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Frequently Asked Questions

    COVID-19

    Q: What should I do if I have symptoms? How do I get tested?

     

    A: Call ahead to a health care professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing. Tell your health care professional about any recent travel or contact with other COVID-19 cases. Your healthcare professional will work with Maine CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. More information is available on the U.S. CDC's What You Should Know page.

     

    For additional information:

    Maine CDC: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus

    US CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

     

    Q: I’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus, should I isolate/quarantine myself?  

     

    A: Maine CDC conducts investigations for all presumptive positive and confirmed COVID-19 cases. If you are identified as someone who has had close contact with a presumptive or confirmed case, Maine CDC will contact you with instructions for self-isolation and testing. If you develop symptoms, call your health care provider. 

     

    Maine CDC: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus

    US CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

     

    Q: Where can I find the latest and most up to date information about COVID-19?

     

    A: Maine CDC: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus

    US CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

     

    Q: Can COVID-19 be transmitted from dogs and cats?

     

    A: To date, there are no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, and no evidence that pets, including dogs, can spread COVID-19.

     

     

    Q: Are there any resources for Maine’s immigrant community to learn about COVID-19?

     

    A: In an effort to keep our multicultural neighbors informed about COVID-19, Catholic Charities of Maine set up a COVID19 webpage with downloadable translated documents, audio files and other local and national resources: https://www.ccmaine.org/share-facts-about-covid-19.

    Q: Are there restrictions on visiting a patient in the hospital?

    A: Hospitals and nursing homes are severely restricting visitors.

    Contact the nursing home website or call directly.

    MaineHealth Hospitals: https://mainehealth.org/healthy-communities/coronavirus

    Central Maine Healthcare: https://www.cmhc.org/about-us/covid-19/visitor-restrictions

    Northern Light Health: 

    https://northernlighthealth.org/Locations/Mercy-Hospital/News-Events/News/2020/Northern-Light-Mercy-Hospital-updates-visitor-poli

     


    FEDERAL AGENCIES

     

    Q: Do I have to file and pay my Federal Taxes on April 15?

     

    A: No. On March 19, the Treasury Secretary and the Internal Revenue Service extended the deadline for tax returns until July 15, 2020. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

     

     

    Q: Where do I find information about traveling abroad?

     

    A: The Department of State is currently advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel; U.S. citizens abroad who live in the United States to return immediately if possible, and U.S. citizens who live abroad to avoid all international travel.  For the latest information, see the State Department’s travel website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/ or search: State Department Travel Advisories. If you must travel, we highly recommend enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency: https://step.state.gov/step/. (Note: if you are having trouble accessing the website, State recommends using a different browser, either Internet Explorer 11 with compatibility view or Google Chrome.)

     

    Q: Is there a central location to find information on federal agencies responses?

     

    A: USA.gov>Learn about coronavirus, COVID-19>What Are Government Agencies Doing in Response to the Coronavirus? (specific link: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus#item-214586)

     

    Q: Is it possible for the VA to transfer my prescriptions to a local pharmacy so I can avoid visiting Togus?

     

    A: At this time, VA Maine Pharmacy is switching to an all mail-order system in order to limit exposure to COVID-19.  Outpatient Pharmacy will ONLY honor emergent prescription needs for in-person pick up. Emergent prescriptions include post-surgical, emergency department and discharge medication needs.  All other medications and supplies will be mailed. Veterans may request refills and renewals by:

    • contacting the refill line at 207-623-5770

    • mailing in refill slips

    • Pharmacy Call Center at 1-207-623-8411 option 1

    • requesting them through My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov)

     

    Additional operational information: https://www.maine.va.gov/emergency/index.asp

     

    Q: May I still go to Togus for care?

     

    A: VA Maine employees are working to reduce face-to-face outpatient clinical encounters to only those that are deemed time-sensitive and clinically necessary. These efforts are to ensure that VHA maintains the safety of its Veterans and the capacity of its clinical work. Face-to-face outpatient visits for ALL clinical services, including Primary Care, Mental Health, and Specialty Care, will be assessed for conversion to virtual care. In order to accomplish this goal, clinical staff will review all scheduled appointments to determine if the appointment can be switched to a VA Video Connect (VVC) or telephone appointment. If the type of care is not appropriate for VVC or telephone (i.e., dental care or endoscopies), the provider should follow up with the Veteran to reschedule his/her appointments for no sooner than 60 days in the future of the cancellation date. If a Veteran is at risk of imminent harm by not seeing a clinical provider face-to-face, then a face-to-face appointment will remain in place.

     

    Additional operational information: https://www.maine.va.gov/emergency/index.asp

     

    Q: Congress passed disaster loans for small businesses. What happens now?

     

    A: SBA is working directly with governors to provide targeted low-interest loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Maine received approval for businesses across the state. 

     

    You can apply for a disaster loan at  Https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. More information can be found at sba.gov or by calling 1-800-659-2955. 

     

    Q: Is there any relief for student loan repayment?

     

    A: The following information from the US Department of Education applies only to FEDERAL student loans: All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. To request this forbearance, borrowers should contact their loan servicer online or by phone. Any borrower who has experienced a change in income can contact their loan servicer to discuss lowering their monthly payment.

     

    Additional information for students (not just loans) from US DOE: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.

    Q: Will my bank allow me to miss a loan payment?

     

    A: The FDIC encourages financial institutions to provide borrowers affected in a variety of ways by the COVID-19 outbreak with payment accommodations that facilitate their ability to work through the immediate impact of the virus. Such assistance provided in a prudent manner to borrowers facing short-term setbacks could help the borrower and a community to recover. The FDIC understands that effective loan accommodation programs may involve protracted resolutions, but all should be ultimately targeted toward loan repayment. 

     

    Visit your financial institution’s website or call its customer service line for assistance. 

    FDIC FAQs for customers: https://www.fdic.gov/coronavirus/faq-customer.pdf

    Q: Is it safe to take a planned cruise?

     

    A: Because of the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 on cruise ships, the US government is advising US travelers to defer all cruise travel. CDC recommends all travelers, particularly older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.


    STATE AND LOCAL

     

    Q: Are there resources for elderly or immunosuppressed individuals to assist with grocery shopping, medicine pickup, or other necessary errands?

     

    A: Call 211: if your phone number has a 207 area code, you can just dial 211.  If not, here's the website: https://211maine.org/. Also, if the caller is mobile, some grocery stores and pharmacies provide online ordering with curbside or drive-thru pick-up, as well as special shopping hours for elders, pregnant women and the immunocompromised. Call or check the website to see if the service is available at your local store.

     

    Hannaford Supermarkets: Effective Tuesday, March 24, its stores will offer dedicated shopping hours for people age 60 and older, as well as those with compromised immune systems. Stores will open early from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. 

     

    Shaw's: On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 a.m., all Shaw's stores will be reserved for at-risk shoppers. 

    NEW INFO - go to ask for help (webform): https://mainerstogether.com/help

    Q: I was laid off, where do I find help?

    A: Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) Unemployment Compensation:

    If you have been laid off you may be eligible to file an unemployment claim here:https://reemployme.maine.gov/accessme/faces/login/login.xhtml.

    FAQs from MDOL: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ > Download the Unemployment Insurance FAQs

     

    Q: My employer is not letting any employees work remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak – what are my rights?

     

    A:  Governor Mills encouraged businesses to have employees work remotely – or implement social distancing measures if this is not possible, including: legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services, etc. Further guidance for businesses can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

     

    Q: My child attends the University of Maine, are they entitled to a refund?

     

    A: The University of Maine System has issued the following guidance on their website concerning this issue (https://umaine.edu/housing/):

    Students will be able to complete the course of study they have paid for this semester, and room and board charges paid through family contributions will be refunded on an appropriate and prorated basis. The University of Maine System will post guidance on requesting room and board refunds on our public health advisory website.

     

    Q: Can we increase monthly food stamp benefits, like we did in 2008, so that people don’t have to worry about not getting enough food?

     

    A: HR 6201 does not provide an increase in SNAP benefits, however, it does make the following changes:

    • Suspends the work and work training requirements for SNAP during the crisis.
    • Allows states to request special waivers from the Secretary to provide temporary, emergency CR-SNAP benefits up to the maximum monthly allotment. Note: this does not increase SNAP benefits beyond current maximum levels for a household size.

     

    Q: How can students in my town receive meals during school closures?

     

    A: Each school district is responsible for the distribution of meals and the process may vary in each location. Call your school or Superintendent's office to learn more. 

     

    Q: Will daycares reimburse us for the days our kids are not going in, even though the center is closed?

     

    A: The state cannot stop licensed providers from demanding and taking payment at this time if the contract with the day care facility stated that parents would be responsible for payment even in the event of illness or absence. The state DHHS child care licensing division is requesting guidance from the Governor’s office on this issue, but at this time, the state doesn’t have any specific authority to end the practice.

     

    Q: Are food banks still operational? How do I access additional resources of food for my family?

     

    A: Call 211: if your phone number has a 207 area code, you can just dial 211.  If not, here's the website: https://211maine.org/.

     

    Q: Is the Maine DMV still open?

     

    A: Effective Tuesday, March 17, all of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' offices will be closed until further notice, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Maine.

     

    Link for update on Citizen Alerts: https://www.maine.gov/portal/CAS/

    Q: Do I need to register my car or may I receive an extension?

    A: Motor vehicle and trailer registrations, including all temporary registrations and any fuel use decals that expire during the state of emergency will be extended.

     

    Registrations issued by a municipality, including temporary registrations, are deemed extended until 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency  pursuant to P.L. 2019, ch. 617, F-1 , emergency laws approved by the Governor on March 18, 2020.

     

    Other registrations, including temporary registrations, will be extended until 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency pursuant to the emergency provision of 29-A MRSA 405(4).

    Source: www.maine.gov/sos/

     

    Q: What will happen to someone who is uninsured or under-insured? If they need treatment, who will pay?

     

    A:  On March 12, 2020, Governor Mills declared an Insurance Emergency. 

    • This requires all private insurers in Maine to cover the costs of coronavirus testing, as well as associated costs, including health care visits and copays. 
    • Anyone uninsured in Maine can review this guidance to access COVID-19 testing and care. 
    • Anyone uninsured in Maine is also encouraged to find out if they are eligible for coverage options including MaineCare, which provides comprehensive health coverage at low or no cost to enrollees. More information about MaineCare and other coverage options can be found at https://www.coverme.gov/eligibility.

     


    FOR CONSTITUENTS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD

    FROM FDA: We know that in many cases your constituents are looking for the right place to contact FDA about a specific COVID-19 issue, and we want you to have the resources at your fingertips so you can put them in touch with us quickly, especially as these issues are time-sensitive. Below is some information your constituents may find helpful.

    FDA FAQs:

    https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions#general

     

    COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests:  For questions about development of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, there are several important resources your constituents may wish to use:

     

    • 24/7 Hotline for Diagnostics:  If a constituent developer, lab, manufacturer or health care provider has questions about testing or is experiencing spot shortages of testing, personal protective equipment, or other supplies, they should call our toll-free line at 1-888-463-6332 (1-888-INFO-FDA), then choose option (*). The line is available 24 hours a day to help address difficulties obtaining supplies for collecting patient samples for COVID-19 testing, including swabs, media needed for transport, and  conservation of the samples – among other things. Please note, however, that FDA does not control the production volume or distribution of medical devices.

     

     

    • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests:  If your constituent needs additional information for completing the EUA template, would like to know how to submit Pre-EUA/EUA submissions to FDA, or wish to consider an alternative specimen type, they may contact the Division of Microbiology Devices at (301) 348-1778 or email CDRH-EUA-Templates@fda.hhs.gov. Please note that FDA is unable to provide information on the status of any individual submissions (this is generally confidential commercial information) and FDA would encourage congressional offices to reach out to specific developers for the status of any pending product submissions. 

     

    Personal Protective Equipment:  If a constituent or health care provider has questions or is experiencing spot shortages of personal protective equipment or other supplies, they should call our toll-free line at 1-888-463-6332 (1-888-INFO-FDA), then choose option (*). The line is available 24 hours a day to help address difficulties obtaining supplies. Please note, however, that FDA does not control the production volume or distribution of medical devices.

     

    Vaccines and other biological product candidates:  Biological product sponsors, including vaccine developers, wishing to develop vaccines can email industry.biologics@fda.hhs.gov or call 1-800-835-4709 for further information.

     

    Therapeutics and other drug product candidates:  Sponsors wishing to develop therapeutics are encouraged to submit information and questions via the Pre-IND Consultation program. See https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/covid-19-therapeutics-general-information-interested-stakeholders or call 301-796-1500 for additional information on this program.

     

    Clinical Trials:  Sponsors who have questions regarding the conduct of clinical trials impacted by COVID-19 should contact clinicaltrialconduct-COVID19@fda.hhs.gov

     

    Drug Shortages:  If a constituent healthcare provider has questions or concerns about a drug shortage, related or unrelated to COVID-19, they should contact CDER’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) at 855-543-3784, 301-796-3400, or druginfo@fda.hhs.gov. Also, FDA's Drug Shortage web page has information related to current shortages.  

     

    Food:  If a constituent in the food industry has a question for FDA, they may find information on common questions about food safety and COVID-19 here.  If they need to contact FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition about a COVID-19 related question, they may do so by submitting a question here.

     

    Animal Drugs and Animal Food:  If a constituent has questions or concerns related to COVID-19 and its impact on products regulated by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, they may contact AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov, and their inquiry will be routed to the appropriate subject matter expert for response. A list of known animal drug shortages is kept by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

     

    Inspections: If your state has questions regarding the postponement of inspections under an agreement or contract with the FDA, they should contact OPFeedback@fda.hhs.gov or reach out to their specific project manager. In the meantime, we encourage states currently under contract to please submit their invoices to ensure payment for work completed.  We will process their invoices as quickly as possible.

     


    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

     

     

     


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