LincolnHealth reports 277 new COVID-19 cases for week of Jan. 3

Tue, 01/18/2022 - 8:45am

    LincolnHealth reported a record 277 new COVID-19 cases from 1,146 tests for the week of Jan. 3. The positivity rate also rose to its highest yet, 24.2%. Over half of the cases were breakthroughs, those who have been fully vaccinated and contracted the virus, and those 18 and under represented 72 cases or 26%.

    LincolnHealth’s John Martins said testing centers across the state continue to set records in volumes, causing delays in results. “We ask for the public’s patience and understanding. Test results are being released through MyChart. Instead of waiting days for a phone call, you’ll get the results online as soon as they are available.”

    MaineHealth patients can sign up for their MyChart at https://mychart.mainehealth.org/mychart/accesscheck.asp

    Like many hospitals throughout Maine, LincolnHealth continues to operate at capacity, said Martins. While many noncritical surgeries continue to be postponed to keep beds open at the Miles campus, LincolnHealth is one of few hospitals holding off on canceling all such surgeries. “We are, however, at the mercy of the hospital’s current occupancy. We understand this is very frustrating to those who are waiting for a procedure or have had their surgery postponed. We simply cannot schedule a procedure requiring a hospital stay without having a recovery bed available.”

    LincolnHealth is also operating at a “contingency-level” status according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, said Martins. The CDC employs three categories for staffing levels: conventional, adequately staffed; contingency, alternative staffing resources and rescheduling of non-emergent procedures; and crisis, lacking enough staff to provide safe patient care. The categories govern the protocols for healthcare workers returning to work after testing positive for COVID-19.

    Staffing levels can also be different within the hospital’s operations, Martins said. As an example, he said an emergency department can be in the contingency category while intensive care units can be in the crisis category. “The flexibility of our teams, the availability of contracted staff (travelers) and other adjustments have kept us out of the crisis category. But as the number of COVID-positive employees and patients grow, it is more likely than not that some departments/areas will move into the crisis designation.”

    The LincolnHealth testing center at 40 Belvedere Road in Damariscotta continues its operations by appointment only, Martins said. Team members are reminding patients that home testing kits yielding positive results should be treated as a positive test and patients should quarantine per CDC guidance. “The antigen tests are reliable and we do not have the staff nor the supplies that allow us to do a confirmatory test. It’s important to note the only site offering COVID testing that cannot be done at home in our communities is at Belvedere Road. The process begins by calling your primary care physician’s office. A team member will screen you over the phone and schedule a test if it is warranted.”