincolnHealth’s Facebook page when they become available.
The testing clinic continues to be resilient despite the increased volume over the past couple weeks, Martins said. Home testing has become a new phenomenon and although it has been helpful mitigating the demand for tests, it is becoming commonplace for those testing positive at home to request a confirmatory test from the clinic, he said.
“Our clinic team has been doing terrific work despite the increased volume … (but) at the present time, there is no capacity to do this test. People who test positive with an at-home test should quarantine for the recommended five days. If not symptomatic, they should test again (using an at-home test) on Day 5 to determine if they’re still positive. If you are not positive, you can discontinue the quarantine per the U.S. CDC’s new guidelines. If you test positive, you should quarantine for the full 10 days.”