No off-island contractors to go to North Haven, no group meetings of more than 10

North Haven Select Board limits travel to island, human contact on island amid COVID-19

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 8:30am

NORTH HAVEN — During an emergency meeting of the North Haven Select Board, Sunday, March 15, members voted on how the small island of 355 year-round residents (according to the 2010 census) will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The select board is limiting travel to the island for essential purposes, defined by the board as, “to receive or provide medical care, to provide direct caregiving to people who reside on the island; to resupply bulk food items, fuel, and other products required for human consumption, habitation, and wellbeing; to conduct law enforcement activities, to fulfill Knox County, State, or Federal obligations and to perform duties related to those obligations; and travel for other similar purposes associated with lifesaving, firefighting, and other activities related to the emergency care of persons or property” and “travel to the mainland and back to North Haven Island for the purpose of obtaining groceries and other essential items.” 

Those who do not reside on the island full-time may not travel to North Haven, including contractors who work on the island but do not live on the island. 

People on the island are to avoid close human contact with people other than their families or others with whom they reside and not meet in groups larger than ten persons, unless a family gathering would include more than ten persons. 

The North Haven Town Office will be closed to visitors, but the staff will remain at work during regular work hours to assist customers by telephone and online. 


Order of the North Haven Select Board:

WHEREAS, the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is a pandemic, affecting countries around the world, including the United States and the State of Maine;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a potentially deadly virus, having caused 6,492 deaths worldwide and 63 deaths in the United States;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is transmitted by personal contact between humans and by human contact with objects touched by a person carrying the virus;

WHEREAS, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, has declared a national emergency;

WHEREAS, the Town of North Haven, Maine, is situated on an island of the same name lying twelve miles off the coast of Maine;

WHEREAS, the only ways to reach North Haven Island are by small aircraft, boat, or by motor vessels operated by the Maine State Ferry Service;

WHEREAS, the Town of North Haven operates a non-terminating medical facility known as the North Haven Clinic;

WHEREAS, the North Haven Clinic is staffed by one nurse practitioner and is not licensed or operated as an emergency medical facility;

WHEREAS, patients with serious emergency medical conditions, including patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, must be transported to a mainland emergency medical facility by ambulance on a Maine State Ferry Service vessel; 

WHEREAS, transporting patients who are potentially positive for COVID-19 leaves the Town without a nurse practitioner, without a lead Emergency Medical Technician, and without its one ambulance for at least three hours;

WHEREAS, the Town has a limited supply of medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and medicine to treat potential COVID-19 cases; 

WHEREAS, the North Haven Grocery is the island’s only grocery store, serving the entire island;

WHEREAS, J.O Brown’s operates the only gasoline pump and the only heating oil and kerosene oil truck on the island;

WHEREAS, GRM Plumbing and Heating operates the only propane gas delivery truck on the island;

WHEREAS, Penobscot Island Air is the only air carrier serving the island, including the Town’s primary means of emergency medical transport;

WHEREAS, the Maine State Ferry Service has a limited number of certified captains, engineers, and able bodied seamen to operate its ferries;

WHEREAS, the North Haven Select Board has considered the above factors, including the limited availability of people, equipment, and supplies needed to support the island’s population, and believes it needs to take steps to protect the people who live on the island from the effects of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, a board of selectmen under Title 30-A Maine Revised Statute, section 2635 shall “as a body shall exercise all administrative and executive powers of the town” except as otherwise provided by State law; and 

WHEREAS, Title 30-A, Maine Revised Statutes, section 2109 states that a municipality’s home rule authority “shall be liberally construed” to effect activities for the “welfare of the municipalities and their inhabitants”; 

NOW THEREFORE, in order to best protect the people of the Town of North Haven from the spread of the novel coronavirus known as a COVID-19, the North Haven Select Board hereby orders:

1. All travel to the island shall be limited to travel for “essential purposes,” as defined below;

2. People who do not reside on the island fulltime may not travel to the island due to the significant increase in risk associated with the transmission of COVID-19;

3. Contractors who work on the island but do not live on the island may not travel to the island due to the significant increase in risk associated with the transmission of COVID-19;

4. Travel for “essential purposes” shall mean to receive or provide medical care, to provide direct caregiving to people who reside on the island; to resupply bulk food items, fuel, and other products required for human consumption, habitation, and wellbeing; to conduct law enforcement activities, to fulfill Knox County, State, or Federal obligations and to perform duties related to those obligations; and travel for other similar purposes associated with lifesaving, firefighting, and other activities related to the emergency care of persons or property; 

5. For the time being, “essential travel” shall also include travel to the mainland and back to North Haven Island for the purpose of obtaining groceries and other essential items; 

(Note: This may change should the likelihood of an outbreak of COVID-19 increase. The Town of North Haven is working with North Haven Grocery and Penobscot Island Air to arrange for shipment and pick-up or delivery of groceries and other essential items at the North Haven Grocery or via Penobscot Island Air or the Maine State Ferry Service. The Select Board strongly encourages people to order their groceries, foodstuffs, and other necessaries through the North Haven Grocery or from a service that will deliver the items via the Maine State Ferry Service or Penobscot Island Air. The Town will also coordinate efforts to screen and obtain volunteers to help with the delivery of groceries and other essential items to persons who are quarantined or who are otherwise unable to obtain these items themselves. Volunteers would be asked to place the items on people’s doorsteps; not to come into contact with quarantined people directly.)

6. For the time being, “essential travel” shall also include delivery of building supplies and materials needed for island residents to perform their jobs;

(Note: This may change should the likelihood of an outbreak of COVID-19 increase. The Town will work with Viking, Spears, and other suppliers of building materials and other materials needed for island residents to perform their jobs to find ways to obtain needed materials in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19.)

7. People on the island shall avoid close human contact with people other than their families or others with whom they reside;

8. People on the island shall not meet in groups larger than ten persons, unless a family gathering would include more than ten persons; 

9. The North Haven Town Office will be closed to visitors, but the staff will remain at work during regular work hours to assist customers by telephone and online; 

10. People who believe they may have come into close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or may have contracted COVID-19 shall remain in their homes for at least 14 days and shall contact the North Haven Medical Clinic (207.867.2021) for medical advice and care, and shall notify the Town Office (207.867.4433) so that arrangements can be made to deliver food and supplies as needed during the 14-day quarantine period; and

11. People who believe they may have come into close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or may have contracted COVID-19 shall not enter the North Haven Medical Clinic — healthcare providers will instead come to their homes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. (Call 911 in an emergency or call the Clinic at 207.867.2021.)


This order is effective immediately and will be revisited and reissued as necessary as facts and circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 public health emergency warrant.

Issued this 15th day of March 2020, at a meeting of the Town of North Haven Select Board.

___________________________________
Jonathan Demmons, Chair

___________________________________
Alexander Curtis, Member

___________________________________
Patricia Lannon, Member

___________________________________
Jeremiah MacDonald, Member