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3 Aroostook County nursing homes recovering from COVID-19 outbreaks

Three Aroostook County nursing homes are recovering from COVID-19 outbreaks that took the lives of 14 residents. 

Administrators of the Caribou, Madawaska and Eagle Lake nursing homes are reporting significant recoveries following the outbreaks, which began the week before Christmas. 

One person died Christmas Day at Caribou Rehab and Nursing Center, followed by four more resident deaths in the next two weeks, administrator Phil Cyr said. 

At one point Cyr reported 35 employees and 44 residents had been afflicted with COVID-19. 

All patients and staff members are now recovered at the 67-bed facility, and all residents who did not contract the virus and more than half of Caribou Rehab’s employees have received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Six residents died as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at High View Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Madawaska, according to social media reports by administrator Nancy Cote Daigle.

The first two deaths at the 51-bed Madawaska facility were made public on Tuesday, Dec. 29. The latest death was reported Thursday, Jan. 7. Daigle also reported resident deaths on Friday, Jan. 1, Saturday, Jan. 2, and Tuesday, Jan. 5, also via social media.

Daigle reported 38 residents and 36 employees were positive for COVID-19 at High View as of Tuesday, Jan. 5.

By Monday, Jan. 11,  Daigle reported a total of 39 employees had tested positive for the virus. On Friday, Jan. 15, Daigle reported 30 residents and 36 employees had recovered from the virus. 

Three COVID-19 related deaths also occurred at Mercy Home in Eagle Lake.

Northern Maine General, which operates Mercy Home, reported on Monday, Jan. 4, that a resident had died at the 40-bed Eagle Lake facility. 

COVID-19 deaths of Mercy Home residents were also reported on Sunday, Jan. 3, and on Wednesday morning, Dec. 30, by administrator Denise Raymond. 

Twenty-six residents and eight employees were confirmed to have active COVID-19 at the Eagle Lake facility as of Tuesday, Jan. 5, Northern Maine General said at the time, with five probable resident cases awaiting lab confirmation.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, Northern Maine General Press said that it had been nine days since routine swabbing clinics at Mercy Home had returned a positive COVID-19 result for a resident or employee. 

Northern Maine General also reported that Mercy Home was subject to a surprise state inspection on Tuesday, Jan. 5, which found the home in compliance with COVID-19 infection control regulations.

Employees and residents of Mercy Home were offered COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday, Dec. 28, administered by Charles Ouellette of St. John Valley Pharmacy.

On Monday, Jan. 18, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported 1,033 cases of COVID-19 in Aroostook County, and 33,876 in the state. 

As of Jan. 3 — the latest data available– 1,028 nursing home residents in Maine have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of those, 162 have died as a result of the virus.

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