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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. 

Sign up for updates. Send emails and items to Tony PlanteDirector of Municipal Collaboration at GPCOG.

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Mar 20

Questions about local COVID-19 cases in Gorham

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 7:20 AM by Tony Plante

Gorham officials have received inquiries regarding possible cases of COVID-19 in the community. Though the town says in a press release that "the Town does not have this information and is not able to confirm any positive cases," its departments remain fully operational and are working to transition services to meet the community's needs. The town suggests the public refer to U.S. CDC and Maine CDC for the latest information.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Chief Health Improvement Officer at MaineHealth addressed the issue of town-level COVID-19 data:

"Why aren’t the towns of residence provided for COVID-19 cases? As the pandemic spreads into Maine, there is some familiarity. Nor’easters most often start along our southern coast, and work their way north. Schools and businesses close, and we all shift into our snow day routine. And although the weather report says it’s snowing in Portland, we know if we live nearby in Westbrook, it’s snowing there as well. Likewise, with the reports of COVID-19 up to 42 in the state (as of yesterday), with over half of them in Cumberland County, everyone needs to assume COVID-19 is where you live too. That is one reason why public health reporting does not usually include the town of residence. Federal laws require such reporting maintain the privacy of the individual patient, unless there are certain compelling reasons not to. With COVID-19, just like knowing where it’s snowing, we are no more protected if we know the town or street of the patient versus the county.  And we still need to hunker down into a nor'easter routine."

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