FARMINGTON – Some people at Sandy River Center have tested positive for COVID-19, according to information provided by the Maine Center for Disease Control director on Monday afternoon. MT. Blue High School also reported a second positive.
Nirav Shah director said that the cases discovered were nursing and physical rehabilitation centers participated in the universal screening; one of three new outbreaks reported on Monday. The other two locations, both out of the county, involved a sports center in Warren and a church in Pittsfield.
The center is run by Genesis HealthCare, a Pennsylvania company. In a statement, the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Richard Feifer, said in an email that seven residents and one employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
The center has around 80 residents and 105 staff members, Feifer said. All patients and residents have been checked and staff will be checked again tomorrow, he noted.
“During this pandemic, we have been strictly adhering to the restrictions and a host of other precautions,” said Feifer. “When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started providing protocols and instructions for coronaviruses, we have been diligently following them and in many schools. Consistent, through public health guidelines, adopted even more stringent infection prevention measures than was recommended at the time. We also continued to follow directions from the Maine Department of Health. in an effort to prevent and minimize the spread of the virus. “
Feifer says that the steps Genesis takes include screening for COVID-19 symptoms several times per day, requiring staff to wear personal protective equipment and limiting visits.
Maine reported 84 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, but Shah says Sandy River Center cases have yet to count. The latest outbreak report came as Shah and Governor Janet Mills warned of an increase in COVID-19 cases across the state, and Shah said at Monday’s press conference that it seemed like Community transmission is occurring throughout the state. The state’s 7-day average positive rate rose to about 1 percent, much better than many other states but also twice as high as in mid-October.
Locally, the Area 9 School Unit went to remote school only on Monday and Tuesday after the district reported on Sunday afternoon an active case involving a person involved in Mt. Blue High School. On Monday, the district announced in a letter that a second individual recently had a positive result. At this point, all close contacts of the cases have been contacted by an RSU 9 employee and are in quarantine. A positive initial test result for 18 recent exposure cases while a more recent positive resulted in 20 members on campus being quarantined.
The school will continue live classes at Mt. Blue High School and Foster Technology Center are on Wednesday, November 4th. It will be Green Day, and the Cohort KZ will be on site.
Franklin Memorial Hospital reported four cases among its staff over the weekend.
Signs and symptoms of respiratory illness include fever, cough, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue and difficulty breathing, among others. Public health officials have recommended wearing a face mask, avoiding eye and face contact and practicing good hand hygiene.