Days after the Cedar Ridge Center in Skowhegan said that they had a positive case of coronavirus at their facility, they now say that the same patient has tested negative.

Lori Mayer, spokesperson for Cedar Ridge Center, said in an email Thursday that 70 residents have tested negative for COVID-19 and three tests are still pending; 92 staff members have tested negative and 15 are still pending.

“Our patient who tested positive was tested again, along with the entire building, and was negative,” Mayer said. “We will test that patient again.”

At Thursday’s news briefing, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of  Maine Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, said that they were made aware of two individuals at the Cedar Ridge Center in Skowhegan: one who tested positive for COVID-19 and another who has had close contact with that individual and was also showing symptoms.

Maine CDC was aware of an outbreak of another infectious disease at the facility: norovirus.

Norovirus, a group of viruses that is the common cause of food poisoning and acute gastroenteritis, typically resolves within two to three days, according to MedicineNet.


Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a low-grade fever, dehydration and abdominal cramping. The virus can be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated, touching surfaces that are contaminated or by having direct contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

Shah said at Thursday’s briefing that the norovirus has symptoms that closely mimic the early phases of COVID-19.

“From an epidemiological standpoint, the signals that we were getting from the data we were seeing, we couldn’t be sure whether to attribute (the symptoms) to COVID or a situation that could be caused by an underlying outbreak that we were already aware of,” Shah said. “The facility itself was ready, willing and able to conduct swabbing.”

The patient who tested positive earlier this week is being taken care of in an isolated room at the facility in Skowhegan.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” Mayer said earlier this week when the patient first tested positive for COVID-19. “And one that is being played out in communities, hospitals and nursing homes across the country and the world. Despite all of the preventative steps nursing homes are taking, the virus is still making its way into nursing homes across the nation.”

Mayer also said that employees at the Cedar Ridge Center do not work for other long-term facilities.

When it comes to personal protective equipment, Mayer acknowledged that though there is a national shortage, their facility is working to do everything in their power to keep patients and staff safe during the pandemic.

“It is no secret that the entire nation has been experiencing personal protective equipment shortages,” Mayer said. “As part of a large national organization, we have fortunately been able to leverage all possible avenues to obtain PPE, including shifting supply around from location to location as needed. We have also been following federal guidelines to re-use and extend the use of face masks.”

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