LincolnHealth reported Aug. 11 a jump of 20 positive COVID-19 cases for the week of Aug. 2. The 424 tests over the week brings testing rates nearly to mid-May levels; the percent-positive tests have increased to 4.72%.
LincolnHealth’s John Martins said the increase in cases is most likely due to the Delta variant. The national trend of breakthrough cases is also beginning to show in LincolnHealth’s testing as seven of the 20 positive cases were people who were vaccinated, he said.
“Their age range was 50-79 and several had additional risk factors … like household exposure, out of state travel and such … The lion’s share of those who are testing positive remains unvaccinated individuals … We are watching this trend closely.”
The emergence of the Delta variant has LincolnHealth employees on high alert with additional eye protection precautions like face shields and goggles coming back into effect. The visitation policy is also becoming more strict with adult patients being limited to one visitor per day and pediatric patients two visitors. There is still no time limit on visits and visiting hours remain from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Last week’s vaccination requirements for MaineHealth’s care team members have initiated morning meeting sessions where employees can openly discuss concerns with LincolnHealth physicians and a series of clinics just for team members has been created to make for better access, Martins said. MaineHealth is also holding a question and answer session about the vaccine with Chief Health Improvement Officer, Dr. Dora-Anne Mills. Mills was the longtime director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and is a former pediatrician familiar with public health and vaccines.