A coronavirus outbreak at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham has grown to 131 cases, making it the largest outbreak Maine has seen to date in a correctional facility.
Some 122 inmates at the prison and nine staff members have tested positive, Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday. Less than a week ago, the outbreak stood at 85 cases.
The Maine Department of Corrections has said that inmates who tested positive came from two units at the prison, and have since been housed in one unit in an effort to contain the virus’ spread.
The Maine Correctional Center had 469 inmates in its general population as of May, according to the Department of Corrections.
The Maine CDC began an investigation into the current outbreak on Oct. 27.
Across the country, some of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreaks have happened in correctional facilities, but Maine avoided large correctional facility outbreaks until more recently.
The Maine Correctional Center had an initial virus outbreak in May, though that was limited to four inmates who tested positive. Maine saw its first large jail outbreak this summer at the York County Jail, where more than 80 inmates, staff and their relatives tested positive after a jail employee attended an Aug. 7 wedding in the Millinocket region that was the spark for an outbreak that resulted in 180 cases in northern and southern Maine.
Even after the York County Jail outbreak had begun, a Department of Corrections survey of county jails showed that some of the state’s 14 other jails still weren’t requiring all staff, visitors and inmates to wear masks.
The 122 Maine Correctional Center inmates join three inmates at Maine State Prison in Warren who have tested positive for COVID-19.