Indiana Roddy, right, walks through the leaves at Russell Park Manor in Lewiston after visiting with her great- grandmother through a window with her grandparents, Jason and Suzanne Campbell, on Friday afternoon. Jason said his mother tested negative for COVID-19 when she came to the Lewiston facility Oct. 30 from Farmington but has been diagnosed with it since. “We can’t go inside but visiting through the window is better than nothing,” he said as they headed to their car. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Forty-four residents and 20 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Russell Park Rehabilitation and Living Center.

The 103-bed facility offers nursing care, physical rehab and long-term care. It is unclear how many of those beds are occupied. If the facility is full, nearly 43% of residents have the virus.

The Maine Center for Disease Control announced the outbreak at its regular news briefing Friday afternoon, but staff members there were only aware of six cases at the time. Spokesman Robert Long said the CDC became aware of the additional cases after the briefing.

Long said testing is ongoing and additional cases could be identified over the weekend.

“Maine CDC’s outbreak response team is working closely with Russell Park staff to arrange further testing, provide adequate personal protective equipment, and to ensure that appropriate infection protocols are in place,” he said.

Russell Park referred media questions about the outbreak to its owner, North Country Associates in Lewiston. North Country’s chief operating officer, Mary Jane Richards, released a statement Friday that said, in part, that Russell Park discovered the outbreak Tuesday and that most people there with the virus have had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.


The statement also detailed some of the steps Russell Park has taken to stop the spread of the virus, including working with the CDC, testing all residents and staff and monitoring for symptoms. It also said the facility is isolating or grouping residents who have tested positive “as able” and it is “providing comfort and encouragement to residents.”

“These infection control measures were paired with appropriate (p)ersonal (p)rotective (e)quipment to residents and staff,” the statement read.

Richards did not respond to follow-up questions, including how many staff and residents are at Russell Park and whether the facility had closed to visitors.

During the briefing, CDC Director Nirav Shah also noted that Maine recorded its highest daily case count Friday with 184 cases and that the Maine CDC is following eight outbreaks at long-term care facilities, including Russell Park.

Shah emphasized that individual cases of community transmission can fuel such outbreaks, putting health care workers, patients and elderly Mainers at risk.

“Every case today can be an outbreak tomorrow,” he said.

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