Stillwater Health Care in Bangor is seeing its first coronavirus outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic, one of several outbreaks at long-term care facilities in recent weeks as the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads across Maine.
Facility management announced the outbreak to the public in a Facebook post on Wednesday. They did not say the number of staff and residents who had tested positive, only specifying that the facility had seen at least the three cases necessary for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to begin an outbreak investigation.
The Maine CDC opened an outbreak investigation at the facility on Aug. 30, according to data provided by agency spokesperson Robert Long. The data, which was as of Sept. 9, also did not list the number of cases at the facility.
Outbreaks in long-term care facilities have grown precipitously across Maine in recent weeks amid the spread of the delta variant. The state saw 17 new outbreaks in August, up from four each in June and July. Those August outbreaks were spread across Maine, but Penobscot County saw by far the most, with six.
Penobscot County has become a center of COVID-19 spread in Maine since the beginning of the delta variant. The county, which contains about 150,000 people, has regularly seen 130-plus new cases reported daily since the beginning of September. The 164 cases reported on Wednesday were a record for a single day.
About 62 percent of staff members at Stillwater were fully vaccinated as of July 31, according to Maine Department of Health and Human Services data, meaning that 36 staff members who were not fully vaccinated worked in the facility on that date. That number is more than 10 percentage points below the nursing home state average, which is 73 percent.
Stillwater Health Care, a 63-bed facility that primarily offers short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, has avoided outbreaks even as its local counterparts have seen them. The only known coronavirus case at the facility came from a nurse at an outside agency who worked there and tested positive in April 2020.
Visitors will be prohibited during the outbreak for safety purposes, management said.
Personnel at Stillwater Health Care and its parent company First Atlantic Health Care did not immediately respond to requests for comment.