Web exclusive, November 30, 2020
Town of Deer Isle Public Notice Regarding COVID-19
November 30, 2020
Deer Isle and Stonington were fortunate to have avoided significant incidence of the coronavirus since it was first detected in the U.S. early in 2020. As with the 1917 Spanish Flu pandemic, colder weather and ongoing personal interaction have caused a dramatic increase in infections across Europe, Canada, the United States and now Deer Isle and Stonington.
Nursing homes are canaries in the mineshaft. They don’t cause the problem, but are a clear warning that we are all at risk. In most cases one or more non-residents are infected in the community, and while still pre-symptomatic bring the disease into the facility. The elderly residents are easily infected due to their weak immune systems and confinement indoors.
At this time approximately half of Island Nursing Home (INH) residents have contracted COVID-19. INH staff is impacted in several ways. Several staffers have tested positive while others have chosen to take leave to reduce their risk and protect their families. The remaining staff are working diligently to separate residents into wards based on COVID testing. Regional and state institutions are stepping in to assist with staffing, supplies and patient care.
In an effort to improve coordination, Hancock County Emergency Management and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention brought together health care providers, public health officials, town leaders, first responders and scientists. Maine CDC and INH are contact tracing to identify others that have been in close contact with the staff and are arranging testing. Deer Isle and Stonington are engaged and ready to provide any support that we can muster. We greatly appreciate the efforts of INH and the stakeholder team that are working to protect our health.
This is a difficult situation, but one that was anticipated as nursing homes everywhere are affected. Now is the time for the wider community to do our part. The leaders of Deer Isle and Stonington are calling on all residents to embrace the following practices:
Stay home as much as possible to avoid exposure to the virus;
Avoid all unnecessary indoor contact with people other than your immediate household;
Wear a cloth or paper mask when you are near people outside your immediate household. The mask must cover your mouth and nose at all times to be effective;
Even while wearing a mask, maintain a 12-foot social distance whenever possible, and never less than six feet;
Practice good hygiene with frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers;
Engage in outdoor activities such as walking for your physical and mental well being. This is the safest place to be when socializing;
Stay in touch with friends and family by telephone and digital communications. We need each other, but have to work together to be safe.
We have posted information about resources such as medical contacts, testing services, curbside sales, grocery delivery and more on our website, townofdeerisle.org. Our local businesses need your support and will try to meet your needs while keeping you safe.