AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says seven employees from MEMA, the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Maine National Guard were tested for COVID-19 Thursday. On Friday, MEMA reported all the test results came back negative.
In response to the outbreak, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at MEMA in Augusta temporarily shifted to virtual operations.
MEMA says the employees—three from MEMA, two from Maine CDC, and two National Guard members—called out sick on Thursday after experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms overnight.
Maine CDC medical epidemiologists continue to investigate what caused the symptoms. MEMA says many of the seven individuals reported feeling better on Friday.
Director Rogers and Dr. Shah jointly decided to move the SEOC to fully virtual operations, meaning no employees were present in the briefing space on Thursday, out of an abundance of caution, and as a result, both worked remotely. MEME will continue to work remotely for the entire facility staff Friday.
At the outset of the pandemic, MEMA implemented safety protocols at the SEOC to help protect against the spread of the virus, including limiting the number of employees working in the SEOC, requiring employees to maintain six feet of distance whenever possible, enhancing cleaning efforts within the office, and requiring temperature checks and hand sanitation for all individuals entering the SEOC.
The MEMA offices are co-located in a larger building at 45 Commerce Drive with the Maine Department of Public Safety and the Maine Department of Labor. However, given the office separations and limited interaction, Maine CDC believes at this time that there have not been close contacts with employees of these other departments.
As a result of the shift to a virtual command center, Friday's daily coronavirus briefing will be held via Zoom. The briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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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