News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 7, 2021
Isolated COVID-19 case at Island Nursing Home
Breakthrough case shows no symptoms

The Island Nursing Home suspended visits and group activities on April 28 after one resident tested positive for COVID-19 on April 28 at the hospital emergency room, according to Matthew Trombley, the nursing home’s executive director.

The resident had been vaccinated and showed no symptoms in what is known as a “breakthrough case,” Trombley said in an email. That person had returned to the nursing home by May 3, he said.

Breakthrough cases are people who test positive for COVID-19 after they’ve been fully vaccinated. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 breakthrough cases have been reported in Maine, and one breakthrough case has died.

Trombley said the nursing home is not experiencing an outbreak, defined as three or more positive cases. A COVID-19 outbreak at the nursing home in November caused the death of 15 residents.

Testing, testing

After the nursing home resident tested positive in the emergency room, people who came in contact with that person were tested, Trombley said, and all turned out negative. The other residents and staff were also all tested on April 28 and those test results came back negative. One resident, however, got an inconclusive test, but a second test read negative.

In order “to be certain,” the nursing home scheduled a second round of testing for May 5, Trombley said. “We will test again weekly until we have two weeks without any new identifications,” he said. If the building is then cleared as free of COVID-19, it will reopen to visitors on May 13, Trombley said.

Trombley said the CDC epidemiologist assigned to the nursing home expected the positive COVID-19 case to be an isolated incident. Other nursing home facilities throughout Maine have also had breakthrough cases, the epidemiologist told Trombley.

As of April 29, all residents except five had been vaccinated, Trombley said.