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COVID-19 Positivity Rate Tips 10% At Northern Light Health, Maine Medical Center Postpones Some Elective Surgeries

Virus Outbreak Maine
Robert F. Bukaty
Visitors wear face coverings, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Portland, Maine. COVID-19 continues to spread in Maine at increasing rates due the highly transmissible delta variant.

The seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 testing at Northern Light Health is above 10%.

Dr. James Jarvis, senior physician executive of incident command, says he doesn't recall a time during the pandemic it has ever been that high.

"If it was, this is still close to a record high, meaning that transmission amongst people in the community is extremely high," he says.

Jarvis says Northern Light is currently caring for 54 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated. At this point, the health system is not postponing any nonurgent procedures, but Jarvis says capacity is monitored regularly.

MaineHealth, on the other hand, is postponing some elective surgeries at Maine Medical Center due to the surge of COVID cases.

The chief medical officer for MaineHealth says MMC reduced surgeries by 30% last week, and all hospitals in its network are reducing surgeries that require a hospital stay.

The delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spawn new cases in the Maine. The CDC added 734 new cases of COVID-19 to the state’s total on Wednesday.

That represents four days worth of data, which was not reported over the long holiday weekend.

Six additional deaths have also been reported.

The 7 day average case count has risen over the past two weeks from 161 new cases a day to 316.

As of Tuesday, 183 Mainers were hospitalized with the disease, with 68 in critical care and 29 on ventilators.

Andrew Catalina is manager of digital news, responsible for editing and producing news content on all of Maine Public's digital platforms, in addition to myriad other news- and content-related roles.