More than a dozen inmates at the Cumberland County Jail are infected with COVID-19 as officials continue to deal with the second wave of an outbreak that began in September.

Maj. Timothy Kortes, the jail’s administrator, said 15 people at the jail had active infections Tuesday and 65 others have been listed as recovered from the virus. Since the beginning of the outbreak, four staff members have tested positive. Two have fully recovered and returned to work while two remain out, Kortes said.

Kortes said all jail staff were tested last week and all were negative. Another round of testing was held Monday and Tuesday.

People who are infected and those believed to have had close exposure are held separately and away from the general population. Men who have tested positive are now being housed in pod C2A. The one woman with the virus is being housed in the medical unit, Kortes said.

The most recent outbreak at the jail began on Sept. 7. In October, longstanding staff shortages collided with a string of absences of short-term corrections officers, all but crippling the facility’s ability to operate and nearly shutting it down. The county declared a state of emergency and the jail stopped taking in people who were arrested. But the jail reopened in the third week of October after the staffing situation stabilized.

New infections emerged Nov. 7, and nearly two weeks later, 34 inmates and one staffer tested positive.

Kortes said Tuesday that 94 percent of jail staff have shown proof of vaccination. The Maine Department of Corrections reported last week that nearly 82 percent of adults and 54 percent of juveniles housed at correctional facilities have been fully vaccinated.

Cumberland County is not alone in dealing with a recent outbreak. An outbreak at the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta prompted the county sheriff to alert local law enforcement agencies that the jail would temporarily limit the number of inmates it accepted.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.