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Deer Isle nursing home announces it will close

Island Nursing Home officials wrote on Facebook on Monday that it will be closing in October

DEER ISLE, Maine — Another Maine nursing home will soon close its doors

Officials at Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle announced on Facebook that it would close for good at the end of October. They cited as reasons both the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle to find qualified workers.

According to the Maine Council on Aging, Island Nursing Home is the first nursing home to close since the start of the pandemic but it likely won't be the last.

"I don't have any idea what we're going to do," Jess Maurer, executive director of Maine Council on Aging, said.

Island Nursing Home has had a tough time during the pandemic, including a COVID-19  outbreak that lasted about six weeks and resulted in 100 cases and 14 resident deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This has taken an unbelievable emotional toll on the staff who are there," Maurer said.

A statement written by the Island Nursing Home board of directors reads, in part, "[T]here are simply not enough qualified staff available in a rapidly declining healthcare workforce.  We have spent months exhausting every staffing resource at our disposal and beginning this fall, we will no longer be able to meet our minimum staffing requirements."

About 70% of long-term care employees in the state are already vaccinated.

"Across the whole state we're seeing staff, vaccinated or not, walking away from their jobs," Maurer added.

That leaves fewer people to care for seniors.

We asked Island Nursing home if there is a plan yet to relocate current residents, but facility leaders only directed us to their statement online, which does not answer that.