A total of 17 people — including four Mainers — who are affiliated with the Woodland Pulp paper mill in Baileyville have now tested positive for the coronavirus as part of an outbreak tied to the facility.
The infected individuals include mill workers, their household members and out-of-state contractors who worked at the plant, according to a spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency first announced that cases had been tied to the plant late last week, when one Mainer tested positive in addition to six others from Louisiana and New York.
Scott Beal, the facility’s environmental and security manager, said on Saturday that at least 13 cases had been detected at a company that recently provided mechanical maintenance for the mill.
It’s the second outbreak connected to a paper mill in a rural section of Maine in recent weeks. At least 24 cases have now been detected in an outbreak at the ND Paper mill in Rumford since it was discovered in mid-September. One employee died after testing positive, and the virus has recently been surging in Oxford County.
The new cases associated with Woodland Pulp also come as Washington County is now seeing its own small uptick of the virus. Of the 20 cases that have been detected in the Down East county since the start of the pandemic, five of them — a quarter of the total — have been discovered just in the last two weeks.
Calais Regional Hospital has been working to test the 400 workers at the Baileyville mill for the coronavirus, according to its Facebook page. It has also tested 285 other people who came to the hospital in the last week.
The Maine CDC has also announced a new COVID-19 outbreak at an assisted living facility called the Meadows in the Androscoggin County town of Greene. Four residents and one employee of the center have now tested positive for the disease.
Androscoggin County is another area of the state where health officials have raised concerns about rising case numbers in recent weeks.