The main entrance at Mid Coast Hospital is closed as part of the restrictions in place to help the hospital contain the coronavirus. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Three patients are being treated at Mid Coast Hospital for COVD-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, hospital officials said Thursday. 

The hospital has confirmed 17 positive cases of the illness, and 10 of those patients have been treated in the hospital. Of those, six have been discharged and one was transferred to another medical facility, said Judy Kelsh, senior director of marketing communications. She did not disclose whether any of the patients have been placed on ventilators, citing privacy concerns. 

Hospital officials announced the area’s first positive case March 18. The hospital is averaging between 10 and 20 tests per day, and so far more than 500 people have been tested. 

No health care providers have contracted the virus in a patient care setting, Kelsh said. Three employees previously tested positive “due to travel and personal interactions prior to travel limitations and universal masking of patients and staff,” she said, adding that all three cases were identified early in the pandemic, and the employees have since recovered and returned to work. 

“We know that there are several others in our community who have been tested and treated elsewhere, or furthermore not tested at all, but safely being quarantined in their homes,” Kelsh said in an email. 

Statewide there have been 796 confirmed cases of the virus, 130 hospitalizations and 27 deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases, 343 are in Cumberland County, where officials are reporting community transmission. Health care workers account for 173, or 21% of the cases. 

Personal protective equipment has been in short supply across the state and country, but Kelsh said that for now, the hospital has enough to get by. 

“We are incredibly appreciative of the outpouring of support from so many individuals and organizations in our service area who have donated supplies and offered to help in other ways,” she said.

Despite this, the hospital is asking for donations of unused N95 masks, paper masks with ties or elastics, paper protective gowns, protective glasses or goggles and nitrile gloves “in the event that the supply shortages continue to drop,” according to its website. 

Officials are also seeking individuals who may be willing to provide in-home childcare for children of healthcare workers who need to continue work and food donations from local restaurants and vendors to provide meals for staff. People can donate gift cards, meals or snacks. 

Those who don’t have serious symptoms are urged to stay home, treat their fever, rest, hydrate and isolate themselves so they’re not around other family members. Good hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces are also important.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath is asked to call their primary care provider before coming to the practice, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.

The hospital has instituted waves of restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus, screening all visitors and then canceling any medical procedures and doctors’ office visits that can wait and is prohibiting visitors.

“Physical distancing remains the best way to help our providers and staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” Kelsh said. “With a statewide stay-at-home order in place … all Mainers should be staying at home as much as possible unless they need to leave for an essential job or activity.”


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