AUBURN — Of the eight people tested for the new coronavirus last week at a group home here, three were found to be positive, the head of the nonprofit said Wednesday.

Todd Goodwin, chief executive officer at John F. Murphy Homes Inc., said the latest test results received this week brings the total number of people infected with the COVID-19 virus to six, including four staff and two residents.

The outbreak was discovered last week after a 30-year-old staff worker had called in sick after several days off, Goodwin said. After consulting with her primary care physician, she was tested and quarantined at home, Goodwin said. She reported to her supervisor on April 14 that she was found to be positive for the virus.

She had worked in a group home that serves two residents. Two days after her diagnosis, one of the residents she cared for began to experience symptoms. A nurse helped test that 54-year-old woman, who also tested positive, Goodwin said. That resident was placed in quarantine at a different facility, he said. She has since met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for being recovered.

Later, a second employee, who is 50 years old, tested positive for the virus, Goodwin said.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the group homes last week after the two staffers and one resident fell ill with the virus.

The agency provided the nonprofit group with test kits late last week for 11 others, including eight staff and three residents, after conducting contact tracing to determine which people at the home may have had exposure to someone who tested positive for the virus. Staff then rushed the completed test kits to the CDC lab in Augusta for analysis.

Of the three residents tested recently, one had lived in the same home as the resident who tested positive last week. Two residents who live on the same property, but not in the same home, also were more recently tested and were found to be negative for the virus, Goodwin said.

The resident who lived at the same home as the one who tested positive last week was found this week to have been infected by the virus, he said.

As for the two staff workers who tested positive this week, both had worked at the home where the residents who were infected lived, Goodwin said. That means that all six people at the home were associated with a single group home, he said.

All of the staff who tested positive have quarantined at their homes and none have been hospitalized, Goodwin said. The second resident to test positive has been quarantined at a different home and “is doing well,” he said.

“All internal heightened response protocols remain in place throughout” the homes, Goodwin said. “We are holding steady.”

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

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.

As of Wednesday, the Maine CDC reported 1,056 cases of the virus statewide, 43 of them were in Androscoggin County. Statewide, 166 people have been hospitalized and 52 have died.


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