Nurse practitioners Patricia Hutchins, center, and Nicole Merrill, right, wait in April for a staff person at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center to demonstrate a COVID-19 exam in a tent at the Lewiston hospital’s parking lot. Figures released by the state this week show Lewiston has the most COVID-19 cases of any zip code in Maine.

LEWISTON — City officials said Thursday they had long wanted to know the number of COVID-19 cases in Lewiston. Now that those numbers are out, they are not surprised.

Figures released by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention show Lewiston has the most cases of any zip code in the state: 203.

Across the river, Auburn has 81 cases.

“We have long believed cases would be higher in Lewiston because of our dense neighborhoods and the regular travel between southern Maine,” Mayor Mark Cayer said. “I have advocated for months that communities should be informed on numbers in our community so that local responses could be tailored by local leaders.”

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the relatively large number of cases aligns with Lewiston being Maine’s second-biggest city.

Maine’s biggest city, Portland, has seen 456 cases in its three zip codes, according to the data.

Advertisement

“We have been closely watching the statistics for Androscoggin County over the last month, where we saw the number of cases in the county accelerating and had assumed that Lewiston, as the county’s center of population, was likely where the majority of these cases were located,” Barrett said.

“We have also been in regular and close contact with both our local hospitals and the Maine Center for Disease Control to gain information and coordinate our efforts.

Added Barrett: “Given what we had been seeing and hearing and what is now confirmed, the city has been moving cautiously. Over the last month, we have expanded our efforts on community outreach and education, have been working with local hospitals to expand testing availability and have been urging Maine CDC to quickly implement enhanced contact tracing and monitoring locally.”

The city’s goals are to reduce the number of new cases and “return to as close to business as normal as quickly as possible,” he said.

Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, who has been frustrated by the pace that some businesses have been allowed to reopen, said he was grateful to finally have case numbers broken down by municipality.

“It shows that even as the retail, service and industrial hub for the county, we did the right thing as a city,” Levesque said. “Our businesses and residents applied common sense to the problem in a calm manner, and now it’s time to open fully with the personal precautions that we already have in place that are proven effective.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.