By: Lynn G Howard, MSN, NP-C

The timely health topic this month is, not surprisingly, COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus). Given its significant impact on our lives, it would seem irresponsible of me to write about anything else.

However, the status changes rapidly and much will be changed between the time that I write this (March 25 and the date that you read it. Perhaps our collective efforts in the mitigating spread will be paying off and we’ll be seeing the numbers of newly diagnosed fall, instead of rising.

I am sure that USM students are well informed by now and can answer the following questions just as well as Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC.

As a way of review, let’s test your COVID-19 knowledge:

True or False: Corona virus is new to humans.

True. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which was
discovered after an outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 when people
developed pneumonia type illness of unknown cause.

True or False: There is no test available for COVID-19.

False. Testing is available and involves inserting a swab into the nasal cavity and
sending the specimen to a lab for processing. At this time there is no rapid test capability
and results can take several days to return. At present, Maine has a prioritization
system to test individuals in high-risk categories due to a low national supply of
testing materials.

True/False: COVID-19 is spread by food poisoning.

False. It spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or
sneeze. Or when person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches
their eyes, nose, or mouth. So, potentially you could contract it by sharing food and
utensils, but it is not thought to be a food borne illness.
True/False: My flu shot does not protect me against COVID-19.
True. Influenza is due to a different virus than Corona. However, influenza is still out
there, so it’s great that you had the vaccine. Please continue to do everything you can to
stay healthy.

True/False: Handwashing doesn’t reduce disease spread.

False! I’ll just refer you to this site that explains the evidence:
True/False: There aren’t many resources for me to seek help or to find out more

False! If you think you have been exposed to COVID19 and develop a fever and
symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical
advice. Here are other helpful resources for further information:

True/False: Anxiety may be heightened during these uncertain times.

True. For further information and assistance:

Dial 2-1-1 Maine for information and referral to community resources or the
Statewide Intentional Warm Line at 1-866-771-9276 to talk with a trained peer
support specialist who has personal experience with mental health recovery.

Extra credit: Name 5 ways to prevent COVID-19:
Help stop coronavirus
1 HANDS Wash them often
2 ELBOW Cough into it
3 FACE Don't touch it
4 SPACE Keep safe distance
5 HOME Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell

So, how did you do? If you have questions, please call us at Health Services, but for a health-related emergency, dial 911.

Although our usual clinic hours have changed, we are available by phone, Monday through
Friday from 8 to 4:00 at (207) 780-5411. You will be prompted to leave a message we will do our best to get back to you in a timely way.

For up to date Coronavirus Community Update please visit

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this difficult time.
Lynn G Howard, MSN, NP-C


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