LEWISTON — Thirty-seven people have tested positive at 13 John F. Murphy Homes group homes since the nonprofit began testing employees and residents in April.

That includes isolated cases and four full outbreaks — defined as three or more positive tests in one location. The latest outbreak, announced by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, includes confirmed cases for two residents and three staff members.

John F. Murphy Homes CEO Todd Goodwin declined to say where the latest outbreak occurred “in respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the people we serve.” However, CDC Director Nirav Shah said during his daily COVID-19 a press briefing on Monday that the outbreak was located at John F. Murphy Homes “on Marshall Street.”

John. F. Murphy Homes has a location on Marshall Street in Mechanic Falls.

The Auburn-based nonprofit serves people who have developmental disabilities and are on the autism spectrum. It experienced its first outbreak in April in an Auburn group home.

John F. Murphy Homes has expanded its testing multiple times since then, and began universal testing last week, Goodwin said. The latest outbreak was discovered through that universal testing.

Of the 37 people who have tested positive since April, 28 have been staff and nine have been residents.

“It’s important to note that many people who tested positive were completely asymptomatic. I don’t have the exact number at this moment,” Goodwin said in an email Monday. “The asymptomatic carrier is one of the reasons the CDC has supported our universal testing process.”

None of the 37 has been hospitalized.

Goodwin emphasized that his agency has tested 406 people, with 9% positive cases and 91% negative.

“Considering the size and scope of our residential programs (e.g., number of people served and the volume of essential care workers 24 hours per day, seven days per week), our relatively low prevalence of positive cases tells us that our heightened safety protocols are effective. We keep them up,” he wrote.

He said that vigilance includes mandatory masks, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, enhanced personal hygiene protocols, symptom monitoring of staff and residents, restricted visitation and minimizing where possible staff crossing into different programs.


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