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Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office confirms COVID-19 outbreak with 6 cases among staff

Sheriff Troy Morton said “several” staff members have been removed from duty out of an abundance of caution
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said in a release Tuesday that after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result involving a correctional officer over the weekend, further testing revealed six total cases among staff.

“Through contract tracing, and out of an abundance of caution, several staff members were removed from duty,” Sheriff Troy Morton said in a release.

Morton said over the past five days, 32 inmates have tested negative for COVID-19, and a total of 73 inmates have tested negative in the past three weeks.

He said contact tracing “has not disclosed any close contacts with inmates.”

In light of the positive cases among staff, new arrestees and court commitments will be diverted, per the Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 plan.

Morton said the Maine CDC and the Department of Corrections were involved before the outbreak was classified. The Maine CDC classifies an outbreak as three or more related cases.

The sheriff says COVID-19 screening, testing, quarantine, and health precautions such as wearing personal protective equipment continue to be in place.

So far, 49 percent of corrections staff have volunteered to receive the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Morton said. Second doses will be administered after next week.

Morton said, “All precautions and practices are being utilized to prevent any further potential exposure.”