NEWS CENTER Maine is working hard to provide you updated and accurate information, as the coronavirus pandemic develops in our state. We have received questions from viewers about how COVID-19 affects health and business-related aspects of life and are doing our best to answer them.

Health questions

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can be difficult to diagnose, since most people are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, like a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and perhaps a fever.

Once more severe symptoms develop, they can include issues like trouble breathing and not being able to keep fluids down.

If you suspect you have symptoms and are concerned, you should contact your primary care physician. Do not immediately go to a walk-in clinic or the doctor’s office.

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How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is very contagious. It can live on surfaces like keyboards or phones for 24 to 48 hours – which is why it’s important you clean these items!

Dr. James Jarvis is Senior Vice President and Physician Executive at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He says that researchers have not seen coronavirus spreading via fruits and vegetables, but it’s still important to clean produce like you normally would.

When it comes to money, dollars bills are actually with cloth, so there is little risk that the virus could survive there. That risk increases slightly for coins, so it’s important to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after handling change.

Influenza vs. coronavirus?

It can be difficult to tell influenza and coronavirus apart at first, since some of the symptoms are similar.

The main difference is that unlike the flu, coronavirus develops slowly. It could take up to eight days for more severe symptoms to develop, while the flu typically hits people hard and fast.

The coronavirus is also brand new to researchers, which is why they are trying to hard to slow its spread.

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“The virus that causes influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 are very, very different viruses,” Dr. Jarvis told NEWS CENTER Maine. “They’re not in the same family. I like to say this is not comparing a Chevy to a Toyota. This is comparing a car to a jet engine airplane.”

To try to stay healthy, it’s important to stay six feet or more apart from each other and try to stay at home if you think you’re experiencing symptoms.

Business questions

What is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s role?

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest federal disaster loans to help businesses hit hard by coronavirus.

SBA assistance is available throughout the state of Maine. The deadline to apply is December 16.

RELATED: Gov. Mills' emergency COVID-19 response bills pass through Legislature

How are cities and towns responding?

Some cities and towns around the state are implementing curfews to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. For example, Bangor and Portland are asking gathering places to remain closed between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. through Saturday, March 21. 

Governor Janet Mills has not yet decided to close restaurants and bars statewide.

How can I support small businesses?

There are steps you can take to support small businesses during this tough time.

You can order to-go from restaurants, shop online, buy gift certificates, and join local subscription clubs.

City leaders are also reminding local businesses that they are there for support.

“I think the most important thing that we can tell people is that the city is trying to funnel good information to businesses and organizations and individuals, so they can make decisions for themselves,” Tanya Emery, the Director of Community and Economic Development in Bangor, told NEWS CENTER Maine.

If you have questions related to COVID-19, please send them to us via email, social media, or text at 207-828-6622.

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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: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus

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