BAR HARBOR — An employee of Birch Bay Retirement Village has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus. Mount Desert Island Hospital reported Saturday evening that the staff member is currently in isolation at home.

All residents who had potential contact with the staff member were tested and all had negative results. To date, the staff member’s positive result was the only positive test out of the 60 staff members and 30 residents tested.

Public health officials have been notified and “we are taking every step recommended by our state and federal agencies to contain the spread,” Executive Director Peter Sullivan said in a statement. “We want to make residents, their families, our dedicated staff, and our community aware and reassure everyone that we are proactively addressing the situation.”

Last week, at the recommendation of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all Birch Bay Retirement Village staff members were tested for COVID-19.

“We worked with Mount Desert Island Hospital to perform asymptomatic COVID-19 testing of all Birch Bay Retirement Village staff,” Sullivan wrote in a post on the facility’s Facebook page Friday. At the time, the facility had no known cases among staff or residents.

“We are continuing to monitor our residents to ensure that they remain safe and protected during this evaluation period,” said Sullivan. “We have also contacted all staff who we believe may have come into close contact with this staff member and we will be working closely with CDC on continued contact tracing.”

All staff members who have had close contact with the staff member who tested positive have been asked to immediately test again. How and when those staff members will be returning to work will be managed in accordance with Maine CDC guidelines.

Birch Bay Retirement Village includes about 90 residents living in 20 retirement cottages and an inn serving residents of 22 independent living apartments licensed as assisted living, and 32 licensed residential care suites providing care for those who require supported living and memory care.

The facility closed to the public in March as a precaution against the spread of the virus. On May 14, the facility began allowing scheduled, outdoor, distanced visits with family members who live nearby. Visitors were required to complete temperature checks and symptom screenings.


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