ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — After a mini-spike three weeks ago, COVID-19 rates are back down and local health-care professionals are hoping for a quiet summer to allow them to rest and resupply for whatever the fall and winter may bring.

At their meeting June 9, Androscoggin Valley COVID-19 group members reported there had been an uptick in positive cases two weeks earlier, right at prom season. But the uptick did not result in a lot of hospitalizations and cases have stabilized. Since the group last met three weeks earlier, Coos County Family Health Services reported they administered 149 tests with 26 positive results. But last week, they tested 25 with only four positive results.

“So definitely feels like we’re headed in the right direction,” said CCFHS Chief Operating Officer Valerie Hart. She did report that three staff members are out with COVID and one was out with suspected symptoms.

Androscoggin Valley Hospital Vice President for Patient Services Brian O’Hearn said the hospital saw an uptick two weeks ago as well and at the peak, had nine employees out as well but it quickly stabilized. Currently, he said they have no staff out with COVID. He said the hospital currently sees one to two COVID-19 patients a day with mild and treatable illness. He said testing remains low with the hospital doing an additional 12-15 a day during the recent uptick.

SAU 20 Superintendent of Schools David Backler said June 9 there were a couple of staffers and two or three students out with COVID-19 across the entire school district, quite a drop from the mini-spike at the end of May. He said school wrapped up last week for both local school districts and said they were trying to make the final weeks as normal as possible before the summer break.

White Mountain Community College President Chuck Lloyd said the college is in its summer semester, which has more students in hybrid or online courses. He said their biggest summer on-site program is welding and the students already wear safety hoods and have separate booths. He said the college is opening up more and finding ways to host community events.

Hart said CCFHS has done 79 vaccines since the group last met and said all but three were booster shots. She said they were allowed to pre-order the vaccine for children from 6 months of age to 4 years old with the vaccines to be delivered once it has been approved for use. Hart said testing and respiratory clinic appointments are available Monday-Friday for adults and children. Households can order a third round of eight free home COVID testing kits at covid.gov/tests.

While the recent uptick did not result in a major increase in cases, the group continues to encourage people to get vaccinated. CCFHS is offering regular doses to kids from aged 5 to 11 while people aged 12 up are eligible for boosters and second boosters. The hope is that people will get up-to-date on vaccines over the summer to boost immunity to prepare for expected increases in the fall and winter.

CCFHS CEO Ken Gordon said the group is keeping a watchful eye on reports of variants floating around the country and reports that the vaccine may wane over time.

The COVID group decided to meet by Zoom on June 30.

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