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Maine DHHS closes second office due to employee with COVID-19, coronavirus

Maine DHHS had closed a Lewiston office and now closes the Rockland office due to COVID-19, coronavirus

ROCKLAND, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video explains how you can make your own mask without a sewing machine. 

According to a press release from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, they will close the Rockland regional office on Monday because one employee has tested positive for COVID-19, coronavirus

DHHS received notice of the positive test on Sunday and immediately notified employees. 

Officials say, as per DHHS policy, the Maine Center for Disease Control is determining all people that had close contact with that employee. 

According to the release, the impacted employee last worked in the office two weeks ago. 

"Their role neither involves visiting clients at their homes nor significantly engaging with the public in the DHHS Rockland office. In order to abide by privacy requirements, DHHS is limited in releasing further information about this case. We wish our employee a speedy recovery," said DHHS officials in the release. 

Social Distancing Video

The office will be closed Monday for cleaning and sanitizing per U.S. CDC guidance. Officials say they had already reduced staff levels to approximately 20 people in the Rockland office as of last week. 

Officials believe the office will reopen on Tuesday with social distancing practices still protocol. 

DHHS regional offices are open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday only for paperwork drop-offs.

Here are details of how people can still interact with DHHS:

"Clients have been encouraged to fill out and submit applications and reviews for programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and MaineCare online through MyMaineConnection. Paperwork may be submitted via fax, email, or postal carrier. Clients are strongly encouraged to sign-up for paperless noticing through MyMaineConnection to decrease delays in delivery of critical benefit updates. Individuals may also call the toll-free number at 1 (855) 797-4357 for assistance; agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday."

Officials say most DHHS employees are working remotely. According to the release, about 70% of state workers are working remotely.

State officials encourage anyone that needs to interact with the government to go to the appropriate section of Maine.gov.

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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