BELFAST — Twelve of the 13 Waldo County residents who have been counted by the Maine CDC in the COVID-19 death toll were tied to the Tall Pines Retirement and Healthcare Community in Belfast, according to the Maine CDC.
The number of confirmed cases at the facility has remained at 43 for the last week. Since the outbreak began at the facility April 7, 32 residents and 11 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
It is believed the most recent COVID-19 death at the facility came May 2, based on data released by the Maine CDC.
The positive cases are at The Commons at Tall Pines, which provides nursing care. On the same campus is another building home to assisted living and individual apartment residents. According to one woman whose mother lives there, those living at The Residences have been isolated in their apartments for several weeks, and are not going to the dining room for communal meals.
The start of the Tall Pines outbreak began around April 7 when the facility announced on its Facebook page one resident and one employee had tested positive at The Commons, the Tall Pines nursing home facility.
“Our employees are diligently following the recommended preventative actions, we maintain constant staff and resident screening for any sign of symptoms, we have been restricting all visitors and non-essential staff from entering our facility and we have cancelled all group activities within the building,” Tall Pines Director Matthew L. Griswold said in an April 8 email. “As challenging as these times are and as uncompromising as this virus is, I am extremely proud of the hard work, courage and compassion I have seen in my employees. It is because of their efforts that I am confident we will continue to do everything we can to keep our residents safe until this virus is eradicated from our community.”
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah noted April 9 his agency is making the facility one of its top priorities.
“Right now, this is one of our top priorities across Maine CDC, across the entire team that is working on the COVID-19 response, and we wish everyone at the Tall Pines facility nothing but the best and we will continue to stand by you throughout this,” Shah said, April 9.
The Maine National Guard has been assisting at the Tall Pines facility, according to Dr. Shah, by helping with cleaning and sanitation, the top concern expressed by the facility.