COVID-19

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in 2019. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is different from other coronaviruses that cause mild illnesses, like the common cold. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in communities (“community spread”), which means people have been infected with the virus, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

In Maine, there is evidence of community spread. For updated testing data, including the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases in the state, please visit Maine CDC’s Coronavirus website.

Symptoms and Spread of COVID-19: For the most current information about known symptoms and how the virus spreads, review information on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

How Can I Help Prevent It From Spreading?

  • Practice “physical distancing” by limiting contact with people outside of your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands, or use a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (like your cell phone) and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
     

How Do I Care For Myself/Family at Home?

Prepare a Plan for Yourself and your Loved Ones (from New England Public Health Training Center):

 

Oral health: At this time, you should only seek oral health care for emergencies, such as terrible toothache, infection, or recent trauma to the mouth. If you have a dental emergency, call your dental provider; they may be able to determine if you should be seen. If you need help to find emergency oral health care, call 2-1-1. Learn more about oral health during COVID-19.

 

What Should I Do If I Have Questions?

Here is Maine CDC’s Coronavirus website, and here is the 24/7 Disease Reporting Contact Information:

  • Phone: 1-800-821-5821 (24 hours a day)
  • FAX: 1-800-293-7534 (24 hours a day)
  • TTY: Maine relay 711 (24 hours a day)

You can also contact 211 Maine for answers to frequently asked questions on COVID-19:

Current information, including guidance about actions you can take to prevent disease spread, can also be found on the U.S. CDC’s and Maine CDC’s coronavirus websites.

 

What State Resources Are Available?

The Maine Legislature recently passed legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Mills, that includes two measures specifically targeting the COVID-19 response. The first measure creates an $11 million COVID-19 fund, which the governor can use in the Legislature’s absence. The second bill is the Governor’s COVID-19 Omnibus bill, which will do the following:

  • Expand unemployment benefits to help workers and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19;
  • Allow the Department of Education to waive certain school-day requirements and to continue school lunch programs for all eligible kids;
  • Allow remote participation in some municipal meetings;
  • Allow the state to guarantee interest-free loans to Mainers; and
  • Streamline the process to allow the Maine Emergency Medical Services’ Board to delegate functions and authority to Maine EMS staff.

Are You Eligible For Unemployment? Here’s How to Apply.

The expansion in unemployment insurance eligibility includes coverage for workers harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Maine. The legislation also waives the one-week waiting period for benefits and the work search requirement for workers who know they will be returning to the same job at the end of this crisis. You are now eligible to collect unemployment benefits in the following situations:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operation due to COVID-19
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work once the quarantine is over
  • An individual leaves employment due to risk of exposure or infection
  • An individual leaves employment to care for a family member

Here is the link to apply for unemployment insurance.

Note: Each town has a General Assistance Program to help people in emergencies. You may be eligible even if you work or receive other benefits such as: food stamps, veterans’ benefits, or Social Security income. To request General Assistance, contact your town office.

Emergency/Safety

 
Food Security

 
Financial & Housing Assistance

For more information about other state resources available to you, check out Maine Equal Justice’s COVID-19 Resource page.

 

How Can I Help?

Share Credible Health Information:

Donate Time, Money or Resources:

  • Mainers Together: Maine People’s Alliance developed a portal to connect Mainers who need assistance (grocery delivery, transportation) with community organizers; and for Mainers who wish to contribute money, time or supplies to community response efforts.
  • Full Plates Full Potential Emergency Fund: Full Plates Full Potential has established an emergency fund to support any public school in Maine that closes due to the pandemic. Emergency funds will help schools pay for increased meals, packaging breakfast and lunch meals, transporting the food to eligible sites and more.
  • Good Shepherd Food Bank’s role in a declared health emergency is to be a resource to the Maine CDC, Maine Emergency Management Agency, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Department of Education, and Maine’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. GSFB encourages you to check on your neighbors and vulnerable community members to ensure they have a plan for accessing food, medicine, and other supplies. Should Mainers need help securing food, visit the “Find Food” section on GSFB’s website to find a local resource. GSFB expects to see increased demand over the next few weeks; please consider donating to help provide critical food access at this time.
  • Preble Street Resource Center: Needs volunteers (email Ali Brauner – abrauner@preblestreet.org); Donations of food supplies (Resource Center Soup Kitchen, 252 Oxford Street, Portland)
  • Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland: Animals adoptions are still available by appointment. Donations of pet food are needed to support animals in the shelter and families in need of assistance for their pets.

Do You Need Assistance?

  • Mainers Together: Maine People’s Alliance developed a portal to connect Mainers who need assistance (grocery delivery, transportation) with community organizers; and for Mainers who wish to contribute money, time or supplies to community response efforts.
  • Are you in Need of Pet Food? The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland invites people to visit the ARLGP Admissions Entrance on Tuesdays from 1-3pm or Sundays from 1-4pm to access the Pet Food Pantry (address: 217 Landing Road, Westbrook).
  • Do you need assistance with services such as SNAP, MaineCare, TANF, or General Assistance? Contact Maine Equal Justice Partners at 207-626-7058 ext 205. More information can be found on MEJP’s website.
  • Do you need help securing food? Visit the “Find Food” section on Good Shepard Food Bank’s website to find a local resource.
  • Are you a patient receiving cancer care and in need of meal delivery? In partnership with area food banks and volunteers, Christine B. Foundation will be making home deliveries of meals/food items to cancer patients across Piscataquis, Penobscot, Hancock, and Washington Counties. Learn more here.
  • Are you a patient receiving cancer care with questions or concerns about your cancer diagnosis or treatment?
    The Association of Maine Cancer Support Centers, a network of organizations providing cancer-related supports, services, and/or complementary therapies to cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and/or families, is innovating the delivery of services to ensure support, comfort, and community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Services vary from meal delivery to on-line programming. Please contact any of the AMCSC members to learn more about their resources (service areas are in parantheses): Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center (Hancock & Washington Counties), Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine (Oxford, Cumberland & Androscoggin Counties), Caring Connections/Bangor Region YMCA (Central & Eastern Maine), Christine B. Foundation (Piscataquis, Penobscot, Hancock & Washington Counties), Dean Snell Cancer Foundation (New England Cancer Specialist, Topsham patients), Dempsey Center (statewide), Healthy Acadia (Hancock & Washington Counties), Maine Breast Cancer Coalition (statewide), and Sarah’s House of Maine (Piscataquis, Penobscot, Hancock & Washington Counties).

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