Sixteen people at the Lewiston Police Department have now tested positive for COVID-19. Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON —  Sixteen people — 15 officers and one staff member — have now tested positive for COVID-19 at the Lewiston Police Department, up from 11 last week.

Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said 14 of the 15 officers are still out, but the department anticipates several will return later this week.

The department has 83 officers when fully staffed. Lewiston is down nine positions, in addition to the 14 officers out for the virus, because the police academy is not in session due to the pandemic.

The department has said it continues to provide necessary law enforcement and respond to emergency calls. St. Pierre said the department fills shifts using overtime.

By policy, all Lewiston police officers are required to wear masks at the station and when out in public.

The Lewiston police outbreak was one of six reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, the same day the state recorded 405 new cases, the second highest daily case count since the pandemic took hold here in March.

The state also reported seven deaths, including a man in his 100s from Androscoggin County and a woman in her 80s from Androscoggin County.

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