It’s become clear that predictions of a surge in coronavirus cases once colder weather arrived were correct. While we have done well in Maine and Franklin County relative to the rest of the country, recent epidemiological data and case investigations show that Maine is now experiencing widespread community transmission.
Our employees are on the front lines of this fight against COVID-19. And, we have in place a multilayered approach to optimize their safety that includes daily screening, universal masking, use of eye protection, and testing, among others per CDC recommendations. Despite this as of Nov. 3, we have had 9 positive cases of Covid-19 among our employees. Please be assured that all appropriate precautions were in place and the affected employees are in isolation in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Masks remain one of our most effective tools in combating the spread of COVID-19. I urge you to wear a mask over your mouth and nose in any indoor setting where people outside your household are present, even at distances greater than six feet. This will provide protection to others in the event you are infected, just as their mask safeguards you. Remember, people without symptoms can be infected and pass the coronavirus to others. Also, we still don’t know to what degree those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 are immune. This means everyone should behave as if they might be infected.
As the holidays approach, I also urge caution about holding gatherings of friends and extended family outside your household circle. It is more important than ever that everyone avoids gatherings, stays six feet apart from others, wears a face covering, uses hand sanitizer, and washes hands frequently.
If you are concerned you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or experience symptoms of infection, including fever, chills, sore throat, difficulty breathing, unexplained muscle aches, new cough, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion or vomiting or diarrhea, you should call your primary care provider for advice on testing, treatment and quarantine measures.
It is also important during this time that you keep you and your family as healthy as possible. This means getting a flu shot and if you have any medical concern, don’t delay care. Our hospital and Franklin Health medical practices are open for all services, and we have extensive protocols in place to keep you safe, including universal masking, frequent cleaning, and designated areas for testing and treating those who may have been infected with COVID-19.
In closing, MaineHealth has created a wonderful resource for our residents and visitors that can be accessed from any MaineHealth website including ours at fchn.org or visit Mainehealth.org/Covid-19 for all the latest updates on the virus, resources, our visitor guidelines, testing, preventative information, and more.
I am amazed at the talent and resilience of our care team members throughout the organization and specifically those in the trenches as they take care of each other, our neighbors, families and friends. Please thank them when you see them.
Thank you all for your support, now and always. We know that we can get through this together.
Franklin Community Health Network