The Star-Herald

Death toll at 14 in 3 County nursing home COVID-19 outbreaks

FORT KENT, Maine — A 14th Aroostook County nursing home resident has died within two weeks as COVID-19 outbreaks continue to afflict facilities in Madawaska, Eagle Lake and Caribou.

The latest death occurred Thursday at High View Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Madawaska, according to a social media report that evening by administrator Nancy Cote Daigle.

Five other High View residents have died from COVID-19. 

Daigle reported resident deaths on Friday, Jan. 1, Saturday, Jan. 2, and Tuesday, Jan. 5, also via social media. 

The deaths of two other residents at the 51-bed Madawaska facility were made public on Tuesday, Dec. 29. 

Daigle reported 38 residents and 36 employees were positive for COVID-19  at High View on a Tuesday, Jan. 5, social media post.

On Sunday, Jan. 10, Daigle reported that 18 residents and 22 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, Northern Maine General said Tuesday, with five suspected resident cases awaiting lab confirmation.

Northern Maine General 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.

“I am proud of our efforts to keep everyone as safe as humanly possible, especially the efforts of the Mercy Home team who are working tirelessly to protect our residents, most of them elderly, and to protect each other,” Northern Maine General CEO Michelle Raymond said. 

On Monday, Dec. 28, St. John Valley Pharmacy held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Mercy Home where 24 residents and 54 employees and affiliated staff received vaccines.

Five residents of Caribou Rehab and Nursing Center also died from COVID-19. 

One person died Christmas Day and two more the Monday after Christmas. By Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 29, a fourth resident had died from the virus, followed by a fifth resident’s death on Thursday, Dec. 31, administrator Phil Cyr said. 

On Friday , Jan. 8, Cyr reported that all residents of the 67-bed facility were recovered from the virus and only two employees remained in quarantine. 

A similar outbreak occurred at another Aroostook County nursing facility earlier in December. 

Five people died and 27 were infected during a COVID-19 outbreak at Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center. 

On Monday, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported 868 cases of COVID-19 in Aroostook County, and 29,611 in the state. 

As of Dec. 27 — the latest data available on Monday — 858 nursing home residents in Maine have been infected with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of those, 141 have died as a result of the virus.

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