AUGUSTA — The number of COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak in Waldo County now totals 46, an increase of four since Tuesday, according to an Oct. 22 news release. Three individuals have been hospitalized.
The outbreak investigation originally centered on Brooks Pentecostal Church and its affiliated school, Lighthouse Christian Academy, in the town of Brooks. Cases associated with the outbreak have also been identified in four Waldo County public schools: Ames Elementary School in Searsmont, Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast, Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, and Mount View Elementary School in Thorndike.
A case potentially associated with Bayview Manor, a residential care facility in Searsport, has been identified. Bayview Manor has completed its first round of universal testing of staff and residents with no additional positive cases detected.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) continues to conduct contact tracing. Those who may be close contacts of confirmed cases can help limit potential spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 by answering their phone if Maine CDC calls, providing contact tracers with complete information, and quarantining when advised to do so.
Individuals who spent any time at the Brooks Pentecostal Church or Lighthouse Christian Academy since October 2 should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If they experience symptoms, they should stay home and contact a medical provider to discuss appropriate care and testing.
Additionally, anyone who attended a fellowship event that the congregation hosted between October 2 and October 4 could have been exposed to the virus.
Maine CDC is separately identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed based on their connection with a school or the residential care facility.
Individuals should consider getting tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19; a health provider or Maine CDC contact tracers advised them to seek testing; they attended a Brooks Pentecostal Church worship service or fellowship event in the past two weeks. Other individuals do not need to immediately seek testing but may so do at their discretion.
Local testing options
Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) in Belfast, Pen Bay Medical Center (PBMC) in Rockport, and Seaport Community Health Center in Belfast are working with Maine CDC to offer COVID-19 testing to those who might have been exposed.
Individuals with a primary care provider are advised to call their provider to discuss symptoms and testing. WCGH or PBMC primary care patients who have been advised by Maine CDC to seek testing are asked to contact one of the hospitals' testing clinics directly:
WCGH Respiratory Health Center: Appointments are required and may be made by calling (207) 505-3040.
PBMC Acute Respiratory Clinic: Appointments are required and may be made by calling (207) 301-3040.
Those without a primary care provider may also contact the WCGH and PBMC clinics for testing, which may involve costs such as co-pays or other charges depending on insurance status.
Testing is available at no charge at Seaport Community Health Center, a DHHS-sponsored swab and send site. Individuals can walk in or call (207) 338-6900, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Drive-through testing is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Individuals in Maine who think they need a COVID-19 test, with or without symptoms, may get one under the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' Standing Order. A list of sites, including other swab and send locations throughout the state, that provide tests under the Standing Order is available on the Keep Maine Healthy website.