Sign points to no-touch hand and wash station at Presque Isle Rehab & Nursing in March. Credit: David Marino Jr. / The Star-Herald

This story will be updated.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Nine residents and staff members at Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center have tested positive for COVID-19, administrator Mark McKenna said Monday.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the center said there had been multiple cases, though it did not say the number of positive tests at the time. Officials said they would be testing residents and staff again this week.

The nine cases meet the Maine Center for Disease Control’s definition of a COVID-19 outbreak, which is defined as three or more cases that are epidemiologically linked at a single facility. It is the first outbreak in Presque Isle since three employees of the city’s Walmart tested positive in July.

The announcement came as COVID-19 cases shot up across Aroostook County, a region that had been relatively untouched by the disease.

Total cases in The County have risen from 91 on Nov. 19 to 138 yesterday, according to Maine CDC data. There are 40 active cases in Aroostook County, far more than have ever been present, though the county continues to have the lowest COVID-19 rate in Maine.

COVID-19 has been deadly for nursing homes across the United States: 331,904 nursing home residents have been confirmed to have COVID-19, while nearly 70,000 have died from the disease since January, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of the 410 confirmed cases in Maine nursing homes, 62 have died.

The Presque Isle nursing home had begun allowing limited in-person visits last month after several months of only allowing visitors to communicate with residents through a window. At the time, McKenna said such visits could be discontinued if there was a rise in community transmission.

Early in November, McKenna said his home had strictly abided by state and federal COVID-19 regulations. He said they had a contingency plan in place if a resident tested positive: immediate isolation from the rest of residents to avoid spread.

On Monday, Maine Center for Disease Control spokesperson Robert Long said they wouldn’t report the number of staff and residents who had COVID-19 until the agency reported an outbreak investigation at the facility.

Cases at the nursing home were not mentioned in a press briefing on Monday by Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC.