coronavirus in maine

Maine Warns of Potential Coronavirus Exposure at Airport

The Maine CDC said an individual with the virus and a close contact of the individual went to Portland International Jetport on Sunday

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The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is alerting travelers who recently passed through Portland International Jetport that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

On Monday, the agency issued a statement saying that anyone at the jetport between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20, should monitor for coronavirus symptoms.

The jetport on Tuesday added to that statement by saying a review of closed circuit cameras revealed travelers at Gates 9 and 10, a more narrow group of people were affected.

"We were able to assist the CDC with our images on closed-circuit to then reduce the location to just gates 9 and 10 of the terminal concourse for contact tracing purposes," said Paul Bradbury, airport director at the Portland Jetport.

Bradbury said Maine CDC was able to coordinate a response with TSA agents at the airport, airline staff and other jetport teams.

According to the airport director, the person who was COVID-19 positive left the airport on his or her own.

The person and a close contact had boarded a plane but exited it voluntarily after corresponding with officials.

"They certainly weren't following CDC guidance but they had masks, they were doing all the things that we were requiring," Bradbury said.

He explained that both people had followed all jetport procedures for COVID-19, though they had initially not heeded Maine CDC protocol on travel.

On Tuesday, Maine CDC director, Dr. Nirav Shah and Jeanne Lambrew, the commissioner of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services addressed the situation in a scheduled media briefing.

"Maine CDC was made aware of these individuals because of contact with these individuals and people who work with these individuals," Shah said of how the CDC was able to get in touch with the pair.

Shah went on to clarify that by "work with" he did not mean that the secondary individuals were employees working alongside the travelers but rather people who interact with the individuals in a way that would be defined as "work with."

Meanwhile, Lambrew said the person who had tested positive but tried to travel had been "ordered" by the state to isolate and follow a treatment plan until they were considered healthy. The close contact of the positive individual was also ordered to quarantine.

In terms of other travelers seeking to fly safely, Shah went on to say that wearing a mask is one of the strongest tools to prevent COVID-19 from spreading anywhere including on aircraft. He added that the Sunday jetport incident overall was "not a low risk situation."

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