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Health

Maine's two largest health systems are seeing a surge of staff absences due to COVID-19 exposure

Hollie Maloney
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at the Portland Expo vaccine clinic run by Northern Light Mercy Hospital.

Maine's two largest health systems are seeing a surge of staff absences due to COVID-19.

MaineHealth says 842 employees were unable to come to work Wednesday.

That's about 4% of their workforce, which is roughly the same percent of Northern Light Health staff who had to stay home because they've tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining and waiting results.

Paul Bolin, senior vice president of Northern Light, says that amounts to 493 staff.

"That number is a significant increase. It's more than double what it was a month ago," Bolin says.

Bolin says most staff became infected through community exposure and unmasked gatherings.