In the biggest COVID-19 outbreak in Lincoln County to date, 30 people — 27 inmates, two staff members, and one contracted worker — at Two Bridges Regional Jail have tested positive for the virus.
Robert Long, a spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that the case count is the highest for an outbreak investigation associated with a Lincoln County site.
The CDC confirmed the outbreak April 27. The CDC defines an outbreak as three or more linked cases within a 14-day period.
Upon notification of positive cases, Two Bridges Regional Jail tested all inmates and staff members.
After the completion of one round of testing, 24 inmates had tested positive, Bailey said. Three more inmates are presumed positive for COVID-19 after receiving positive results from a rapid test, Col. James Bailey said in a phone interview Monday, May 3.
The jail will continue to test inmates and employees weekly, according to Bailey, the head administrator of the jail.
Inmates who have tested positive are isolating in two areas of the facility for 14 days, Bailey said. Employees who have tested positive are in isolation and will not return to work for 14 days.
Upon confirming the outbreak, the jail began diverting new inmates to the county jails in Androscoggin, Hancock, and York counties, Bailey said. In addition, the jail has suspended all nonessential services.
“For lack of better terms, the facility is locked down,” Bailey said.
In March, Bailey told the Lincoln and Sagadahoc Multicounty Jail Authority Board of Directors that the jail offered the COVID-19 vaccine to its staff, but only 10% to 15% accepted. He said Monday that the jail plans to offer the vaccine to staff again, and he believes a few more employees plan to get it.
Bailey said he “doesn’t necessarily think” the outbreak is due to low staff vaccination numbers, but “it could be possible it played a part.”
Inmates have not been vaccinated. Bailey said he is working with the CDC and the Maine Department of Corrections on a timeline, however, the jail’s outbreak status “causes a couple challenges.”
“It is in the works right now with the Maine CDC and the Department of Corrections, but it’s not recommended to get the vaccine while you have COVID, so this likely won’t happen until after the outbreak is over,” Bailey said.