Todd Goodwin, CEO of John F. Murphy Homes, stands outside the main office on Center Street in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Two staff workers and one resident at a group home in Auburn have tested positive for the new coronavirus, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Todd Goodwin, CEO of John F. Murphy Homes, said none of the three has been hospitalized and one has recovered from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Officials at Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the agency had launched an investigation into the outbreak.

On Wednesday, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said during a news briefing that his agency had identified the three positive cases at the Auburn home and was continuing to investigate the outbreak and work with the facility on testing.

An outbreak is defined by the CDC as three or more confirmed cases within a congregate living facility.

Dr. Shah said Wednesday that his agency also had become aware Tuesday of an outbreak at Edgewood Rehabilitation and Living Center in Farmington.


His agency knows of two residents and one staff member who have tested positive for the coronavirus at that long-term care facility. After learning of the outbreak, the Maine CDC offered test kits to the facility for the rest of the residents and staff. Swabs from those kits are being sent to the Maine CDC lab in Augusta for analysis, he said.

Goodwin said a 30-year-old staffer who worked in one of the Auburn nonprofit’s group homes called in sick early last week after a couple of days off and reported to her supervisor on April 14 that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

She had worked in a group home that serves two residents, Goodwin said.

Two days after that staff worker’s diagnosis, one of the residents she cared for began to experience symptoms. A nurse helped test that 54-year-old resident, who also tested positive, Goodwin said. That woman was placed in quarantine at a different facility, he said. She has since met the CDC guidelines for being recovered.

“We’re very pleased,” he said.

The CDC had recommended that the organization continue with its stringent protocols.


Before Gov. Janet Mills enacted a civil emergency order last month, Goodwin said the organization had already adopted heightened disinfection and sanitation measures that included regularly checking staff for possible fever in light of the coronavirus threat. After learning of the first positive test, the organization required all staff use personal protection equipment while on duty.

On Tuesday, a second employee, who is 50 years old, tested positive for the coronavirus, Goodwin said.

That triggered a CDC requirement for further testing of staff and residents who may have had contact with those who tested positive, he said.

Both employees, who were tested through their primary care physicians, have quarantined at home since their diagnoses, Goodwin said.

The Maine CDC has “been very responsive, very helpful in working with us to identify the people that may have had contact with one of the diagnosed people,” he said.

Since the third positive diagnosis, the CDC has distributed test kits to the facility, which plans to have its nurses test 14 additional people ranging in age from 21 to 62 , including 11 staff workers and three residents, then deliver those completed kits to the CDC, which will take them to its lab in Augusta for analysis. Goodwin said he expects the results sometime next week.


The incidence of positive tests for the coronavirus at the facility is certainly a concern, Goodwin said.

“It does, I recognize, cause alarm, but I’ve been very, very pleased with the way that the CDC and other state offices have responded to our situation,” he said.

“They’ve been very helpful. I’ve been heartened and encouraged with the confirmation from the CDC that everything we’ve had in place today is perfectly in line with the guidance that they have put out.

“They have reinforced and indicated that we should just continue doing as we have been doing on heightened awareness and that, despite this outbreak, there is no cause for us to engage in any substantial alteration of our operation for supporting the many people that we support in these congregate care settings.”

The John F. Murphy Homes operates 37 group homes in the Twin Cities area that provide oversight services for in-home providers who support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as autism spectrum disorder, in a home environment.

Goodwin said friends and family of residents and stakeholders at the facility are welcome to contact the organization with any questions.

Overall, 123 residents and 67 staff members at long-term care and assisted living facilities in Maine have tested positive for the virus, including those in Augusta, Belfast, Falmouth, Portland and Scarborough, Shah said.

As of 2 p.m on Wednesday, his agency had reported 888 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Maine, of which 443 people had recovered, 139 were hospitalized and 36 had died.

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