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COVID-19 exposure prompts Gouldsboro town office closure



GOULDSBORO — The Gouldsboro town office is closed and all scheduled public meetings were cancelled this week after a municipal employee recently had repeated contact with a local resident who has since tested positive for the coronavirus and is in self-quarantine. Some of the town’s dozen staffers either opted to self-quarantine for two weeks or they got tested and are awaiting their results at home.  

As of Nov. 18, the Maine Center for Disease Control’s online cumulative COVID-19 map shows somewhere between 6 and 19 probable or confirmed cases of the virus to date in the town of Gouldsboro. No cases had been detected so far in nearby Winter Harbor as of last Friday, according to the case map at https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus/data.shtml. 

Gouldsboro has 12 full-time and part-time employees, several contractual workers and 22 volunteer firefighters, seven of whom also are emergency medical technicians. 

Gouldsboro Fire Chief Tate McLean says the town’s recent COVID-19 case is a stark reminder of the virus’s highly contagious nature and the health threat if citizens fail to wear masks and social distance as mandated and urged by state and federal authorities. 

“Everyone should wear a mask if able to and social distance as best as you can,” said McLean who says he tested negative for the virus Nov. 20, but has taken the precaution of staying at home unless it’s a major emergency call. “Don’t go out if you don’t have to.”

Town Manager Andrea Sirois says the town office is indefinitely closed until staff members have completed their self-quarantine or she knows the results of those employees who opted to get tested. When she has a more complete picture, she will be able to gauge when it is safe to fully reopen the Prospect Harbor office. 

“I want to make sure we have a safe reopen as swiftly as possible,” Sirois said Monday. “We do have two staff members that will go into the office one at a time to make ourselves available to the public even if it’s by phone. Public safety must remain available to the public and I am confident our police department and fire [volunteer firefighters] and emergency medical technicians are operating safely and effectively.”

In addition, the town manager said all in-person municipal meetings and hearings have been suspended indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Sirois said vehicles can be reregistered online at https://www1.maine.gov/online/bmv/rapid-renewal/. For new car registrations, call the town office at 963-5589 or email [email protected]. Property tax payments can be made phone with a credit card or via the mail (the town goes by the envelope’s postmarked date). Trash stickers can be purchased during store hours at Young’s Market on Route 1 and Mc’s Marketplace in Birch Harbor. 

Letitia Baldwin

Letitia Baldwin

Arts Editor at The Ellsworth American
In addition to editing the Arts & Leisure section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden and Get Ready for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Ill, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Isles. [email protected]
Letitia Baldwin

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