MADISON — The nearly 40 people sickened with COVID-19 at Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center is town got the virus as part of the ripple effect from an outbreak triggered by a wedding in the Katahdin region.
The daughter of one resident now infected said Thursday the rehab center failed to properly keep people separated.
“If I hadn’t asked the questions I had we would have never known as far as the positive staff that have returned to work without a negative test going onto negative units and ultimately spreading that, spreading the virus,” said Lincoln resident Amanda Roy.
Her mom, Anna Littlejohn, is a resident of Maplecrest.
On Thursday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the total number of cases at Maplecrest had reached 39 — 24 residents and 15 staff. Six people have died.
The rehab had separated those infected with the virus from those without but family members of Littlejohn said they learned Monday employees from one unit had worked in the other unit.
“We knew at some point it was likely to get to Maplecrest,” Roy said.
The virus outbreak started with an Aug. 7 wedding at the Tri Town Baptist Church in East Millinocket and reception at Big Moose Inn on nearby Millinocket Lake. Around 170 people, so far, have caught the virus in its wake.
Littlejohn, who tested negative in late August, learned Sunday she had the virus.
“She’s still asymptomatic, thankfully,” Roy said, adding, “We call or text constantly throughout the day. There is five of us, so at least one of us is always checking in.”
Littlejohn is keeping a courageous face.
“She has a strong faith and it always seemed to pull her through,” Roy said. “And she’s more worried about us being in the community than she’s worried about being there. Typical mom.”
She added, “Her positivity and optimism is contagious so we try to keep with that but also are very realistic about what could come of this.”
Repeated requests for comment from Mary Jane Richards, CEO for North County Associates, the company that runs the 58-bed rehab facility, have not been successful.
Roy said she and her family are stressing the need for people to wear masks.
“It’s real and it’s here and it’s everywhere,” she said.