ROCKPORT — The Maine CDC has opened a COVID-19 outbreak investigation associated with North East Mobile Health Services in Rockport, the privately owned ambulance service that covers Camden, Hope, Rockport, Lincolnville. The CDC has also initiated contact tracing.
North East Mobile Health Services is based in Scarborough and aside from providing local emergency medical services from its Rockport office, the company also operates in Bowdoinham, Brunswick and Sanford. It is also a transport service for Pen Bay Medical Center, in Rockport.
“Maine CDC has opened an outbreak investigation associated with North East Mobile Health Services in Rockport,” said Robert Long, Maine CDC spokesperson, on Nov. 15. “As of 11:59 p.m., November 14, the investigation included four cases.”
According to Robert Russell, Chief Executive Officer of North East Mobile Health Services, there is no interruption of emergency medical services to the region. There are 24 team EMTs and paramedics at the Rockport location, he said. Not all were exposed.
“With regard to public exposure, that is still being determined by the CDC through contact tracing,” Russell said. “Anyone suspected to have been exposed will be contacted by the CDC.”
He said: “If you do not hear from the CDC, then you have not been exposed. We are cooperating to the fullest extent with the CDC’s contact tracing efforts.”
“Through ongoing contact tracing efforts with the Maine CDC, we identified all exposed team members and placed them under quarantine,” said Russell. “However, as healthcare professionals and first responders, they are deemed by the CDC to be ‘critical infrastructure workers’ vital to the continuation of essential functions.
“This is done to ensure there is no interruption of emergency medical services during a pandemic. Consequently, they were permitted to continue working under the following CDC and Maine EMS guidelines, which we have explicitly followed to ensure public safety.”
Russell said Nov. 15 that all team members stationed at the Rockport location to obtain a PCR test, regardless of suspected exposure.
To date, the North East team has responded to 1,690 calls where exposure to COVID-19 was suspected or confirmed.
“Given that volume, our team understands that despite every best effort contraction is still very possible for frontline healthcare workers, especially as cases continue to spike in our service area, much of which has been designated ‘yellow’ by the state,” he said. “Their continued service is therefore not only a testament to their selflessness, but to their diligence in following safety protocols as these are our first positive tests of the pandemic.”
Russell said exposure has been limited to Rockport and Brunswick locations.
North East has built a central page at its website with more information about the investigation. https://www.nemhs.com/covid-19