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Healthcare officials urging people to 'shelter in place'

The City of Bangor is discussing a potential shelter in place policy due to COVID-19. Nothing has been decided on just yet.

BANGOR, Maine — The City of Bangor is discussing a shelter in place policy amid concerns of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. That would mean that city residents would be asked to stay home.

The city council has not yet voted on this policy, although some medical professionals think it's something that should already be in place.

"We need to be taking this seriously. Not just seriously, very seriously. And we here in Bangor and the state of Maine are not doing enough," Dr. Geoff Gratwick said. He's a retired physician and now a member of the Maine State Senate representing part of Penobscot County.

He is suggesting a 'shelter in place' policy.

"What we're proposing here as far as sheltering in place and what appear to be drastic measures out in California are very warranted," Dr. Jeff Graham said, agreeing with Gratwick.

City councilors in Bangor are discussing the call to shelter in place.

While nothing has been decided just yet, city council chair Clare Davitt said, "It's gotta be community enforcement."

Councilor Angela Okafor encouraged the rest of the council at Thursday's meeting to take this step.

"So isn't it better that we do this now and save more lives policy than to be pushed to that point to not having a choice?" She asked her fellow councilors.

Davitt said she doesn't want to get to a point where the city has to mandate its residents to stay home, she just wants people to be smart about it.

"We'd really like to see them stay home and really making choices to only go when they only need to go somewhere," she said.

On Thursday the City of Bangor did vote to extend Governor Janet Mills' civil state of emergency for an extra seven days in Bangor.

As of now, there is no end date for that, so the Governor retains powers to take steps affecting businesses and schools as she sees necessary.

RELATED: Maine schools estimate end of April return date

RELATED: Gov. Mills bans dine-in service at restaurants, bars and gatherings of 10 people or more statewide

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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