Two deaths are being investigated by York Hospital amid a growing outbreak that has seen 36 staff members test positive, the hospital announced Wednesday.

York Hospital originally announced an outbreak of four staff members on December 6, but that number has multiplied by six just in the last 10 days.

York Hospital Director of Patient Quality & Caregiver Experiences Matthew Bennett told Seacoast Current on Wednesday that two inpatient deaths are being reviewed as part of the outbreak.

"In working with Maine CDC we have learned that we may not be able to attribute these patients to the outbreak with 100% certainty," Bennett said. "That said, we are confident we have taken every step necessary to prevent further transmission in our facility."

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“After our second round of universal testing in Adult Inpatient Health Care, we have continued to detect cases with evidence of transmission," York Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Evangeline Thibodeau said in a statement. "However, through daily discussions with the CDC, we feel confident that with our continued tightening of infection control efforts over the past ten days, this will diminish.

"With only one newly diagnosed COVID-19 staff member overnight, the trajectory is a positive one. And while the majority of cases remain in one unit of the hospital, due to our small size and overlap in other departments, we are carefully watching, reacting, and testing any other service lines that may be affected.”

The first cases detected in the hospital's inpatient adult health care area, but the outbreak now extends to other areas but confined within the main building, per the statement.

The statement also said it has 14 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, although it is unclear whether those individuals were infected during their hospital transmission.

The hospital said is expecting its first shipments of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week, according to the statement.

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