State Health Officials Discuss COVID-19 Outbreaks in The County

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - As case counts continue to rise at three long term care facilities in the county, health officials are addressing the issue.

“Our concern level is high with respect to what’s happening in Aroostook County right now particularly in three nursing facilities in particular. High View in Madawaska, Mercy Home in Eagle Lake, and Caribou Nursing and Rehab. Our concern level in all three of those facilities is high.”

According to Dr. Shah of the Maine CDC, they are aware of 7 deaths at the three nursing facilities in the last week. . Dr. Shah says there is a process that facilities must take for CDC to report those numbers.

“Between when a facility announces to the public or to families that one of their residents has died with COVID versus when they file an official report with the Maine CDC, and then when we review that report, confirm it and then put it on our website. Just the process of filing the report with Maine CDC Can sometimes take 3,4,5 days. Especially given the facilities that we are talking about, many of which are in the midst of an outbreak. So it may take them several days… we’ve seen in some cases up to two weeks after a facility as experienced a death that they file the report with Maine CDC.

Many facilities are also dealing with staffing shortages.

“It really is important that nursing facilities do have a back up plan to help staff that are sick due to COVID-19 or any other infectious disease. We are working both to support those nursing facilities… but also to give them the tools so that they can themselves figure out those staffing plans.”

“We actually have a designated point person whose job right now is to help facilities who are experiencing staffing challenges find additional resources.”

Dr. Shah says there is at least 50 employee cases combined between these facilities… a number that could continue to increase.

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