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57 COVID-19 Cases Confirmed At Cape Elizabeth Care Facility

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press file
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Augusta, Maine.

A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been confirmed at a care facility in Cumberland County.

In a press release sent late Thursday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 57 people have tested positive for the disease at Cape Memory Care in Cape Elizabeth, a facility for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Forty-five of the positive cases are in residents and 12 in staff.

The Maine CDC says one person connected to the facility tested positive on Wednesday, and universal testing was initiated due to the medical vulnerability of the facility’s residents. Previously, universal testing was only initiated in congregate care facilities after a threshold of three positive cases had been reached — the Maine CDC says such testing can now be triggered by only a single case, citing testing expansion and revised criteria announced by Gov. Janet Mills on Monday.

In a separate statement issued later Thursday night, Cape Memory confirmed the initial case came from a staff member.

“The staff member had passed pre-shift medical screening prior to their last shift, and was showing no symptoms the last time they worked in the community,” Cape Memory Care managing member Matthew Walters said in the statement.

Prior to being informed of the positive case, Walters says the facility had no reason to believe COVID-19 was present at the facility.

“A small number of residents were starting to show signs of COVID-related symptoms on Tuesday night,” he says. “It is staggering how quickly and quietly COVID-19 moves, and its ability to impact people and communities that are taking every possible step to prevent it.”