Winterberry Heights on Ohio Street in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Seven residents at a long-term care facility in Bangor have died in recent weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the facility’s parent company.

Winterberry Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care, located at 932 Ohio St., said that five of the seven residents who died in recent weeks were under outside hospice care before testing positive for the coronavirus.

Fifteen residents and nine employees have tested positive for the coronavirus as part of a virus outbreak that Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating on Nov. 20, said Robert Long, a Maine CDC spokesperson.

Winterberry is among more than 40 long-term care facilities in Maine that have recorded coronavirus outbreaks — three or more linked cases — since the start of the pandemic.

Long-term care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, as the virus can spread quickly among residents who live close together and are particularly susceptible to its effects due to their age and health.

Long-term care facility residents have made up the majority of Maine people who have died with COVID-19, according to the Maine CDC.  At Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle, which has also contended with a recent COVID-19 outbreak, three residents had died as of early Friday, while 47 residents and employees had tested positive.

More than a dozen facilities recorded virus outbreaks in November, as the coronavirus surged to record levels in Maine, increasing the risk that staff members or others visiting long-term care facilities can unknowingly bring the virus in with them.

Five long-term care homes have seen repeat outbreaks.