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Four people at Portland retirement community tested positive for COVID-19

Spokesperson for Ashton Gardens in Portland said four people have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus at the facility

PORTLAND, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: In the above video, NEWS CENTER Maine's Clay Gordon demonstrates one of the proper ways to take off protective gloves.

Another Maine long-term care facility is dealing with a cluster of coronavirus, COVID-19 cases

Ashton Gardens Gracious Retirement Living Community is dealing with a cluster of four COVID-19, coronavirus cases, according to a spokesperson. 

Adam Bryan, a spokesperson for parent company Hawthorn Senior Living, told NEWS CENTER Maine their number one concern is for their residents and staff. 

"Our heartfelt wishes go out to all members of our community and their families who have been affected by this virus," said Bryan. "Our top priority at Ashton Gardens Gracious Retirement Living is ensuring the health and safety of all those who live and work in our community."

Bryan said the last time a person tested positive at Ashton Gardens was April 2. 

The retirement community has had preparedness protocols in place since the start of the coronavirus spread, according to Bryan. 

"In early March, Ashton Gardens Gracious Retirement Living proactively implemented a leveled response program to address the increased spread of COVID-19," said Bryan. "On March 14, we elevated virus control measures within our communities, which includes very specific and extensive disinfecting protocols, incorporates further safety protocols applied to food services, and prohibits any non-essential visitation. These protocols were further enhanced at Ashton Gardens on March 27 when residents were asked to shelter in their apartments. These enhanced protocols remain in place, and all actions we've taken have been made with our residents' health and well-being at the forefront."

Social Distancing Video

Maine Center for Disease Control Spokesperson Robert Long said they have been in constant contact with Ashton Gardens since the beginning of the pandemic. 

"Maine CDC has been working with Ashton Gardens since last month, as Dr. Shah acknowledged in his March 29 briefing."

Maine officials have been concerned about long-term care facilities for some time. 

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine's CDC director, gave an update on the five outbreaks at long-term care facilities during Friday's briefing:

  • Tall Pines in Waldo County: There has been an increase of two residents who have tested positive, bringing the total to 28. Ten staff members have tested positive, an increase of one. There is a total of 38 confirmed cases at the facility. Five individuals have died. 
  • Falmouth by the Sea in Falmouth: There are currently three residents and one staff member with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Maine CDC delivered an emergency order of PPE to the facility on Thursday.
  • Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation: A total of 70 individuals have COVID-19: 46 residents and 24 staff members. Two individuals have died. 
  • The Cedars in Portland: There are four new cases among residents for a total of seven. Three staff members have tested positive. 
  • Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough: 28 residents have tested positive, no increase since Thursday; 14 staff members, an increase of one. There have been two deaths due to COVID-19.

All told, there are 164 people among residents and staff of the five long-term care facilities that have COVID-19. Maine CDC continues to investigate those outbreaks.

Long also pointed out that the Ashton Garden's case is unlike some other long-term care facilities. 

"The cases cited Friday by the management at Ashton Gardens are in separate residential units, not a congregate setting, which makes the situation there a cluster, not an outbreak," said Long. "That's a significant difference, as the epidemiological implications and response to each are very different."

Bryan said Saturday that any residents or staff that are showing symptoms are being tested for COVID-19. Residents have been asked to shelter in their apartments to attempt to slow the spread within the facility, according to Bryan.

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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