BRUNSWICK — Granite Bay Care Inc. is reporting six cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, in one of the organization’s Brunswick group homes. 

Granite Bay Care offers intensive clinical, nursing, residential and community-based support services to adults with cognitive, intellectual, mental health and physical disabilities, according to the organization’s website. It is the state’s largest residential agency. 

Only two clients live in the home, and both tested positive for the illness, as did four staff members, Beth Sullivan, state director, said Monday. 

All six individuals have been quarantined at the home since Thursday. Other staff members drop off groceries, supplies and personal protective equipment as needed. 

“Luckily, the staff have very light symptoms,” Sullivan said, and are still caring for the two clients. 

The organization serves 147 clients across 80 group homes in Maine. Staff live in the homes, as clients generally have significant needs, Sullivan said.

The coronavirus pandemic has been “incredibly challenging” for all care agencies, she said, but the overall intense needs of their clients necessitate smaller homes, meaning that “when we have somebody with symptoms, we can literally shut the doors.” 

So far, six Granite Bay clients have tested positive, including the two in Brunswick. 

Two have recovered and the other two, also effectively recovered, never exhibited symptoms, but were tested because of contact with others who tested positive. 

There have now been 1,462 cases in Maine since mid-March – 1,328 confirmed cases and 134 probable cases, or individuals who likely have or had the virus based on symptoms and exposure but were never tested. Sixty-five people have died of COVID-19 in Maine. 

According to the Portland Press Herald, to date, there have been 389 confirmed COVID-19 cases at congregate settings, a category that includes everything from nursing homes and homeless shelters to large workplaces such as the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Portland.

It is almost impossible to know just how the virus made its way into the home, Sullivan said, as many people don’t exhibit symptoms. 

Granite Bay instituted policies limiting how many people work in each home and prohibiting staff from working in multiple homes during the pandemic to limit exposure. 

“We have to be very careful,” she said. “If someone’s not feeling well they are very quickly isolated.” 

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