Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday, Feb. 9, his agency has launched an investigation into a new outbreak at The Commons at Tall Pines facility in Belfast, where five people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Last April, The Commons saw an outbreak involving 32 patients and 11 staff, of whom 19 recovered, and 13 died because of the virus.

A call to North Country Associates, Tall Pines' management company, was not immediately answered.

On Thursday, Feb. 4, a COVID-19 outbreak investigation was announced at Harbor Hill in Belfast, where seven people had tested positive for the virus.

Also in Waldo County, an outbreak at Crossroads to Calvary Apostolic Church in Morrill  was reported Jan. 28, where 23 people had contracted the disease.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said a new federal program will bring vaccines to 24 Walmart and Sam's Club stores across the state starting Friday, Feb. 12. The goal of these new vaccination sites, she said, is to reach underserved communities.

As of today, people 70 and over can begin making appointments at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and samsclub.com/pharmacy, Lambrew said, with appointments beginning Feb. 12. The facilities are ready to ramp up operations once more vaccine supplies become available, she said.

These doses will be on top of the federal allotment of vaccines that Maine receives, which currently is up to 21,000 per week.

For a list of participating Walmart and Sam's Club stores, visit tinyurl.com/14blqt8b.

Shah said since yesterday, three additional people have died because of COVID-19, including a resident of Cumberland County, a resident of Oxford County, and a resident of Washington County. Two were men and one was a woman. Two were in their 80s while the third was in their 60s. A total of 639 people have died in Maine because of the disease.

Since yesterday, 211 additional cases were reported. Currently 117 people are in the hospital because of the disease, with 24 in intensive care units and 13 on ventilators.

Shah said as of today, 209,927 vaccine doses had been administered across the state, with 175,894 people receiving their first doses and 55,033 receiving their second. "This represents 15% of Maine people having received their first dose," Shah said, "and about 4% receiving both."

filed under: