Heroes in an uncertain time

By Sen. Erin Herbig | Apr 04, 2020

The past several weeks have been uncertain and anxious, changing moment to moment. It is a lot to take in for each of us, and for our families in many different ways. As COVID-19 enters Maine and we all adapt to new ways of living and doing business, I am impressed by how Mainers are answering the call. Thank you for making changes to your lives to create physical distance between us when we can, because that is how we slow the virus, support our health care system and save lives.

Thank you to all employees who work in our health care settings and are answering the call with bravery and compassion. Thank you to our first responders who are serving on the front lines to keep us healthy and safe. Thank you to the employees at our grocery stores who are cashing us out, stocking shelves and helping us buy food in a safe manner.

Thank you to all of our neighbors who are continuing to clean and disinfect buildings, fix cars and appliances, farm and fish, collect trash, prepare food, process bills, provide customer service, deliver goods and packages, and take care of children, seniors and the most vulnerable among us.

Workers in government are helping people navigate the unemployment process for the first time and sharing resources with our small business owners. City councilors and selectmen are stepping up to provide guidance and relief as this situation evolves moment to moment.

To all those who’ve adapted and businesses that have remained open to help us all through these trying times, thank you for the risk you are taking for all of us. These heroes in our community don’t get to stay home right now –– our society can only continue to function because of their good work. I know it is challenging to continue to go about our business with so much uncertainty. It is important to me that all of you know the resources that are available during this trying time.

If you think you might have the illness, stay at home. Call your doctor or health care clinic before going in to seek testing and treatment. The symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear two to 14 days after a person is exposed to the illness. Most people who get COVID-19 have a mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you have questions about how you can protect yourself or what to do if you get sick, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus, the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For those who can’t work or have been laid off because of the outbreak, the Maine Legislature passed a bill that expands unemployment benefits. You should apply for unemployment if you’re out of work because of COVID-19. Apply online at reemployme.maine.gov. If you have questions during the process, fill out the online form at maine.gov/labor/contact/.

The Maine CDC provides information about cases in Maine, as well as daily briefings, at maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc. You can also visit 211maine.org, call 211, text your ZIP Code to 898-211 or email info@221maine.org. In addition to information about the coronavirus, 211 Maine can help connect people with food, housing or health care services.

In the city of Belfast, our most vulnerable citizens who are homebound and in need of supplies such as food or prescriptions can call 338-3370, ext. 120, where they can be connected through the Ring of Caring program to make sure these essential supplies are delivered to them. And as always, you can also reach out to me at 287-1515 or Erin.Herbig@legislature.maine.gov.

In these difficult and uncertain times, I am impressed and inspired by the hard work of so many in Waldo County. Because of you, we can buy bread, milk, dog food, gas, tools and prescriptions. It is that dedication of so many, to our state and to our community, that will get us through this together.

Sen. Herbig is serving her first term in the Maine Senate representing Waldo County. She has recently accepted the post of Belfast city manager, and is not seeking reelection to the Senate. She lives in Belfast

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