Northern Light AR Gould announced on July 14 that a healthcare worker in its Continuing Care facility in Mars Hill had tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, the worker had followed all facility protocols including screening and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) on each shift.

Upon notice of the employee’s positive test result, immediate action was taken to test all residents and employees in that facility. A total of 198 staff and residents were swabbed on Tuesday afternoon and evening, and all results have come back as negative. Three additional employee tests are still pending.

“The fact that the virus did not spread demonstrates the efficacy of start-of-shift screening, PPE, universal masking and other safety protocols,” said Greg LaFrancois, hospital president.

The hospital is now working with the Maine CDC to determine which employees and residents may need to be tested a second time in a few days.

“Contact tracing is being done to determine any other individuals who may have been in contact with this person outside of our facility; however, we expect that number to be minimal,” explained LaFrancois.

Based on CDC guidelines, those who think they may have had a secondary exposure (a person who has had contact with someone from the facility, but not the infected individual), do not need to get tested unless they should develop symptoms. They do not need to quarantine, although they should use safety precautions, such as masking, hand hygiene, and physical distancing from others.

“I am grateful to the community for its continued support, Northern Light Laboratory for their immediate action, and the leaders and staff of Continuing Care in Mars Hill for keeping everyone safe,” said LaFrancois.

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