There has been another outbreak of COVID-19 at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

Seventeen inmates have tested positive for the respiratory virus, following a summer in which infections had waned, Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said Tuesday.

A couple of inmates tested positive for COVID late last week, but cases increased over the weekend and peaked at 17 on Tuesday, according to Joyce.

Joyce said the inmates who tested positive have been isolated from the rest of the inmate population and will remain there until they recover. None of the jail staff has tested positive for COVID, he said.

In the meantime, jail intake staff and medical staff will be required to wear masks along with staff working in the isolation pod. Joyce said the mask requirement will not apply in other parts of the facility. New jail protocols have been put in effect making it mandatory for all new arrivals to be tested for COVID before they are processed by the intake staff.

Joyce said the most recent outbreak is the first at the jail in some time. He said there were a couple of inmate COVID cases over the summer, but nothing as significant as the current outbreak.


Lindsay Hammes, spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that as of Tuesday, there are 62 people in the hospital with COVID-19 statewide. There are 10 people in critical care and no patients are currently on a ventilator. Those numbers compare to the 436 people hospitalized at the height of the pandemic in January 2022.

“Like much of the rest of the country, Maine is seeing an uptick in the prevalence of COVID-19 across the state and that number has been slowly, but steadily, increasing since August,” Hammes said.

The Maine CDC expects hospitalization numbers to increase as the state moves further into the respiratory virus season with the influenza, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID viruses circulating.

“With more people spending time indoors, the opportunity for these viruses to spread increases. Especially for those who are older, very young or immune compromised, these viruses can still pose a serious risk,” the Maine CDC said.

The U.S. CDC is also recommending that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID vaccination in order to help prevent the worst impacts of COVID-19 that can include severe illness, hospitalization and death.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that effective Monday, families or individuals can place an order to receive one set of free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their homes. One set contains four rapid tests. For more information on how to order test kits go to

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