Leaders at LincolnHealth are working closely with the staff of the Maine Centers for Disease Control to limit the spread of COVID-19 after three members of the Cove’s Edge nursing and skilled rehabilitation team tested positive for the virus.
LincolnHealth learned of the test results Sunday after the second round of universal testing which took place Nov. 12 and 13. None of the employees had symptoms, and all are in self-quarantine. Everyone considered to be close contacts with those who tested positive has been informed, along with residents, their families and loved ones, and all LincolnHealth team members.
As was the case with the first round of surveillance testing earlier this month, all residents’ test results were negative.
It is believed that the cases are an indication that the coronavirus has rooted itself in Lincoln County, which has had fewer cases than other, harder-hit parts of Maine. The CDC has classified these cases as an outbreak, however they are unlikely to be isolated or confined to the facility as the coronavirus is increasingly showing up in Maine’s rural areas. The outbreak at Cove’s Edge was one of a dozen new outbreaks reported by Maine CDC on Monday.
“What this means is that we are all going to have to step up our vigilance if we want to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Jim Donovan, president of LincolnHealth. “This is not the time to give in to the so-called COVID fatigue.
“We urge everyone in the community to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose whenever they are in public, as well as when they are in an indoor space with people who are not part of their immediate household,’’ Donovan said. “This should be the case even when people are practicing social distancing and are more than six feet apart.”
Leaders are working with the Maine CDC on the next steps, which will include testing Cove’s Edge residents and team members this week as well as next week. In order for the outbreak to be considered closed, a facility must be free of COVID-19 for 28 days.
In addition to wearing a mask, the CDC recommends people practice social distancing, maintain good hand hygiene and keep surfaces clean. Those who are concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or experience symptoms of infection - including fever, chills, sore throat, difficulty breathing, unexplained muscle aches, new cough, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, vomiting or heightened levels of exhaustion - should call their primary care provider for advice on testing, treatment and quarantine measures.
“The skyrocketing numbers of cases in Maine drive home the importance of taking this threat seriously. Wear your mask, social distance, avoid group gatherings and wash your hands regularly. If we all do our part, we have a better chance to limit the spread of this virus.”