Public Health Updates
Coronavirus I COVID-19
MaineHealth hospitals are well-prepared for infectious disease outbreaks in the communities we serve. You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) by staying informed and following these safety recommendations.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new virus that causes flu-like symptoms. Most cases are mild to moderate. Older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions, may experience more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may include: fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.
How can I protect myself and my family?
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with an elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Call your family doctor if you:
- Develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing; AND;
- Have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19; OR
- Have recently traveled to an active outbreak area
Please do not go straight to a hospital or other health care facility. Call your doctor first. They'll need to prepare for your arrival. Your doctor will also work with the state’s public health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
For additional information click here.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Medical providers should be vaccinated and begin vaccinating patients soon after flu vaccine becomes available to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.
Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout the flu season.
US CDC recommends use of the nasal spray vaccine in healthy children ages two to eight when it is immediately available and if the child has no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. Recent studies suggest that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, children age two to eight years should get the flu shot. Don't delay vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine.
Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Follow heightened respiratory etiquette to protect yourself and others by covering coughs and sneezes, and wearing a mask when indicated and appropriate.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as germs can spread that way.
Avoid close contact with sick people as much as possible.