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Maine CDC Investigating COVID-19 Outbreak At BIW Amid 28 New Cases, 1 More Death

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
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.

The Maine Center for Disease Control is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 at Bath Iron Works.

At a briefing Monday, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said three cases have been diagnosed among workers who carpool together and who have participated in union activities involved in an ongoing strike at the shipbuilding facility.

Shah said testing at BIW is beginning today among those identified by the company as possibly having contact with the three infected individuals. That list indicates that a total of 53 additional people could have been exposed, Shah said.

Shah said Bath Iron Works has been in touch with union officials, and said the CDC plans to contact the union immediately after Monday's briefing. 

Shah said the CDC is also planning another round of universal testing at Sedgewood Commons in Falmouth. He did not elaborate, but at a briefing last week Shah said 23 cases had been identified at the facility.

Meanwhile, Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty said testing is nearly complete at the Long Creek Youth Development Center after a youth slated for release from the facility tested positive Friday for COVID-19. Liberty said all of the young people being held at the facility and most of the staff members have been tested.

Liberty said the individual who tested positive Friday was a 16-year-old female who had been in custody for 21 days, and who had been tested when entering the facility.

Maine's one death overnight was a woman in her 60's from Kennebec County. That brings the total number of deaths since the pandemic's onset to 105, and cases to 3,219.

A total of 2,623 people have recovered from the virus. The number of active cases now stands at 491. 

The CDC says 347 people have had to be hospitalized sometime during their illness. Shah said 31 people are currently hospitalized, eight of them in intensive care. Four are on ventilators.

The Maine CDC's next coronavirus update is scheduled for Wednesday.

Updated 2:39 p.m. ET June 29, 2020.

Correction: Maine CDC has revised some of Maine's data, including the total COVID-19 case count to 3,219 from the 3,221 it initially reported; 2,623 recoveries instead of 2,593; 491 active cases instead of 523; and 347 instead of 348 hospitalizations.

Barbara grew up in Biddeford, Maine. She earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Southern Maine.