Cases of COVID-19 at a Belfast long-term care facility have nearly doubled, and a new outbreak has been identified at a nursing home in Augusta, according to the latest update from the Maine CDC.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Tall Pines Healthcare in Belfast. That's a jump from the 13 cases reported Thursday. The Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, Dr. Nirav Shah says both residents and staff have become ill.
"Of the 22 cases, 19 are residents, three are staff."
The executive director of Tall Pines told Maine Public Thursday that the cases were contained in the 53-bed long term care facility and that two residents had died. Shah says every resident and employee at Tall Pines has been tested, and it's unclear at this point how the outbreak started.
"But based on data that the U.S. CDC has published looking at other long-term care facility outbreaks, the two most likely candidates are a visitor or, in some cases, an employee who may have brought it in, even if that employee or visitor wasn't showing symptoms."
In addition to Tall Pines, the Maine CDC has identified another outbreak at an Augusta nursing home, where four residents have tested positive. The administrator at the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation confirmed to Maine Public that they have cases of COVID-19 and are working with the CDC. Dr. Shah says his agency is delivering an emergency order of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to the facility.
"And we'll continue to work with them, from an infection control perspective, a PPE perspective, as well as a clinical epidemiology perspective, all with the goal of keeping all of the residents and staff as safe as possible from COVID-19."
Shah has consistently said that long-term care facilities are a top concern for COVID-19 outbreaks. Residents are at higher risk because of their age and pre-existing conditions, and because the coronavirus can easily spread in congregate settings.