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Deer Isle
Web exclusive, November 30, 2020
Dr. Shah praises INH director; 3 more test positive
Community responds to nursing home outbreak

COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020
Click here to see the full COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020.

by Leslie Landrigan

Matthew Trombley, Island Nursing Home director, was praised for his handling of the outbreak at the facility by Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, during his news conference on Monday, November 30.

Trombley has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff and residents that now stands at 48. Trombley in an email wrote that three more staffers tested positive, bringing the total to 48.

“I’ve been very impressed with Mr. Trombley’s response,” Shah said. He noted that Maine CDC and a number of other agencies have been working closely with the nursing home.

“We’ve been able to work very collaboratively with Mr. Trombley and his team to make sure they’ve got everything they need to do the best things they can to keep the residents and staff at Island Nursing Home safe,” Shah said.

He said the nursing home needs staffing, testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) for a situation he called “challenging.”

Among those challenges are staff members who aren’t coming to work.

“We had multiple staff who are refusing to come in because they don’t want to work with COVID,” Trombley said in a Zoom call with several dozen community members on Sunday.

Community response

The towns of Deer Isle and Stonington put out a joint statement about the nursing home situation on Monday.

“Nursing homes are canaries in the mineshaft. They don’t cause the problem, but are a clear warning that we are all at risk,” the statement said. “Now is the time for the wider community to do our part.”

In the statement, the leaders of Deer Isle and Stonington called on all residents to stay home as much as possible, wear face masks and socially distance at least 12 feet, but no less than six feet. They also urged frequent hand washing and avoiding all unnecessary indoor contact with people outside one’s immediate household.

Rep. Genevieve McDonald also issued a press release that echoed that advice. She also thanked the Island Nursing Home staff and administrators “for their dedication to caring for our residents and loved ones during this challenging time.”