Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

More than 30 people have been sickened with the coronavirus in connection with a new outbreak at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, the Bangor hospital announced Friday. 

As of Thursday evening, 27 workers and five patients at EMMC had tested positive for the virus, and the hospital is now quarantining patients in an inpatient surgical post-operative unit of the hospital for 14 days, according to EMMC spokesperson Robert Potts.

Potts said that a “higher prevalence” of positive tests have come from that unit — known as Merritt 3 — over the past week, as the hospital increased its testing for COVID-19 there. Potts said that some infected workers had been exposed to the virus outside of work while in the community. 

It’s unlikely a patient who came to the hospital for a test or outpatient appointment would have been in the post-operative unit, Potts added. 

The outbreak comes as EMMC and numerous other Maine hospitals have been treating record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 patients in recent days, and as the hospital administered its first vaccine doses to frontline staff this week. 

The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients at EMMC reached a new single-day high of 38 on Thursday, up from just 21 last Sunday. The average number of COVID-19 inpatients at the hospital each day over the last week was 27.

A number of other Maine hospitals have seen outbreaks during the pandemic. York Hospital is in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak that had grown to nearly 50 cases earlier this week among staff and patients connected to the hospital’s medical-surgical team.

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