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Maine CDC Announces COVID-19 Outbreak Investigations at Two County Hospitals

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 7:02 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - An outbreak investigation has been opened at Northern Maine Medical Center by the Maine CDC.

“Today we stand right now with 10 employees who have tested positive and four patients that have been confirmed. At this point we have immediately isolated all the patients and removed the non COVID patients from those areas as well. We’ve quarantined staff that had close contact with these patients.”

Alain Bois, Chief Operating Officer for Northern Maine Medical Center says given those numbers, staffing is still in good shape.

“We had a surge plan available that we deployed and modified in some cases because we’re not at volumes that are extravagant. So we’ve been able to manage decently. So, overall, we’ve done okay and nothing that has put the quality of care or safety of anybody at risk.”

Bois says they are unsure of how the outbreak started.

“If they were an asymptomatic employee or if they were a patient that originally tested negative that converted to positive… we’re not quite sure but we’re continuing to investigate this case. I guess this brings the emphasis that despite us having all the best practices in place of screening visitors, testing patients, screening our employees… this is a very dangerous and contagious virus that can spread very quickly.”

He adds daily in-house testing of both staff and patients will continue. 

The Maine CDC also launched an investigation into an outbreak at AR Gould.  In a statement from Greg LaFrancois, President of AR Gould Hospital, “There has been an incident of four COVID-positive cases identified in our Northern Light Heart and Lung practice in Presque Isle.  These individuals are all employees of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital.  The hospital’s strong screening and testing protocols resulted in quick detection of these cases, limiting the exposure to patients and other employees.”

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