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Health and health care news

Another beach is closed emporarily because of E. coli contamination.

More than 100 experts on aging are in Portland this week for a summit on rural seniors and isolation.

Jess Maurer, the executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, says Maine needs to do a better job making sure seniors are socially connected.

The board of Central Maine Healthcare has affirmed its support of CEO Jeff Brickman after medical staff at its three member hospitals recently took no-confidence votes.

Chair Deborah Dunlap Avasthi issued an email to staff Wednesday, saying the board has also amended the organization's bylaws to allow medical staff to have a more active role in governance.

AP Photo

More than 500 lives have been saved over the past 2 years across Maine using the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

That’s according to the Maine Attorney General's Office, which has provided the drug to 84 agencies across the state over the past two years.

In a written release Maine Attorney General Mills says the statistic is "another grim milestone in our state's fight against opioids," and that more can and should be done to address Maine's opiate epidemic.

For the second time this in July, the Cumberland County town of Bridgton has closed a public beach due to water contamination, but for two different reasons. The town says that a routine water test performed on Monday found higher than acceptable levels of E coli.

Town Manager Robert Peabody says the cause isn't yet clear, but ducks could be the culprit.

“Which is aggravated by people feeding them, so they are tending to flock to that area. We also know that they water level has been low for the lake, so you're not getting as much movement.”

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Four nursing homes in Maine have received the lowest possible score for staffing levels, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News.

Two nurses and a Democratic lawmaker have filed suit against the LePage administration for failing to fill vacant public health nursing positions.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to force Maine's Department of Health and Human services to obey a law passed in 2017 that requires the department to fill all 48 public health nurse positions in the state.

Sarah DeCato, who worked as a Maine public health nurse from 2008 to 2014, says DHHS is not making an effort to hire anyone.

  

The tick-borne disease anaplasmosis continues to be a concern after a spike in the disease last year, says state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.

Bennett says nearly 300 cases have been reported so far this year, which is on pace with last year’s total of 663. Anaplasmosis appears to be spreading across Maine the same way Lyme disease did a decade ago.

"As anaplasmosis spreads through the tick population, we're going to see the increase in anaplasmosis cases, and so we're going to be more likely to see coinfection."

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has filed suit against the commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections and the acting Aroostook County Sheriff for denying medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to a prisoner with opioid use disorder.

The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of Zachary Smith of Caribou, who has been in recovery for more than five years.

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Paul LePage said that he will call a special session this summer to reform Maine's child protection system, following the abuse deaths of two girls last winter.

Lawmakers have been asking LePage for a copy of his proposed bill as soon as possible, but the Governor said they'll have to wait until they finish current work.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about salmonella connected to chickens and ducks in backyard flocks across the country.

The CDC reports that as of July 13 there have been 212 cases of salmonella reported, including one in Maine. Nationally, 34 people have been hospitalized, and no one has died.

State epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennet says it is important to wash your hands after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live or roam.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents avoid using plastic food containers because of concerns that chemicals found in food colorings, preservatives and packaging may harm children's health.

In a policy statement issued Monday, the physicians' group said a growing body of evidence suggests that some chemicals currently allowed in food and its packaging can interfere with a child's hormones, growth and development.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

A health insurance navigator program in Maine may come to an end, after the Trump administration's recent announcement to cut funding for 2019 enrollment in the Affordable Care Act's marketplace.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Medical staff at Bridgton Hospital have taken a vote of no-confidence in the CEO of their parent company. A staff member who asked to remain anonymous says the vote on Monday was 20-0.

Jeff Brickman became CEO of Central Maine Healthcare two years ago. The most recent tax filings for the company, which also operates hospitals in Lewiston and Rumford, show it had a deficit of $3 million in fiscal year 2015 and $1.4 million in 2016.

Bridgton Town Manager Robert Peabody Jr. says community members have become increasingly concerned that doctors are leaving the hospital.

Recreational Kayaking in Maine

An E. coli outbreak in Otisfield has closed the town beach on Pleasant Lake until further notice.

Anne Pastore, the town's administrative assistant, said that reports of sickened swimmers were received Tuesday and that by Wednesday, test samples proved positive for the presence of E. coli bacteria in the water.

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