WESTBROOK — The number of positive tests for the coronavirus rose to 35 as of Wednesday, up from the 23 reported May 8.

Twenty-two residents and 13 employees have tested positive, up from 16 and seven, respectively, last week.

The skilled nursing center at 300 Spring St. is home to 97 senior citizens and has 165 employees. It provides post-hospital, short-term rehabilitation and long-term and respite care services.

City Fire Chief and Health Officer Andrew Turcotte said he contacted the CDC as soon as the test results at Springbrook became known.

“They were already investigating it, which made me feel good about the work (the CDC is) doing,” Turcotte said. “We are in constant contact with (Springbrook) leadership and offering PPE and needed supplies for them and their staff.”

Springbrook has had safety measures to limit a potential spread of the coronavirus in effect since the beginning of the pandemic.

It’s difficult because of community spread. Regardless of how well a facility doing, there is always that chance of it spreading, which can create devastation,” Turcotte said. 

Springbrook restricted visitors and employees have been wearing personal protective equipment, according to Dr. Richard Feifer, the center’s chief medical officer. It screens employees and residents three times daily and checks employees’ temperatures as they arrive for work. It also has canceled all nonessential outside medical appointments residents.

The city’s death toll from the pandemic stands at two and there have been “a steady number of cases,” Turcotte said last week. Unlike in the early days of the pandemic, city officials no longer are updated on the specific number of cases among Westbrook residents, in part because of limited testing capacity.

Increased testing through a state partnership with Westbrook based IDEXX Laboratories should provide a better idea on the true number of people with the virus, Turcotte said.

I think either we will realize there is a whole lot more cases because of the increase with the testing capability or that because of the folks doing such a good job, that there may be a reduction in the number of cases,” he said.

“This is a critical period and a tipping point as we loosen up restrictions within the state, which is needed for our economy. What is so important is that even though the governor is loosening up restrictions, it’s important for people to keep following the CDC guidelines like social distancing or face coverings and hand hygiene,” Turcotte said.

Comments are not available on this story.