LEWISTON  — State health officials said Tuesday they are investigating the possibility of a novel coronavirus outbreak at a long-term care facility in Auburn.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Robert Long confirmed late Tuesday that his department had launched an investigation into a possible outbreak at the John F. Murphy Homes.

An outbreak is defined as three or more confirmed cases affiliated with a congregate living facility, he said.

The John F. Murphy Homes offers shared living program oversight services for in-home providers who support adults with development disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, in a home environment, according to that facility’s website.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director at Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to provide more information about his agency’s investigation at a media briefing Wednesday, Long said.

The Sun Journal was unable to reach for comment a spokesperson for the John F. Murphy Homes in the late afternoon Tuesday.

Shah told reporters Tuesday that 120 residents and 63 staff affiliated or associated with five long-term care facilities in Maine had been diagnosed with the virus.

Those facilities are in Augusta, Belfast, Falmouth, Portland and Scarborough.

As of noon Tuesday, Maine CDC had confirmed 888 positive diagnoses of COVID-19 in the state, of which 443 had recovered, 139 had been hospitalized and 36 had died. More than 14,000 people in Maine had tested negative for COVID-19.


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