ALFRED — Keep clean, wash your hands, think about what you’re doing or about to do — and don’t panic.

Covid-19, the proper name given to the novel (meaning new) coronavirus that is seemingly sweeping the world, is eliciting concern here in York County, like it is in many other places.

As of Monday afternoon, the newspaper’s weekly print deadline, there hadn’t been any cases in Maine, but that may well have changed by the time readers get this paper. Maine CDC said there have been requests for additional tests beyond ones already taken. Nearby New Hampshire confirmed four cases on Monday. As well, the Canadian government reported there were four cases Monday in Quebec, which borders Maine, but none as of that day in New Brunswick, which also borders the Pine Tree State.

At York County Emergency Management Agency, Director Art Cleaves advised that people be prepared, as they would for any eventuality.

“We hear about runs on grocery stores; preparedness for any disaster is good, but not overkill,” he said, “Use common sense.”

Symptoms of Covid-19 include cough, shortness of breath and fever, and in some cases, according to the Maine CDC, a sore throat. Most patients experience mild symptoms and can recuperate at home, but others, particularly those with underlying medical conditions, may experience more severe respiratory illness, the CDC said. For some, the respiratory virus causes mild symptoms like the common cold or influenza (flu), for others it can cause severe pneumonia that requires medical care or hospitalization.


Southern Maine Health Care provides information on the virus through MaineHealth on its website. MaineHealth is advising people to stay home if they’re sick, and to wash their hands frequently, avoid touching their face, and covering a cough or sneeze with an elbow or a tissue. As well, people should clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

MaineHealth advises calling your physician if you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing and have been in contact with a person known to have Covid-19 or have been to an area where’s there’s an active outbreak.

They ask that people call a doctor first, and not merely show up at a hospital or other health care facility.

Cleaves, like the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. CDC, recommends hygiene steps and precautions, and having a plan should illness present itself.

YCEMA receives a daily situation update from the Maine CDC and is keeping in close contact with its state counterpart the Maine Emergency Management Agency. YCEMA makes sure the municipal emergency directors in all of York County’s 29 towns and cities are kept current with information, said Cleaves. Should there be a significant outbreak in Maine, the agency’s Emergency Operations Center would be open 24/7, much like it is during a flood, other weather-related disaster or significant power outage.

Covid-19 is a new coronavirus which was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and has now been detected in a number of other countries, including the United States.

As of Monday, samples were to be tested at Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory in Augusta, the Maine CDC announced late Monday afternoon. Results for tests from HETL typically can be expected within 48 hours of receipt. Samples that test positive for Covid-19 will be classified as presumptive positive and will be sent to the U.S. CDC lab for confirmation.

As for businesses, the U.S. CDC has issued a number of guidelines that include recommending employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness stay home. Among other guidelines, the CDC said company owners should ensure their sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of them.

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