Maine CDC investigating COVID-19 cases at Cianbro construction site – Press Herald

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating multiple cases of COVID-19 in Maine and out of state that are linked to the construction site of a planned Maine Veterans’ Homes residential care facility in Augusta.

Two Maine residents associated with the job site have tested positive for the disease and are self-quarantining, an agency spokesman said. Other individuals tested positive in another state and are quarantining in that state, he said.

“Maine CDC’s investigation is focused on other individuals who might have been exposed at the site, as well as close contacts of individuals who tested positive,” spokesman Robert Long said. “The investigation involves employees of multiple contractors.”

Cianbro Corp., a prominent Northeast regional construction company headquartered in Pittsfield, is the general contractor in charge of the project. VJS Construction Services of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, is a partner on the project.

Cianbro representatives did not respond to multiple calls and emails over three days this week asking for further information about the infections and steps the company and its subcontracts took to prevent coronavirus transmission at the construction site.

The $91 million, 138-bed Maine Veterans’ Homes facility under construction is expected to replace the nonprofit corporation’s existing, 150-bed nursing home facility on Cony Road in Augusta. The group’s roughly 225 employees in Augusta will move to the new facility upon completion, and officials anticipate adding another dozen or so jobs there when it opens in 2021.

A Maine Veterans’ Homes spokesman on Wednesday said he did not have any information about COVID-19 cases there and believed paving work at the site was ongoing. He did not respond to another inquiry about the situation Thursday.

A source that first told Portland Press Herald about COVID-19 infections at the site said workers from Optimum Building Systems, a commercial drywall company from Litchfield, New Hampshire, had tested positive for the virus.

On Wednesday, a man named Rene answered the phone when a reporter asked to speak to the company owner. Rene Theroux is the CEO of Optimum.

The man did not answer when asked directly if Optimum had worked on the Augusta project and if any of its workers had tested positive for COVID-19.

He said he was unaccustomed to speaking with reporters, then said he should talk to a lawyer and hung up.


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