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BELFAST, Maine — A coronavirus outbreak at a Belfast retirement community is worsening, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ten residents and three staff members at Tall Pines Retirement and Health Care Community have tested positive for COVID-19, Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, said during a Thursday update, adding that the Belfast facility has become a focus for the agency.
“Congregate living facilities are one of our highest areas of concern,” Shah said, noting that 43 out of the 560 cases in the state have originated at care facilities, homeless shelters and other communal-type residences. “As soon as we get wind of something happening of this nature, we’re immediately on the phone with them.”
The number of confirmed cases at Tall Pines continues to climb since health officials on Wednesday initially confirmed that a woman in her 80s who was a resident of the long-term care facility in Belfast had died after testing positive for the virus. Three other residents had tested positive on Wednesday, along with a staff member. By Thursday, the number of infected patients linked to Tall Pines had risen to 10 residents and three staff members.
“It’s a very challenging time,” Matt Griswold, executive director of Tall Pines, which has 64 residents in two facilities, told the BDN Wednesday. “What’s so frustrating is that [the virus] is just like a machine. It’s uncompromising. It’s non-negotiable.”
He said staff and management at the facility were doing everything they could to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, including isolating residents and taking other precautionary measures.
Retirement communities and nursing homes have been especially vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks, and most have closed to outside visitors. Older people are at higher risk for developing serious complications from coronavirus infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Maine, the coronavirus has spread through at least one other senior living community. At least six cases of it have been reported at OceanView at Falmouth.
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