FILE PHOTO

COVID-positive blueberry workers complete isolation



ELLSWORTH — Workers at Hancock Foods who tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago “have completed their entire cycle of isolation and are beginning the process of being classified as recovered and thus returning to work,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at a briefing on Tuesday.

There have been a total of 12 cases reported at Hancock Foods in Hancock, owned by Allen Blueberry, a total of nine cases at Merrill Blueberry in Ellsworth and a total of five cases among workers at Wyman’s in Milbridge. The latter two companies are at “various stages of testing,” said Shah.

Shah said at a previous meeting that in each instance, workers were tested before they began work in any factory or field and everyone who has either tested positive or come into close contact with someone who did was placed in quarantine at an undisclosed location in Bangor.

Shah also reported on Tuesday that 181 out-of-state residents had tested positive for the virus “out of 191,000 total test reports that have been reported to Maine CDC.”

The state’s seven-day positivity testing average, one of the key metrics officials consider, is 0.73 percent, said Shah, far lower than the national seven-day average of roughly 8 percent.

But Shah cautioned residents not to let down their guard.

“We have to keep both our feet on the gas and stay focused on the same types of activities that have got us here, like continuing to wear face coverings, continuing to keep physically distanced from one another,” said Shah. “These results, these latest numbers are encouraging, especially in light of the growth of COVID-19 cases in other parts of the country, including here in the Northeast. But as we’ve seen … what’s going on in other states could very quickly arrive and find its way here in Maine. These encouraging numbers could very quickly and easily change.”

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Bar Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *