Belfast’s Tall Pines records new COVID-19 case, two new deaths

Wed, 04/22/2020 - 2:00pm

    BELFAST — The number of COVID-19 cases at the Tall Pines Retirement and Healthcare Community in Belfast has increased by one to a total of 40, according to the Maine CDC in a daily briefing. 

    At the Belfast facility, 30 residents and 10 staff members in total have tested positive for COVID-19. 

    Since the outbreak began at Tall Pines, 10 deaths have been recorded at Tall Pines including two deaths announced April 22. 

    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.

    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. 

    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.”