Putnam House closes in Houlton following COVID exposure

HOULTON, Maine — A popular gathering spot for senior citizens has temporarily closed its doors after one of its patrons tested positive for COVID-19.

The Putnam House Senior Center, located at 48 Court St. in Houlton, is closed until further notice, Jane Torres, vice president for the board of directors, said Tuesday. The group has contacted the Maine Center for Disease Control to seek guidance on what their next step should be.

“We just found out one of our regulars tested positive,” Torres explained. “That person was in the building last Thursday (Nov. 12), so we have alerted everyone who may have come in contact with that individual.”

The Putnam House Senior Center is a small, residential building where seniors can gather to play games, do puzzles, cook and socialize with one another in a friendly environment. The facility opened in April 2018.

There is no supervisor on site when seniors are visiting the center. In fact, some of the regular visitors have keys to the building and simply let themselves in to make a pot of tea or coffee and prepare games to play with friends.

“We encourage everyone that attends to wear masks when they are at the center,” Torres added. “But everyone that is there are adults and make their own decisions.”

Torres said the board of directors plans to sanitize the building for a potential re-opening, but for the time being the center will be closed.

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