The health and safety of our community is our priority. We know the amount and changing nature of the information you have and continue to receive can be confusing and overwhelming. Our goal at United Way of Greater Portland is to share resources, best practices, and information in the days and weeks ahead.
Get the most up to date and accurate information and resources related COVID-19 here:
- Maine Centers for Disease Control
- US Centers for Disease Control
- Multilingual Information and Resources
- World Health Organization
- Cumberland County Food Security Council
- Office of Governor Janet T. Mills
Social Distancing: Doing Your Part
The events of this past week are unprecedented for many of us. As the number of COVID-19 cases in Maine continues to rise, our elected officials, workplaces, local businesses, and families have had to make difficult decisions quickly to protect the public health and safety of us all. The rate at which the pandemic is spreading requires widespread and comprehensive social distancing efforts. For social distancing to be effective, every one of us must do our part.
What is “Social Distancing”?
Social distancing is an effort to put literal space between people in the community. These measures have been shown to slow the spread of infectious diseases. This is important because by slowing the spread of infectious disease, we help to ease the inevitable burden our health care system will face as the number of cases grow. Many of these measures have been implemented or recommended by our state officials already, such as closing school, limiting groups of more than ten people, working from home, and canceling events. All of these actions are taken to “flatten the curve” (see image below).
These measures are crucial as the virus affects individuals differently. While some individuals may experience mild symptoms, other individuals can get very ill from this virus. This is particularly true for those who are 65+ years of age or immunocompromised. Additionally, asymptomatic individuals can still spread the virus to others. Therefore, even if you feel healthy, it is imperative that you follow social distancing guidelines.
What Can You Do?
- If you are able, work from home. Like many workplaces across the country, United Way of Greater Portland directed its employees to work from their homes for the foreseeable future.
- Stay home as much as possible. Only leave to perform essential tasks such as picking up groceries or prescriptions and attending work that cannot be done from home.
- If you are sick, do not leave home and avoid contact with others.
- Maintain a 6 feet distance from individuals that you do not live with.
- No group gatherings. This includes not visiting families and friends that live in other homes. No playdates or sleepovers. No going out to restaurants or bars.
Take these steps to minimize your risk of contracting the virus:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. If you are unable to do so, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially when out in public
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- The CDC does not recommend the general public wear a mask to prevent COVID-19
What should you do if you start to feel sick?
- Call your primary care doctor and discuss your symptoms with them. Do not go to the Doctor’s office without letting them know you are coming.
- 211 Maine is available to answer general questions about the COVID-19 virus.
While these actions require all of us to make significant sacrifices, they are essential actions for saving lives.