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Responding to COVID-19 in Our Region

Get interactive updates on how communities in our region are responding to COVID-19. This blog was created to help community leaders share information. Comments (moderated) are encouraged. 

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Mar 14

Greater Portland/Southern Maine Managers meeting update

Posted on March 14, 2020 at 3:19 PM by Tom Bell

Greater Portland/Southern Maine Managers Meeting 
March 12, 2020 

Coronavirus/COVID-19 update: 

From WHO March 10, U.S. CDC and Maine CDC March 11: 

  • Globally: 

  • 113,702 confirmed 

  • 80,924 in China 

  • 32,778 outside of China 

  • 4,012 deaths 

  • 3,140 in China 

  • 872 outside of China 

  • Global, regional, and China risk assessment: very high 

  • U.S. at a Glance: 

  • Total cases: 938 

  • Travel-related: 92 

  • Person-to-person spread: 75 

  • Under investigation: 771 

  • Total deaths: 29 

  • Jurisdictions reporting cases: 39 (38 states and District of Columbia) 

  • Travel to and from continental Europe has been suspended for 30 days beginning Friday, March 13, 2020 

  • COVID-19: Maine 

  • Total confirmed cases: 0 

  • Total presumptive positive cases: 0 

  • Persons with negative test: 42 

  • Persons with tests pending: 5 

Guidance: 

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home 

  • Reduce barriers to taking sick time (requiring notes, flexible leave policies) 

  • Separate sick employees 

  • Separate those displaying acute symptoms from others immediately 

  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all employees 

  • Posters encouraging these behaviors 

  • Tissues, no-touch disposal receptacles 

  • Instruct employees to wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available (and to avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands) 

  • Cover coughs and sneezes  

  • Perform routine environmental cleaning 

  • Usual cleaning agents can be used on all frequently touched surfaces 

  • No additional disinfection is recommended by CDC at this time 

  • Review travel plans and guidance 

  • Additional measures 

  • Instruct employees to notify supervisors if they have a sick family member at home with COVID-19; refer to guidance for risk assessment to potential exposure 

  • Inform employees if a fellow employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 but maintain confidentiality as required by ADA; refer to guidance for risk assessment to potential exposure 

  • Prepare an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan 

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to employees 

  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws 

  • Explore establishing policies and practices such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies 

  • For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved 

  • Ensure that the information technology and infrastructure needed is in place to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home 

  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations 

  • Plan for operations if there is increasing absenteeism or supply chains are interrupted 

  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering operations, and transferring knowledge to key employees 

  • Work closely with health officials (Maine DHHS) to identify appropriate triggers 

  • Plan to minimize exposure between employees, and between employees and the public 

  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and others regarding infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information 

  • Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly. 

  • In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens: Determine how operations will change/continue if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school 

  • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees. 

  • Consider cancelling large meetings or events. 

  • Engage health officials to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information 

  • See also: 

 

  • Plan for possible community disruption: 

  • Schools, daycares, childcare facilities, and effect of closures on community services and businesses 

  • Senior living, assisted living, skilled nursing care facilities 

  • Community programs delivered in private facilities that might close 

  • Community programs in municipal facilities (senior meals, senior centers, community centers, adult education and enrichment programs) 

  • Public safety 

  • Law enforcement, EMS, fire, public works, code enforcement, health inspections 

  • Social services 

  • Continuity of essential functions of government and Maine’s Freedom of Access Act 

  • Public meetings (councils, selectboards, planning boards, etc.) cannot be held remotely under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act 

  • Possible relief under emergency declaration by the Governor (37-B MRSA 742) 

  • Joint letter from communities to the Governor regarding essential actions relating to the continuity of government or emergency response to allow remote meetings as long as reasonable effort is made to provide public with notice and access to the meeting 

  • Other concerns, issues? 

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