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York County Jail says Maine CDC has released the jail from COVID-19 outbreak status

A staff member of the jail attended a wedding and reception in Millinocket on Aug. 7, which then became linked to at least 177 cases across the state.

ALFRED, Maine — According to the York County Jail, the Maine CDC has released the jail from outbreak status as of October 12. The jail said no inmates are currently receiving medical treatment and all staff have returned to duty.

A staff member of the York County Jail attended a wedding and reception in Millinocket on Aug. 7. That wedding and reception then became linked to at least 177 COVID-19 cases across the state. According to Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, that York County Jail staff member was one of the first confirmed cases at the jail. 

Throughout the jail's outbreak, there were at least 82 cases among inmates, staff, and family members of staff.

“Since the jail outbreak occurred in August, we have worked closely with our staff and the CDC to stop the spread of infection, doing everything possible to help inmates and members of our team who have been impacted to return to health,” County Manager Gregory Zinser said. 

RELATED: Advocates call for early release of inmates at York County Jail amid COVID-19 outbreak

Zinser also recognized other departments within the county that worked collaboratively to assist the jail as it worked its way through the outbreak. 

“Since the initial outbreak, we have intensified our commitment to follow best practices as we continue to work closely with the CDC and Maine’s Department of Corrections (MDOC) to ensure appropriate prevention and mitigation plans are in place," Zinser said. "This includes the distribution and use of recommended PPE, proper social distancing and regular testing.”

York County Commission Chair Michael Cote echoed the manager’s sentiments.

 We’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure all safety protocols are being followed and to prevent any future outbreaks," Cote said.

On behalf of the commissioners, county manager and sheriff, Commissioner Cote expressed their collective appreciation for the hard work and tireless commitment demonstrated by the staff at the Jail and throughout York County for their efforts throughout the outbreak.

RELATED: Maine CDC outbreaks update: 7 deaths linked to Millinocket wedding, including 6 at Maplecrest

There is a comprehensive inquiry underway by an outside examiner. The jail said it trusts the inquiry will provide a comprehensive review of what occurred and provide important feedback for the jail's roadmap moving forward. 

Cote, who also serves on the Maine Jail Standards Committee, went on to indicate that the York County Jail management team will continue to work closely with the Maine Department of Corrections as they have during the COVID outbreak. 

MDOC Commissioner Randall Liberty said, “The Maine Department of Corrections has been pleased to work collaboratively with Sheriff King and his leadership team during the recent Covid-19 outbreak. It is through the multi-jurisdictional collaboration and dedication of the York County Sheriff’s Office staff that a successful outcome has been obtained.”

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