A thank you sign for healthcare workers is seen alongside the road on Route 1 in Searsport. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Midcoast residents may have been watching with trepidation over the past days as the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases have ticked upwards.

In Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties, areas with relatively small populations, the amount of new cases has felt notable. Over the last seven days, Knox County has registered 51 new positive cases, Waldo County has seen 57 new positive cases and Lincoln County has had 53 new positive cases.

But those numbers can’t be attributed to big outbreaks, according to Robert Long, the communications director for the Maine Center for Disease Control.

“It really is just that people are out and about more, and they are spreading it to each other more,” he said. “It’s community transmission.”

While the Maine CDC has opened some outbreak investigations in the midcoast, they are small ones. A few school outbreaks involve a handful of students, he said.

“It’s just spreading the way viruses spread when people interact,” he said. “We’re seeing more in schools, but we’re not seeing serious symptoms among people who are at schools.”

School administrators also are doing a lot more COVID-19 testing.

“It’s a way to zero in, to eliminate most of them from having to quarantine,” Long said.

In general, the state’s positivity rate is trending downwards. Two weeks ago, the positivity rate was 2.6 per 100,000 people. Last week, it was 2.43 per 100,000, and this week, it’s 2.26 per 100,000.

The best way to keep that trend going in the right direction is to get vaccinated, he said.

“The higher case numbers are a reflection of ongoing community transmission,” Long said. “The way to reduce it is to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Get vaccinated, please. It’s the best thing you can do, if you want to see the numbers going down.”