SOUTH PORTLAND — Education about the COVID-19 pandemic tends to reduce fear, said Joshua Pobrislo, local health officer for South Portland.

EMTs clean a fire truck at Central Fire Station in South Portland on March 27. Deputy Fire Chief Phil Selberg, second from right, said EMTs have several respiratory calls, potential COVID-19 cases, that they respond to every day now. Brianna Soukup photo/Press Herald

He and South Portland city officials have been integrating the Maine Center for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines about social distancing into city services and organizations.

“That has been one of the logistical things with how to continue operations, using social distancing,” said Pobrislo. “If you go onto the city’s website they have created great resources and how to do everything like registration electronically.”

The South Portland website also includes CDC YouTube videos about COVID-19 in five different languages besides English.

While Pobrislo said that his normal duties are more related to a health inspector, checking for mold, and lyme disease, or solving tenant-landlord disputes, he said that since the COVID-19 outbreak, he’s been on a task force of sorts to help spread awareness and education to groups like the South Portland Housing Authority.

Municipal buildings and non-essential businesses have closed temporarily, but many services can be provided online or over the phone, says South Portland’s website. Residents can call 767-3201 for general assistance.

Probrislo said that he is “encouraging everyone to pay attention to CDC recommendations, social distance, wash hands, and take care of each other, reach out to neighbors who may need help.”

The South Portland Public Works Facebook page also includes information about what services are still available, remotely or not, and what the city is doing to assist residents during this time.

The Maine CDC website provides daily updates about the spread of COVID-19 in Maine, breaking the data down by county.

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