A COVID-19 outbreak involving 51 inmates and two staff is forcing the Cumberland County Jail to divert newly arrested prisoners to the York County Jail in Alfred or the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

“Hopefully this will allow the jail to focus on identifying, quarantining and limiting the outbreak to reduce further spread within the jail,” Cumberland County Sheriff Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said in a news release Friday night.

Earlier this week, the jail had reported 27 inmates tested positive, prompting the jail to test all its inmates and some staff on Wednesday. The results of 408 tests came back Friday showing that another 24 inmates and two staff had tested positive, Gagnon said.

The infected inmates have been moved to a separate housing unit, he said, adding that no one has been hospitalized.

The outbreak began last week when staff noticed “a couple of inmates” exhibiting symptoms, and rapid tests determined at least one person was COVID-19 positive, the jail said.

Only 42 people incarcerated at the jail have been vaccinated, Gagnon said. That represents 12.7 percent of the 331 people held there as of Tuesday. The first vaccine shipment – 40 doses, according to the Maine Department of Corrections – was delivered at the end of March, Gagnon said.

An outbreak at the York County Jail last summer infected more than 80 people.

Staff Writer Hannah LaClaire contributed to this report.

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