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  • 207-723-5161
  • info@mrhme.org

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are now vaccinating community members 18+ years of age. If you are not yet vaccinated, please schedule your vaccination at www.mrhme.org/getvax.


From the desk of Robert Peterson, D.Sc., FACHE
Chief Executive Officer


September 23, 2021

Good Afternoon Everyone.

The Covid numbers remained fairly flat this week, but remain high.  It is a very pre-mature observation, but several of the graphs below show a slight bending of the curves.  Other states are experiencing a plateau in Covid activity, and hopefully this will occur here in Maine as well.   Again, too early to tell and we will need more data to make a solid conclusion.

For sure, the delta variant is still out there in the tri-town region.  MRH continues to average two to four Covid inpatients on any given day and the Emergency Department evaluates suspected Covid patients on a daily basis.  Continue to be very cautious and practice all recommended safety measures – especially in indoor public areas.

Here are today’s graphs for your review:

 

Robert Peterson, D. Sc., FACHE
Chief Executive Officer

 

*Please note: We’re now providing weekly updates.  Should there be any breaking news or trends, we will get that information out to you right away.  

The local information reflected here is representative of data collected by Millinocket Regional Hospital.  We do not have access to testing results and data from other local healthcare organizations, therefore, we can only report on local data as it pertains to our organization.

 

For more information, visit the Maine CDC website.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I get vaccinated?

All people age 12+ are now eligible for vaccination.  The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 12+.  The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are approved for ages 18+.

For more information on the Maine vaccine rollout, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines

 

How do I get vaccinated?

Johnson & Johnson:  The J&J vaccine is a single dose vaccine that is available Tuesdays and Thursdays at MRH Walk-In Care, 87 Main Street in East Millinocket.  Drop in any time on those days between 8am and 6pm to get your “one and done” vaccine.

Moderna:  This is a two dose mRNA vaccine, with shots spaced four weeks apart.  Patients who wish to get the Moderna vaccine can book an appointment online at:  www.mrhme.org/getvax.

Pfizer:  Pfizer is also a two dose mRNA vaccine with shots spaced three weeks apart.  This is currently the only vaccine approved for ages 12-17.  MRH has offered special Pfizer clinics but are not able to carry it consistently due to its storage requirements.

 

What should I do if I feel ill or suspect I have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID or have symptoms, you should quarantine immediately and get tested at MRH Walk-In Care within 3-5 days after exposure.  Continue your quarantine while awaiting results.

Do not present to the emergency room or doctor’s office unless experiencing severe symptoms such as: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake or bluish lips or face.

 

How long does it take for symptoms to present?

It can take anywhere for 2-14 days for symptoms to appear after exposure.

 

Am I contagious even if I don’t have symptoms?

It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others without experiencing symptoms yourself.

Research has shown that high levels of the virus are present in respiratory secretions during the “presymptomatic” period that can last days to more than a week prior to the fever and cough characteristic of COVID-19.

This ability of the virus to be transmitted by people without symptoms is a major reason for the pandemic spread.

If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for the entire 14-day incubation period. Even if you feel fine, you’re still at risk of spreading the coronavirus to others.  Persons who are fully vaccinated and show no symptoms, or have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months and do not develop new symptoms, do not have to quarantine even if exposed.  All others should follow quarantine as directed.

 

What should I do if someone in my home, or someone I have close contact with, has COVID-19?

If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should:

    • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
    • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
    • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

 

What counts as close contact?

    • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
    • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
    • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
    • You shared eating or drinking utensils
    • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

 

Quarantine exemptions:

    • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
    • People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.

 

 

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

      • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
      • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

 

When can I discontinue isolation?

You can discontinue isolation once you meet the following criteria:

    • It’s been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    • At least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

**Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and should not delay the end of isolation.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, you can discontinue isolation after 10 days have passed since you received your positive test.

For those who experienced severe illness or are immunocompromised, your primary care provider may recommend a longer isolation period.

 

Should I get tested to confirm that I no longer have COVID-19?

Even after you have recovered from your symptoms, you may continue to test positive for three months or more without being contagious to others.  For this reason, you should be tested only if you develop new symptoms of possible COVID-19.  You should discuss the need for testing with your primary care provider; especially if you have been in close contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

 

Downloadable Resources:

Cloth face mask FAQ + instructions

Home Care Instructions for COVID-19

 

Sources:  Centers for Disease Control, US Department of Health & Human Services

Testing

Viral tests, also referred to as diagnostic or PCR tests, analyze samples from your respiratory system to tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19.

Keep in mind:  The virus can take a few days to begin replicating in the throat and nose.  Your body needs to produce enough viral load in order to be detected by the PCR testing.  Generally testing is most accurate when administered 3-5 days after exposure.

 

If you currently have symptoms or have been exposed..

Testing takes place at MRH Walk-In Care, 87 Main Street, East Millinocket in a newly renovated space that is equipped with a clean air exchange, separate entrance and exit and other improved patient safety measures to prevent cross-contamination.  Your safety is our priority.

Patients requiring a test are asked to wait in their vehicles and notify staff by calling (207) 447-4700 upon arrival.  Your patience is appreciated as our staff is working diligently to minimize patient exposure to germs.

Do not present to the emergency room or doctor’s office unless experiencing severe symptoms, such as the emergency warning signs such as:

        • Trouble breathing
        • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
        • New confusion
        • Inability to wake or stay awake
        • Bluish lips or face

 

Test results

Tests typically take between 24-48 hours to be processed at the lab.  In the meantime, follow precautions as if you do have the virus and remain quarantined at home away from others.

Your provider will contact you with your test results and guidance on how to care for yourself, precautions to take with others, treatment of symptoms, etc.

 

Testing for past infections

If you think you may have had COVID-19, an antibody test may assist in that determination.  It is designed to to identify antibodies otherwise known as proteins that help fight off infection.

It can take the body 1-3 weeks after the infection to make antibodies.  Antibodies are typically associated with immunity, but experts still do not know if having antibodies to the COVID-19 virus can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last.  At this time, the most practical use for antibody testing is in regard to COVID-19 plasma donations.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19.

 

Additional information:

Keep Maine Healthy: Travel Information

Guidance for COVID-19 testing coverage for uninsured individuals

Application for COVID-19 testing coverage

State of Maine partners with IDEXX To more than triple testing capacity

Local connection: Puritan Medical of Guilford doubles COVID-19 Swab Production

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control

How to Protect Yourself & Others

First and foremost, know how COVID-19 spreads   

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

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We encourage everyone to take the following precautions; for the protection of yourself as well as others.

   Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • It’s especially important to wash:
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your cloth face covering
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

 

   Avoid close contact

  • Inside your home:  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
  • Outside your home:  Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people who don’t live in your household.

 

   Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.  Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

 

   Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

 

   Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

 

   Monitor Your Health Daily

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

 

 

Symptoms

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 or (coronavirus 2019) is a newly identified coronavirus caused by a virus called SARS-CoV 2.  It was first identified in China in December 2019 and has infected thousands of people around the world.

Coronaviruses are a type of virus that typically affect the respiratory tract of birds and mammals; humans included.  Doctors associate them with the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and now, COVID-19.

As we know, COVID-19 is much more severe than other common coronaviruses and can lead to hospitalization or even death.

 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways.  People infected with the virus have reported a wide range of symptoms; from mild to severe illness.

The symptoms of COVID-19 can be difficult to distinguish, as they present symptoms like other coronaviruses similar to the common cold.

Some or all of the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

      • Fever or chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Muscle pain or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms.  The CDC will continue to update this list as more is learned about COVID-19.

 

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

Look for emergency warming signs* for COVID-19.  If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

      • Trouble breathing
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion
      • Inability to wake or stay awake
      • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds

*This list is not all possible symptoms.  Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 9-1-1 or call ahead to your local emergency facility:  Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

 

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Carriers

It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others without experiencing symptoms yourself.

No matter what, if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for the entire 14-day incubation period. Even if you feel fine, you’re still at risk of spreading the coronavirus to others.

Research has shown that high levels of the virus are present in respiratory secretions during the “presymptomatic” period that can last days to more than a week prior to the fever and cough characteristic of COVID-19.

This ability of the virus to be transmitted by people without symptoms is a major reason for the pandemic.

 

Sources: Centers for Disease Control,  New England Journal of Medicine

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 at this time.

Those with COVID-19 should seek out supportive care to help relieve symptoms.  Based upon the individual’s symptoms, this may include:

  • Pain relievers and fever reducing medications (avoid ibuprofen)
  • Allergy medication to reduce congestion
  • Cough drops to soothe sore throat
  • Plenty of rest
  • Plenty of fluids

If you have asthma or another respiratory illness, be sure to have extra inhalers or medication on hand.

 

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Latest COVID-19 Statistics

 

 

 

Additional COVID-19 data and statistics can be found here courtesy of the Maine Centers for Disease Control.

We’re closely monitoring this situation and will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Source: Maine Centers for Disease Control

Visitors

Effective August 4th, 2021, Millinocket Regional Hospital is temporarily CLOSED to visitors.

While this may cause some inconvenience, please remember these measures are in place for your safety and the safety of our patients.
We appreciate your patience as we work through yet another local COVID outbreak.

 

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Those approved for entry must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry.
Any person (including staff) failing the screen will be directed to receive a medical evaluation and possible COVID-19 testing.

 

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Bill Pay

Due to the hospital’s limited visitor policy, we are not accepting in-person payments unless you’re already in the building to obtain medical services.

Other options for bill pay include online or via good, old-fashioned mail.

Pay by credit card

www.mrhme.org/billpay

Pay by check

Mail check to address provided on the statement or to:

Millinocket Regional Hospital
200 Somerset Street
Millinocket, ME 04462

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Questions about your bill?  We’re here to help!

Contact us by phone

Trubridge        (877) 818-1379

MRH               (207) 723-3369
………………. (207) 723-7247

Contact us by email

jwaite@mrhme.org

 

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation!