Covid-19 cases increase in healthcare facilities

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:57 AM EDT
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - Numerous healthcare facilities across Aroostook County have reported an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Cary Medical Center in Caribou reported an increase in both staff and patient cases. Dr. Regen Gallagher, the Chief Medical Officer at Cary, says there will be no changes at this time to the visitor policy, mask mandate, or PPE procedures. She says the hospital will continue to treat Covid-19 cases in line with the infectious disease protocols already in place.

Dr. Gallagher asks that the community be aware of this increase. “There’s a lot of folks in our community that are elderly, immunocompromised, at high risk,” Dr. Gallagher says. “Even though the disease is not the same thing that it was there are still people dying of Covid-19 throughout the country every day, and those people tend to be very high risk folks that are dying, and so just being cognizant of staying home when you’re sick, trying not to share your germs with other folks, and being kind to one another in that way would be a huge help to the community.”

The Northern Maine Medical Center reported a slight increase in cases but said they are operating with their usual protocols. The hospital will continue with their regular screening procedures and is operating “business as usual.”

Additionally, some nursing facilities have also seen an increase. High View Manor in Madawaska reported six patients and six staff cases, which caused the facility to temporarily stop admitting new individuals. Nancy Daigle, an administrator at High View, stated the cause for the increase was due to visitors. “We had family coming in knowingly having Covid,” Daigle explained, which caused the virus to spread to both staff and patients. There were no hospitalizations or deaths due to the virus, and the facility will be through its 14-day window by September 11.

Despite the increase in some facilities, other hospitals have avoided an increase in cases. Both Houlton Regional Hospital and Northern Light AR Gould reported they have not seen a significant increase. “Houlton Regional Hospital has NOT been overwhelmed with Covid patients at this point in time, although we are continuing to monitor the Covid activity in our area,” says Jana Burpee from the Infection Prevention Department at HRH. “We are well stocked with masks, gloves, gowns, and all the necessary personal protective equipment.”

Healthcare facilities will continue to monitor Covid-19 cases and will adjust policies as needed.