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32 COVID-19 Cases Linked To Bangor Hospital Outbreak

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A patient at a mobile testing location for COVID-19, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Auburn, Maine.

A new outbreak of COVID-19 at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has resulted in more than 30 cases of the disease.

Hospital officials say as of Thursday, 27 workers and five patients had tested positive for the virus.

But spokesman Robert Potts told the Bangor Daily News that at least some of the infected workers were exposed outside of the hospital. And state CDC director Nirav Shah says that such an outbreak in a medical setting demonstrates how aggressive the virus can be.

But in a CDC briefing today Friday, Shah said that does not mean that the personal protective equipment used in hospitals is ineffective.

“So one of the questions that our teams ask is, ‘How rigorous was PPE being used?’ Was it possible, for example, that staff members were congregating outside of the hospital without wearing their masks and PPE, because they were hanging out together or having dinner together, and transmitted it that way?” he says.

Hospital officials say patients diagnosed with the coronavirus are being quarantined in a surgical recovery unit. As of Thursday, state data show 191 people hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19.

Five more Mainers have died with COVID-19, and 436 cases have been added to the state's total on Friday.

In all, 18,337 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the state and 281 have died.

This story will be updated.