AUGUSTA — Six cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Jan. 4 at the Maine Veterans’ Home location in Augusta, prompting a Maine Center for Disease Control investigation into the outbreak.

All six of the cases have been reported in staff members, but CDC spokesperson Robert Long said the agency and its partners took “quick steps to prevent potential spread of the virus” at the Cony Road assisted living facility.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah announced the outbreak during a press briefing Tuesday.

The Maine Veterans Home in Augusta on January 21, 2021. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Long said the CDC is working with Maine Veterans Home Augusta to conduct case investigations and contact tracing, along with other guidance as needed.

“Maine CDC is working with the facility to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment are available, arranging for testing and retesting of all staff and residents, ensuring that infection controls designed to prevent virus transmission in congregate living facilities are in place,” Long said in an email.

On Wednesday, the CDC reported 701 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths.


Josh Scroggins, Maine Veterans’ Homes Augusta director of communications, said all cases have been reported in staff members. Two of the six cases reported Tuesday by Shah were from Jan. 4, and the staff members infected in those cases have fully recovered from the virus.

Scroggins said the remaining four cases, also all among staff members, came from positive tests between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15. Those and any additional employees deemed to have close contact with those employees are currently in quarantine.

Scroggins said all of the Augusta location’s residents and remaining staff were tested Monday, and the results came back negative.

“Our residents’ safety and well-being is our top priority,” Scroggins said, “and we are pleased to report that none of our residents are showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.”

The home has already begun vaccinating its staff and residents against COVID-19. Scroggins said 80 of 95 residents and 111 of 210 staff members received their first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 30.

When asked if any of the infected people have received the first dose of vaccine, Scroggins said he could not discuss personal health information, but no one has yet received their second dose of vaccine.

He said some will receive their second dose Friday and others who cannot be vaccinated then will receive it during another administering period in the future.

Long said the investigation team will explore whether or not the outbreak was a result of community transmission, which he said is “the most common cause” of outbreaks.

Scroggins said Maine Veterans’ Home has “enhanced infection control precautions throughout the home,” including restricting visitation; screening residents, staff and essential visitors; postponing communal activities; and masking all staff.

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