Gov. Janet Mills says she will quarantine at the Blaine House until Dec. 12 because she was potentially exposed to COVID-19 by a member of her security detail.

The governor said she was not displaying any symptoms and will continue to fulfill her duties, remaining in touch with her staff and Cabinet virtually.

“I am feeling fine and not experiencing any symptoms whatsoever; but as we have said all along, no one is immune from exposure to this virus,” Mills said in a statement released by her office.

Mills, who also posted a two-and-a-half minute video on Facebook Tuesday, said a member of her Maine State Police security detail, known as the Executive Protective Unit, is presumed to be positive for the virus by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The EPU member developed symptoms on Monday and is awaiting the result of a PCR test. The PCR – or polymerase chain reaction – test is extremely accurate, but takes time to produce results – usually within 24 to 48 hours in Maine.

Though Mills and the EPU member had limited contact – they were in a car together with face coverings for less than 10 minutes on Saturday – the governor is following Maine CDC guidelines by quarantining and getting a PCR test that is scheduled for Thursday, which is within the recommended time period for testing after potential exposure given the number of days it can take the virus to reproduce and be detected.

Members of the EPU are required to be with the governor at all times and are required to follow strict public health and safety protocols that include wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and maintaining strict hygiene. The officer’s name was not being released to meet medical privacy requirements, the governor’s office said.


Mills promised to keep the public informed of her condition and announce her test results when they become available.

“In the meantime,” she said. “I will be working away from the office, keeping in touch with staff and my Cabinet virtually. Working hard on behalf of all of you and watching for any symptoms.”

The Maine Republican Party questioned whether Mills could have exposed lawmakers to the virus and called on the governor to release more information about her contacts.

“After months of forcing mandates and restrictions on the people of Maine and their businesses, Governor Mills has now potentially risked spreading COVID-19 to the Maine Legislature,” Maine Republican Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas said. “While we hope that Governor Mills has not contracted the virus, she owes the public and lawmakers more information.

“Given the timeline, it is possible that the governor and her staff may have exposed Democrat leadership and the Democrat caucus to the virus.”

Mills was expected to swear in the next state Legislature during ceremonies at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday. That duty will now fall to Andrew Mead, the acting Chief Justice of Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court.


The new Legislature’s incoming presiding officers issued statements late Tuesday praising Mills and vowing to continue to work with her to combat the spread of the virus.

“Throughout this pandemic, Governor Mills has acted quickly and decisively, and her steadfast leadership has put us in a better position than most,” Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash said in a prepared statement. “Once again, the governor is leading by example by quarantining after a possible exposure to COVID-19 and putting the health, safety and well-being of Mainers first.”

State Rep. Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, who has been nominated by the majority Democrats to be the next speaker of the House, said Mills was doing what she has asked all Mainers to do.

“While I’m disappointed she won’t be joining us for the opening session of the 130th Legislature tomorrow, I’m beyond grateful for Gov. Mills’ commitment to handling this pandemic with the seriousness necessary to mitigate damage and save lives,” Fecteau said.

In her statement, Mills also offered condolences to the families and friends of 20 people who had died from the virus in Maine in recent days.

“Please take this seriously,” Mills said. “And tell everybody else, take this seriously too.”

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