7 MEMA Operations Center Staff Test Negative for COVID19
The Maine CDC reports that seven members of MEMA's Emergency Operations Center Staff have tested negative for COVID-19.
Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC and Pete Rogers, Director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, announced on Thursday that 3 members of the MEMA staff, 2 members of the Maine CDC, and 2 members of the Maine National Guard had called him, saying they were unwell. All seven people said they woke up Wednesday morning with a fever, chills, and aches and pains.
It was immediately decided to send the remaining employees of the State Emergency Operations Center to alternate work locations, while the affected employees were tested. On Friday, Dr. Shah announced that all seven tested negative for COVID-19. Now, he says, the samples taken from those workers will be sent to Augusta to be tested for other viruses and bacteria, to try and determine if it was a common agent that made them sick, or merely coincidence. He says the center will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before allowing workers back into the facility.
As for the Center itself, Dr. Shah says operations were never interrupted. Despite the employees moving to alternate work sites, he says the work went on, as usual. MEMA and the Maine CDC had planned for that alternative, and developed options for keeping things running even as the building itself had to be shut down.
Finally, Dr. Shah says all the people who reported being sick yesterday were feeling significantly better on Friday. He says, to his knowledge, none of them was extremely sick, but were required to call in if they had any fever or feelings of sickness.