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Aroostook County COVID-19 outbreak being investigated

Members of the Houlton Ambulance Service have tested positive for COVID-19, and officials are concerned about a more significant exposure.
Credit: NCM

HOULTON, Maine — Seven Mainers in the Houlton area are isolating after testing positive in a coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak in the area, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control. 

The CDC said four members of the Houlton Ambulance Service and at least three other people have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

According to the CDC, a Houlton ambulance crew took a patient to Houlton Regional Hospital on June 13 for non-COVID-19 treatment. The next day, a different team, took the patient to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for surgery. 

As part of NLEMMC pre-surgery protocol, officials tested the patient for COVID-19.  The asymptomatic patient tested positive for COVID-19, according to the CDC. 

Also, the CDC says at least two other people associated with the ambulance service have tested positive for COVID-19. 

At this time the CDC says they do not know the source of the outbreak. 

CDC officials say their contact tracing investigation is just beginning. officials are asking anyone who may have had close (within 6 ft), prolonged (at least 15 minutes) contact, since June 8, to contact Houlton Regional Hospital at (207) 532-2900 to obtain information about and pre-register for drive-through testing.

CDC officials say Houlton Regional Hospital is offering free testing in the parking lot beginning Monday. Here are the scheduled times:

  • Monday, June 22, 2020 - Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday - Noon - 3 p.m.

Officials ask people who go to the drive-thru testing site to wear a face-covering at all times. 

Contact tracing is critical in this outbreak, according to CDC officials.

"It is crucial that individuals who believe they might have been exposed call Houlton Regional Hospital in advance to pre-register. Doing so will help avoid crowds at the testing site and potential additional spread of COVID-19."

CDC officials also remind Mainers their work is not over.

"Physical distancing, use of face coverings in public places, and good personal hygiene, including frequent handwashing, remain the best ways to reduce potential spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Aroostook County, where this outbreak has occurred, and throughout Maine."

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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