The York County Jail inmate who died Sunday after a medical crisis had been diagnosed with COVID-19 during a large outbreak there, but he recovered before his death, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Dr. Nirav Shah said the man’s death will not be counted among the state’s casualties from the virus for that reason. It was still not clear Tuesday what medical crisis led to his death.

Jason Daigle Photo courtesy of Daigle family

“They had entered their period of recovery,” Shah said. “They had been deemed to be no longer in isolation.

“In addition to that, the clinical features surrounding that individual’s passing were not related to COVID-19,” he added, without further explanation. Shah said that to protect privacy, he could not provide specifics.

The sheriff’s office identified the man for the first time Tuesday as Jason Daigle, 47, of Berwick. Court documents show that Daigle was arrested in June and charged with unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs. A judge set his bail at $2,500 cash. His defense attorney did not return a message Tuesday afternoon.

A background check showed Daigle had never been convicted of a crime in Maine.


The Maine Chief Medical Examiner’s Office is reviewing Daigle’s death. An employee who answered the phone there said Tuesday that the case was still open and the cause had not been determined.

York County Sheriff Bill King has shared few details about what happened. King has said only that the inmate “complained of a medical issue” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. He was taken from the Alfred jail to a local hospital and then to Maine Medical Center in Portland. He died Sunday around noon.

It was not clear when Daigle was diagnosed with COVID-19 or when he was deemed to have recovered.

The state traced the outbreak at the jail to an employee who attended an Aug. 7 wedding and reception in the Millinocket region that has been connected to 177 cases statewide and, as of Saturday, eight deaths. Nearly two weeks later, the first person from the jail tested positive for the virus. The county launched universal testing in the facility and learned dozens of people were infected.

Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine CDC, said Friday that the total number of cases associated with the jail outbreak is 84. That includes 48 inmates, 18 jail employees, one additional individual who works in the building and 17 household contacts of employees. As of Friday, the agency classified eight of those household contacts as confirmed cases and nine as probable.

Also on Friday, York County Manager Greg Zinser said most inmates and employees who tested positive for COVID-19 had completed their required quarantine. He also said no inmates were experiencing symptoms.

Zinser has said the county is investigating the jail outbreak, but has so far provided little information about who is conducting the review. York County Sheriff William King told the Portland Press Herald that masks were not required most of the time for inmates and correctional officers before the jail outbreak.

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