BROOKS, Maine (AP) — A coronavirus outbreak centered around a Maine church in the small town of Brooks is continuing to grow, public health officials said.

The focal point of the outbreak is Brooks Pentecostal Church, and it grew from 46 cases to 49 on Thursday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. Three people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, the agency said.

There have been cases associated with the outbreak at three Waldo County public schools, Maine CDC said.

The agency said it has also identified a case that might be associated with the church outbreak at Bayview Manor, a residential care facility in Searsport. The case involves a staff member. The facility has completed a round of testing and has not found additional cases, the agency said.

The church outbreak appears to stem from a fellowship event earlier this month in which masks were available but not routinely used, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah has said. Some of the 49 cases are located at a school associated with the church, he has said.

Shah stressed that the three public schools connected to the outbreak are not the site of outbreaks themselves.

In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:


Another 42 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, the Maine CDC said Thursday.

That brings the total reported coronavirus cases in Maine to 6,064, while the number of deaths remained at 146, officials said. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine was about 37, which was almost nine more than it was a week ago.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.



The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it's launching an initiative to provide free tools to help residents cope with the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

The project, called StrengthenME, is funded by almost $5 million in federal money. The effort will allow the health department to collaborate with community organizations and agencies to offer free stress management and other resources, DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said.

Residents can call 207-221-8198 if they're looking for support. The line will be staffed 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.