Home Social gathering As pandemic escalates, young children get vaccinated | Castine Patriote

As pandemic escalates, young children get vaccinated | Castine Patriote


by Jeffrey B. Roth and Leslie Landrigan

The race to countervaccinate COVIDThe -19 pandemic has accelerated locally as more people get vaccinated, including young children.

But at the same time, hospitalizations for the disease are setting records in Maine. The number of new cases statewide also remains high, with 952 reported on Nov. 15 by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite what health officials call the ‘high plateau’ of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, some people are thinking of resuming normal activities. The Healthy Island Project, for example, could restart its Salt Air Senior gatherings in December or January after a 20-month hiatus.

“We have to learn to live with it,” said Rene Colson Hudson, HIPexecutive director of. “We are in a new phase where we have to find ways to live with it among the vaccinated.”

Schools face COVID-19

Local schools have learned to live – and teach – with the pandemic.

The experience of closing the school last year convinced school officials that classroom learning is much better than distance learning for most students. But there had been no approval COVIDVaccine -19 for children up to 11 years old.

Every positive COVID-19 case had a ripple effect throughout a school, according to Reg Ruhlin, superintendent of School Union 93, in a telephone interview. As a result of this ripple effect, more than 100 schools in Maine have had to close, according to the Maine Department of Education.

Then, on November 2, the we CDC approved a reduced dose Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. Ten days later, the Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital was running a clinic in the Blue Hill Consolidated School gymnasium for 120 young children. The next day, dozens of more children were vaccinated in the gymnasium at Deer Isle-Stonington High School.

“The vaccine will be a game-changer because it will allow younger children in school to stay in school if they are close contacts,” Ruhlen said. “Once we get through the Christmas holidays and the students are fully immunized, eventually we will be able to keep more children in person at school. ”

George Stevens Academy manages to stay open despite the four students testing positive between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, according to school principal Tim Seeley.

“Due to our mitigation measures and the high percentage of students and adults vaccinated, these did not cause any disruption to classes,” Seeley said in an email.


On November 15, more than 100 people received flu shots and boosters at an out-of-pocket clinic at the Island Community Center in Stonington.

People who have been vaccinated can still get the virus, depending on the CDC, but they are less likely to get seriously ill, which is a concern for public health officials. Since the start of the pandemic, Maine CDC has been monitoring hospitalizations closely amid fears that patients infected with the virus could overwhelm the state’s healthcare system.

Dr Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, said that the unvaccinated accounted for two out of three people hospitalized COVID-19 cases.

The recent wave of hospitalizations for the disease has broken records. On November 16, hospitalizations reached 275, breaking the previous day’s record of 262, according to Maine CDC.

Out of the 275 COVID-19 patients as of Nov. 16, 74 were in intensive care, leaving just 45 intensive care beds available in the state.

To live with

The latest wave of novelties COVID-19 cases present a dilemma for people emotionally exhausted by the pandemic. Some risk social gatherings indoors, masked, with other vaccinated people. Stonington Opera House, for example, is restarting indoor programming, but only for people who can prove they have been vaccinated.

Hudson is tentatively planning a gathering of the elderly around Christmas or perhaps January, the first since March 2020. She is working on a protocol to keep people safe, she said.

“Our older Islanders feel so much social isolation,” Hudson said in a HIP Zoom conference breakfast. “They have their boosters,” she said. “They are willing to take the risk.