All seven employees at Maine CDC/MEMA facility exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 test negative

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 1:00pm

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) announced Friday all seven individuals who reported symptoms associated with COVID-19 have tested negative for COVID-19.

    Samples from the seven employees who worked out of MEMA's State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Augusta three from MEMA, two from Maine CDC, and two National Guard members all tested negative at Maine CDC's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL), according to a news release.

    Maine CDC medical epidemiologists continue to investigate what caused the symptoms.

    Many of the seven individuals reported feeling better today, per the release. 

    After the seven employees called in sick on Thursday, MEMA Director Peter Rogers and Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah shifted the SEOC from mostly to fully virtual operations.

    MEMA and Maine CDC operations have not been disrupted.

    At no time were SEOC operations closed or halted. MEMA and Maine CDC have exercised continuity of operations plans for situations of this nature. The shift to a virtual operations center ensured no disruption in Maine's ongoing COVID-19 response.

    Out of an abundance of caution, no staff are working from the MEMA building today. Plans to deep clean the affected areas of the building are underway.

    At the outset of the pandemic, MEMA implemented safety protocols at the SEOC to help protect against the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the number of employees working in the SEOC, requiring employees to maintain six feet of distance whenever possible, enhancing cleaning efforts within the office and requiring temperature checks and hand sanitation for all individuals entering the SEOC.

    The MEMA offices are co-located in a larger building at 45 Commerce Drive with the Maine Department of Public Safety and the Maine Department of Labor. However, no employees of those Departments reported experiencing symptoms to Maine CDC.