A COVID-19 task force on Monhegan Island is urging new arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days and asking nonresidents to stay where they are.
Municipal officials formed the task force March 17 to respond to the pandemic by coordinating plantation activities and keeping residents informed.
First Assessor Mott Feibusch, a member of the task force, said by email that the team is following Gov. Janet Mills’ guidelines and recommendations from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention closely and disseminating that information to residents of the island.
Other members of the task force are acting Emergency Management Director Jessica Stevens, Second Assessor Andrew Dalrymple, Health Officer Tara Hire, Monhegan School Committee members Joan Brady and Mary Weber, Superintendent of Schools Tonya Arnold, Fire Chief Greg Rollins, and Constable Matt Weber.
The task force is investigating the potential impact that COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, will have on the plantation’s businesses and financial resources.
Feibusch said there are no known cases on Monhegan and the task force is working to prevent community spread on the island.
He said L. Brackett & Son, the island’s grocery store, has been offering curbside pickup and taking orders for items not in stock. The post office is delivering mail to anyone who requests it.
A notice on the plantation’s website, monheganplantation.com, states that the Monhegan Boat Line will adhere to Mills’ recommendation to limit groups to 10 people or less and will enforce social distancing on ferries.
The notice encourages residents to aid in preventing the community spread of COVID-19 on Monhegan by practicing social distancing, staying at least 6 feet apart, on the island.
Everyone arriving on Monhegan is “strongly encouraged” to self-quarantine for 14 days. Many members of the community are already in self-isolation or self-quarantine, the notice states.
“It is vital that islanders limit the number of nonessential trips inshore. This includes, but is not limited to: nonessential health care appointments and vet appointments, nonessential employment-related travel, nonessential supply shopping, and vacations or other leisure activities. Please consider the risk you may bring to the vulnerable on-island population,” the task force wrote in a letter to island residents.
The notice on the website says Monhegan has extremely limited emergency response resources, with no licensed health care provider or advanced emergency care on the island, no stockpile of personal protective equipment or sanitation products, and no public water supply until mid-April.
“For those of us who are not on island yet for the season, especially nonresidents, if you have the ability to stay where you are, please heed the advice given nationally to help prevent the spread of the virus by limiting your travel. These precautions will not only help the Monhegan community overcome this virus, but the state of Maine and the United States as well,” the letter says.