COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Information is current as of 5/18/2022 and is subject to change.

View a downloadable version of the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

Text highlighted in yellow indicates most recently updated information.


Situation in Maine

What happens when a case of COVID-19 is identified in Maine? (Updated 2/24/2022)

  • When Maine CDC is notified of a positive result, a case investigator may reach out to the patient to investigate. The investigator asks basic questions about symptoms and when they started and possible exposures.  

Where are tests for people from out of state reported? (Updated 3/31/2020)

  • Out-of-state travelers who test positive in Maine are reported to the state of their primary residence.  This is to ensure an accurate national tally of COVID-19 cases under guidance from US CDC.
  • Patients may continue to receive treatment in the state where they are tested.

I would like to volunteer to help with the COVID-19 response. How can I do this? (Updated 3/4/2021)

  • Please visit www.maineresponds.org to register as a volunteer to provide services during a disaster or emergency situation.
  • Apply to hold a community vaccination clinic here.

Where can I find information on COVID-19 vaccination in Maine? (Updated 12/10/2021)

  • Please visit Governor Mills' COVID-19 Vaccine page for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in Maine.
  • Call the Community Vaccination Line for help finding a COVID vaccine near you at 1-888-445-4111.
  • Call 1-855-608-5172 if you need help getting a ride to your vaccine appointment. Reserve your ride at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.
  • Find a  COVID-19 vaccine site here and here.

I am fully vaccinated but lost my vaccination card. How can I get a replacement? (Updated 12/10/2021)

  • First, you should contact the location where you received your vaccine to find out if they can issue a replacement card.
  • If the vaccination site cannot do this or no longer exists, contact the Maine Immunization Program.  Maine Immunization Program does not issue replacement COVID-19 vaccination cards but can provide a copy of your immunization record.
    • Fill out this Vaccination Record Request Form.
    • If you do not have access to the internet, call 1-800-821-5821 and follow the prompts for the Maine Immunization Program.

Where can I find updated K-12 school guidance for Maine? (Updated 8/12/2021)

Find the most updated "Standard Operating Procedures for Responding to a Positive COVID-19 Case in Schools" document here.

  • Find more information about COVID-19 and Maine schools in Maine Department of Education's COVID-19 toolkit here.
  • For questions about requirements and response in individual schools, please contact the administration at the particular school in question.

Where can I find informaton on vaccination requirements for healthcare workers in Maine? (Updated 1/24/2021)

  • Please visit the Governor's FAQ page for complete information on the Healthcare Worker Vaccination Rule.
  • Find the final "Immunization Requirements for Healthcare Workers" here.
  • See your healthcare provider for more information on medical exemptions. Read more about the Maine Vaccine Exemption Law Change here.

Which healthcare providers in Maine are required to be vaccinated under the Immunization Requirements for Healthcare Workers Rule? (Updated 8/19/2021)

  • Visit the Governor's FAQ page for complete information.

Where can I find information on accessing COVID-19 treatment in Maine? (Updated 5/18/2022)

  • Visit www.maine.gov/covid19/treatment or call 1-888-445-4111 for information on how and where to get treated for COVID-19.
  • If you are not currently infected with COVID-19, talk to your healthcare provider to find out whether you should get treatment should you get COVID-19 in the future. Have a plan for how to get tested quickly and where you can access COVID-19 treatment.

About COVID-19


What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and when do they appear? (Updated 12/16/2020)

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips, face, or unpigmented skin (gums, around the eyes, nail beds)

Symptoms may appear 2-14 dyas after exposure to the virus.

Can a person spread the COVID-19 virus even if they have no symptoms? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • It is possible that people infected with COVID-19 may be infectious before showing symptoms.  They can also be infectious and not show any symptoms (asymptomatic spread).

Can someone who has recovered from COVID-19 spread the illness to others? (Updated 2/2/2022)

  • Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others.
  • Once a person with COVID-19 has been released from isolation and is no longer showing symptoms without the aid of medication (fever-reducers, cough suppressants), they are no longer considered able to spread the COVID-19 virus.
  • Individuals who had COVID-19 can get it again and become infectious again.

How long can someone test positive for COVID-19 after being released from isolation? (Updated 11/3/2021)

  • People who have been released from COVID-19 isolation may continue to test positive for COVID-19 on molecular and antigen tests for up to 90 days after symptom onset but are not considered infectious.
    • This means that viral RNA is detected by the molecular or PCR tests, but the virus is no longer active, so the person is not infectious.
  • Maine CDC does not recommend requiring a negative test for a person who has been released from COVID-19 isolation to return to work, school, or other community functions.

What is the medical treatment for people affected by COVID-19? (Updated 3/15/2022)

  • Find information about COVID-19 treatment options in Maine here.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about what treatment options may be right for you.
  • Read the COVID-19 guidance on treatment developed by the National Institutes of Health.

Can the COVID-19 virus be spread from contaminated surfaces? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • The COVID-19 virus can be acquired from contaminated surfaces, but this is not the primary way the virus spreads.
    • The virus spread when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that have the virus in them.  A person can become infected by:
      • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
      • Having small droplets and particles with the virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through sneezes or coughs.
      • Touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have virus on them, such as from a cough, sneeze or contaminated surface.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.  Wash your hands frequently.
  • Most often, spread of the virus happens among close contacts through respiratory droplets.  Practice general prevention measures.

COVID-19 Variants

Where can I find information about COVID-19 variants in the United States and Maine? (Updated 12/1/2021)

  • Find information on COVID-19 variants found in Maine here.
  • Find information on COVID-19 variants in the United States here.

How is the Omicron variant different from other COVID-19 variants? (Updated 12/1/2021)

  • The Omicron variant has a "large number of mutations, some of which are concerning" according to the World Health Organization.
  • The Omicron variant has many mutations of the spike protein.  This is the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells and reproduce.

Is the Omicron variant more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • Clinical information suggests that Omicron may be more transmissible than other variants.  US CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or do not have symptoms.
  • However, it does not seem to pose a higher risk of death or hospitalization for fully vaccinated individuals.

Does the Omicron variant lead to more severe illness than other COVID-19 variants? (Updated 12/1/2021)

  • Early clinical information suggests that the Omicron variant does not pose a higher risk of death or hospitalization for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • Just like other COVID-19 variants, unvaccinated individuals are at higher risk of death or hospitalization.

Will the current COVID-19 vaccines protect against the Omicron variant? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with Omicron variant. Breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
  • With other variants, like Delta, vaccines remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

Will current COVID-19 treatments work on the Omicron variant? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • Certain monoclonal antibody treatments may be less effective against the Omicron variant.
  • Contact your healthcare provider to find out what treatment may be right for you.  

Can the tests we have for COVID-19 detect the Omicron variant? (Updated 12/1/2021)

  • Yes, both common antigen tests, like the BinaxNOW test, and molecular tests can identify cases of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant. Those tests will not tell you if you have the Omicron variant, but they will tell you if you have COVID-19.

Has the Omicron variant been found in Maine? (Updated 12/20/2021)

  • Maine CDC announced on December 17, 2021 that the first cases of the Omicron variant were identified in Maine.
  • The Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab and Jackson Laboratory both perform COVID-19 genomic sequencing in Maine.  This includes the Omicron variant. You can find the most updated report of genomic testing here.

Has the Omicron BA.2 variant been found in Maine? (Updated 3/1/2022)

  • On February 28, 2022, Maine CDC announced that the first cases of the Omicron BA.2 variant were identified in Maine.

Will there be a vaccine for the Omicron variant? (Updated 12/1/2021)

  • Public health researchers and vaccine manufacturers are working to determine how well current vaccines protect against the new variant.
  • That science will take time, so the best thing that you can do to protect yourself and loved ones from any new potential risk posed by the Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and to get boosters when appropriate.

What steps can I take to keep myself and my family members safe from the Omicron variant during holiday gatherings, travel, and other times? (Updated 2/24/2022)

  • The recommended precautions have not changed.
  • The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated and stay up to date.
  • Wear face coverings in public indoor places. When possible, open windows to promote air flow. Gather outdoors when possible. Stay home and avoid others if you feel sick.

How can I find out what variant I have? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • Maine CDC is not able tell you what COVID-19 variant you may have.
  • Work with your healthcare provider or testing location to see if this is a service they can provide.
  • In most cases, COVID-19 recommendations do not change based on variant type.  Treatment options for COVID-19 available in Maine are all effective against the Omicron variant.  Work with your healthcare provider to decide what treatment may be right for you.

Prevention and Vaccines

How does wearing a face covering prevent the spread of COVID-19? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • COVID- most commonly spreads between people through respiratory droplets or small particles like aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
  • Because it helps contain respiratory droplets, wearing a face covering has been proven to be one of the most significant, effective, and easiest ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • See US CDC's Guide to Masks for more information.
  • You can also learn more about the types of masks and respirators and ways to improve how your mask protects you.

Do I need to wear a face covering indoors? (Updated 3/1/2022)

  • Individuals who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a face covering when around other people for 10 days.
  • US CDC recommends that individuals wear face masks in indoor public settings and practice other prevention strategies depending on the COVID-19 Community Level in the county and individual risk for severe disease.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19? (Updated 3/1/2021)

  • You are considered fully vaccinated after at least 14 days following the completion of your COVID-19 vaccination series.
    • For individuals who receive the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, this starts after the second dose. For individuals receiving the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, this starts after the single dose.
  • US CDC recommends staying up to date on all recommended COVID-19 booster vaccines.

I am not fully vaccinated. Do I need to wear a face covering? (Updated 3/1/2021)

  • Individuals who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a face covering when around other people for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
  • US CDC recommends that individuals wear face masks in indoor public settings and practice other prevention strategies depending on the COVID-19 Community Level in the county and individual risk for severe disease.

I am fully vaccinated. Do I need to wear a face covering? (Updated 3/1/2021)

  • Individuals who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a face covering when around other people for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
  • US CDC recommends that individuals wear face masks in indoor public settings and practice other prevention strategies depending on the COVID-19 Community Level in the county and individual risk for severe disease.

When can I get a COVID-19 booster shot? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • Please visit US CDC's "Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines" to find out if and when a COVID-19 booster is right for you or your child. This is based on your age, the type of vaccine you received for your primary COVID-19 vaccination series, and how long it has been since your last COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you are immunocompromised, an additional COVID vaccine dose may be recommended for you.  Talk to a healthcare provider to find out if this is right for you.
  • Booster vaccines are widely available across the state at doctor's offices, pharmacies, and hospital clinics. Find a vaccination site here or call 1-888-445-4111.

When am I considered "fully boosted"? (Updated 1/28/2022)

  • You are considered "boosted" as soon as you receive your COVID-19 booster shot. You do not have to wait 14 days to be considered "boosted.""

Where can I get my 5 to 11-year-old child vaccinated? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • The US CDC recommends that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.
  • At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine is recommended for children 5 to 11 years of age.
  • At this time, all children ages 5 to 17 years may receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine.  Visit this page to find out when your child may receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Contact your child's healthcare provider or your local pharmacy to ask about availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for your child. You can also find vaccine sites in Maine offering the pediatric vaccine here.
  • You can find more answers about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine here.

Can businesses, schools, or organizations require face coverings? (Updated 3/1/2022)

  • Yes. Businesses and other organizations may adopt policies for their employees or clients that require wearing a face covering, require vaccination, or require proof of vaccination to avoid wearing a face covering.
  • US CDC recommends that individuals wear face masks in indoor public settings and practice other prevention strategies depending on the COVID-19 Community Level in the county and individual risk for severe disease.

Can businesses, schools, or organizations require employees or visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Yes, businesses and other organizations may adopt policies for their employees or clients that require vaccination, require wearing a face covering, or require proof of vaccination to avoid wearing a face covering.

Where can I report a business that is not enforcing COVID-19 prevention recommendations? (12/10/2021)

  • If you have a complaint about how a business is handling COVID-19 prevention recommendations, first contact the management of the business to discuss your concerns.
  • If you believe the situation poses a public health risk, contact your local health officer.

Where can I find US CDC's county COVID-19 data? (Updated 7/28/2021)

  • Find US CDC's COVID-19 data tracker here.
  • As of July 27, 2021, US  CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a face covering in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Fully vaccinated individuals may choose to wear a face covering regardless of level of transmission, especially if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe disease or live with someone who is in this category.

Where can I find US CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels information? (3/1/2022)

  • Find US CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels here.
  • US CDC recommends that individuals wear face masks in indoor public settings and practice other prevention strategies depending on the COVID-19 Community Level in the county and individual risk for severe disease.

Are there any cleaning recommendations to prevent COVID-19? (Updated 7/7/2020)

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc.) daily using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Find cleaning recommendations for households with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases here.

Testing

Where can I find a COVID-19 test in Maine? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Visit www.maine.gov/covid19/testing to find a list of testing sites in Maine.
    • This is not an all-inclusive list.  Other healthcare facilities in Maine may offer testing.  Maine CDC recommends that you call ahead to learn about test availability before visiting one of these sites.
  • Maine CDC cannot guarantee test type or appointment availability at these sites. Please call ahead to ask questions about appointment availability, test type, and timing of results.
  • For more information see "Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Maine? (PDF)"

Will I be charged for a COVID-19 test? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • For sites funded by the State of Maine (Swab and Send sites or Walgreens stores offering antigen tests):
    • Will not charge the patient or bill insurance.  They may still collect insurance information if available.
    • Find these sites here.
  • Commercial pharmacy locations offering PCR tests (like Walgreens and CVS):
    • Will bill insurance for those who are insured.
    • Sill submit for reimbursement to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for those that are uninsured.
    • Individuals should not be billed directly for PCR testing.
  • Independent healthcare providers, walk-in clinics, or hospitals:
    • May charge or bill insurance for COVID-19 testing. Those without insurance may be responsible for any charges.
    • Ask about cost when making an appointment or upon arrival for testing.   

Do I need a doctor's order to get a COVID-19 test? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Individuals do not need a doctor's order to be tested at a Swab and Send site or commercial pharmacy supported by the State of Maine (find those sites here).
  • Other types of testing sites may require a doctor's order or for the individual to be symptomatic in order to test.
  • Due to high testing demand, some sites may not provide testing for travel clearance.
  • Call the testing site prior to scheduling or arrival for testing to find out if an order is needed.

I was tested for COVID-19. How long will my results take? How can I find results? (Updated 3/24/2020)

  • Contact the healthcare provider that tested you for a timeframe and for results.
  • Maine CDC does not provide test results to individuals.

What should I know about at-home COVID-19 testing? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • Find updated guidance for at-home, self-collected tests for COVID-19 here (PDF).

Do I need to report my at-home, self-collected COVID-19 test result to Maine CDC? (Updated 1/24/2022)

  • No, you do not need to call Maine CDC to report your positive test result. Maine CDC does not collect results from at-home, self-collection tests.
  • If you have questions about what you should do after a positive test, call your healthcare provider or Maine 211.

Quarantine (for close contacts of a person with COVID-19)

What is a close contact? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • A close contact includes:
    • Being within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 cumulative minutes or more over 24 hours
    • Providing care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
    • Direct physical contact with an infectious person (ex: hugging/kissing)
    • Sharing eating or drinking utensils
    • Being exposed to respiratory droplets from an infectious person (ex: sneezing/coughing)

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Quarantine means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus but are not currently symptomatic.
  • Isolation means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus.  Isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

How do I know if I need to quarantine? (Updated 2/24/2022)

  • You need to quarantine if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 if:
    • You are age 18 or older and completed your primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, but have notstayed up to date on your vaccine.
    • You are unvaccinated or have not completed your primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • You can use this flow chart (PDF) to help decide if you need to quarantine.
  • The person with COVID-19 should reach out to you to let you know about your exposure. If the exposure happened at work, your employer may also reach out to you to notify you of your exposure.

Do I need to quarantine? (not a healthcare worker) (Updated 2/24/2022)

  • This guidance is for people who are not healthcare workers.
  • You need to quarantine if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 if:
    • You are age 18 or older and completed your primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, but have not stayed up to date on your vaccine.
    • You are unvaccinated or have not completed your primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • You can use this flow chart (PDF) to help decide if you need to quarantine.
  • You do not need to quarantine if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 if:

Do I need to quarantine? (healthcare worker) (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • This guidance is for people who are healthcare workers.
  • As a healthcare worker, you may or may not be required to quarantine from work after a COVID-19 exposure. This depends on your vaccination and booster status, the type of your exposure, and the staffing situation at your workplace.
    • Work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine their requirements for quarantine based on this guidance.
  • Generally, healthcare workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine as long as they are fully vaccinated and have received all CDC-recommended boosters. Check with you employer to understand their requirements.
  • If you have to quarantine, you should:
    • Stay home. You cannot go out in public (for example to work, the grocery store, banks, gas stations, beaches, or parks).
      • You can leave quarantine for emergency or necessary medical care.  If you are symptomatic, please call ahead.
      • You may leave your house for outdoor exercise activities, such as swimming or hiking, provided that you abide by physical distancing guidelines and avoid contact with other people.
    • Avoid contact with people in your household as much as possible.  
      • Your household members can continue to leave the house if they are not also in quarantine.
    • Wear a well-fitting face covering when around other people at home as much as possible. 
  • Work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when and how frequently you should get tested, based on this guidance.
  • If the employee develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should contact their employer immediately. 

When do children need to quarantine? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • For children who are fully vaccinated and may receive a booster dose (5-17 year olds):
    • You do not need to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.
    • You should wear a face covering anytime you are around other people for 10 days.
    • You should take a COVID-19 test on day 5 after your last exposure.
    • If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test, and isolate at home.  
  • For children 17 years of age and younger who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated:
    • You need to quarantine. Stay home for 5 days. 
      • You can leave quarantine for emergency or necessary medical care.  If you are symptomatic, please call ahead.
      • You may leave your house for outdoor exercise activities, such as swimming or hiking, provided that you abide by physical distancing guidelines and avoid contact with other people.
      • Your household members can continue to leave the house if they are not also in quarantine.
      • Wear a well-fitting face covering when around others at home as much as possible.
    • After 5 days, you can leave your home, but should continue to wear a well-fitting face covering around other people for an additional 5 days.
    • You should take a COVID-19 test on day 5 after your last exposure.

How long should I quarantine if I live with a COVID-positive person? (Not a healthcare worker) (Updated 1/28/2022)

  • If you live with the COVID-positive person and they cannot completely isolate from you, you may need to quarantine for a longer period of time (if you need to quarantine (PDF)).
  • If the positive person does not have symptoms (asymptomatic):
  • If the positive person has symptoms:
  • If the positive person is asymptomatic but develops symptoms during isolation:

How long should I quarantine if I live with a COVID-positive person? (Healthcare workers) (Updated 1/28/2022)

If I already had COVID-19, do I need to quarantine if I am a close contact? (Updated 1/28/2022)

  • If you had a positive molecular COVID-19 (PCR, NAAT, or isothermal) or antigen test, you do not need to quarantine if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case within 90 days (3 months) after your first positive test, as long as you remain asymptomatic. You should wear a well-fitted face mask at all times around others for 10 days following your exposure.
    • After this 90-day period from your first positive test, you will need to quarantine if you become a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case.
    • This 90-day exemption includes positive at-home, self-collected tests results. 
  • If you are unable to wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days following your exposure, you should quarantine (PDF) for the full 10 days.
  • An individual who believes they had a previous COVID-19 infection but did not have a positive COVID-19 molecular or antigen test must still quarantine after an exposure.

What if I cannot wear a well-fitted facemask and I am a close contact? (Updated 1/28/2022)

  • If you are exposed to COVID-19 and CANNOT wear a well-fitted face mask, regardless of your vaccination status or previous COVID-19 infection, you need to quarantine (PDF) for 10 full days.
  • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact with the positive person, even if you do not develop symptoms.

How do I quarantine? (Not a healthcare worker) (Updated 3/24/2022)

  • Use the quarantine calculator here to help you find out how long to quarantine.
  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through the end of day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
    • The date of your last exposure to the person with COVID-19 is considered day 0.
    • Wear a well-fitting face covering when you are around others at home as much as possible.
    • If you live with the positive person and they cannot fully isolate from you, you may need to quarantine for longer than 5 days. Use this guidance (PDF) to figure out when you can leave quarantine.
  • For 10 days after your last exposure to the person with COVID-19, watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms at any time, isolate and get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.  If you test negative, you can leave isolation and finish your quarantine period.
  • If you do not develop COVID-19 symptoms, get a test at least 5 days after your last exposure to the person with COVID-19.
    • If you test negative, you can leave quarantine, but continue to wear a well-fitting face covering around other people until 10 days after your last exposure to the person with COVID-19.
    • If you test positive but do not have symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days until you meet the criteria to be released from isolation (PDF).
    • If you test positive and have COVID-19 symptoms, isolate until you meet the criteria to be released from isolation (PDF).
    • If you are unable to get a test you can leave your quarantine after day 5 as long as you do not develop symptoms. Wear a well-fitting face covering until 10 days have passed since your last exposure to the person with COVID-19.
  • If you are unable to wear a face covering when around others, you should continue to quarantine at home for the full 10 days.
  • For the whole 10 days after your last exposure, stay away from other people (including the people you live with), especially people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
    • Especially avoid people who are immunocompromised, at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings. X
  • Do not travel during your 5-day quarantine period.
    • Get tested at day 5 and make sure your test result is negative and you remain symptom-free before traveling.
    • If you do not get tested, delay traveling until 10 days after your last close contact. If you must travel before 10 days is complete, wear a well-fitting face covering for the entire duration of travel when around others. If you cannot wear a face covering, do not travel during this 10-day period.
  • During the 10 days after your last close contact, do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and avoid eating around others at home and at work until after day 10.

Will Maine CDC contact me if I am a close contact? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • It is very important that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 notify their close contacts as soon as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Due to the rapid transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and consistent with a recommendation from public health experts, Maine CDC announced that it suspended all state-level contact tracing effective February 8, 2022.
    • Some state-level contact tracing will still occur in certain higher-risk congregate residential settings or based on epidemiological changes in the virus.
    • As a result, Maine CDC will likely not contact you to let you know of your exposure. 
  • If a person with COVID-19, your employer, or your child's school notifies you of a COVID exposure, please follow the quarantine instructions regardless of whether you hear from Maine CDC. You can find out more about quarantine here.

When can I leave quarantine? (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • If you are not a healthcare worker, you can leave quarantine when you meet the release from quarantine criteria (PDF).
  • If you are a healthcare worker, work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when you can return to work using this guidance.

What should I do if I had contact with someone who is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (Updated 11/20/2020)

  • If you are a contact of someone who is a close contact of a COVID-19 case, you do not need to quarantine.  Continue to practice everyday prevention measures as you normally would.

I was in quarantine for being a close contact. Can I get a release from quarantine letter for my employer? (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • Maine CDC does not provide release from quarantine letters.
  • You should work with your employer to determine when you can safely return to work.

Who decides how long people must quarantine in Maine? (Updated 10/27/2021)

  • Public health policies, such as quarantine length, are determined by local health authorities and are based on the latest available science from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC). According to the U.S. CDC, "Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs."" In Maine, the "local public health authority" is the Maine CDC.
  • The Maine CDC's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the Investigation of COVID-19 in Pre-K-12 Schools sets forth Maine CDC's recommendations for prevention and management of COVID-19 in school settings. But where a particular public health policy applies generally to everyone in the state, regardless of age or setting, only the Maine CDC may establish the policy (e.g., quarantine or isolation length). For matters that are internal to a school setting, the school system itself may set the guidance. Schools must adhere to Maine CDC's uniform, statewide quarantine policy.

Isolation (for people who have COVID-19)

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine? (Updated 12/29/2020)

  • Quarantine means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus but are not currently symptomatic.
  • Self-isolation means that you need to separate yourself from others because you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus and you are experiencing symptoms. 

How do I know if I need to isolate? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • You should isolate immediately if you have COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. This includes:
    • If you test positive on a COVID-19 viral test (molecular or antigen, including at-home antigen tests)
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, including while you are waiting for test results.
  • The healthcare provider or testing site that collected your specimen should contact you to let you know the results of your test.  If you test positive, isolate immediately.
  • Maine CDC may contact you if you test positive to collect more information about your symptoms, exposure, and close contacts. You do not need to contact Maine CDC to report your own results.

I tested positive for COVID-19. Now what should I do? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • Regardless of your vaccination status, as soon as you find out about your positive test result OR when you start experiencing symptoms (whichever is sooner), you should isolate.
  • Early treatment can be instrumental in preventing severe disease. Even if your symptoms are mild, talk with a healthcare provider or a "test and treat" facility to see if COVID-19 treatment may be right for you. Find more information here.
  • If you are a healthcare worker, work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when you can return to work using this guidance.
  • If you are not a healthcare worker, you should follow this guidance (PDF).
  • Notify your close contacts to let them know about their exposure.  
  • Maine CDC may call you to gather information about your symptoms, exposures, and close contacts.  It is important that you answer this call.

What about COVID-19 treatment? (Updated 5/18/2022)

  • Visit www.maine.gov/covid19/treatment or call 1-888-445-4111 for information on how and where to get treated for COVID-19.
  • Do not wait until you are very ill. COVID-19 treatment works best if started within the first 5-7 days after symptoms begin.
  • Treatment is only available for people with COVID-19 symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test, which can include an at-home test.

Do I need to isolate if I am fully vaccinated? (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • Yes, regardless of vaccination status, if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive on any antigen or molecular COVID-19 test, you should isolate (PDF) immediately.
  • If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when you can leave isolation and return to work using this guidance.

How do I isolate? (Updated 3/24/2022)

  • Use the isolation calculator here for help in how long you should isolate.
  • Stay home and separate from others. As much as possible, stay in a specific “sick room” or area of the house and use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • If you cannot fully isolate from other people in your household, they may need to quarantine for a longer period of time. Use this guidance (PDF) to find out how long they may need to quarantine.
  • If you must be around others in your home, wear a well-fitting face covering at all times when around others.
  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (like trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately. You can leave isolation for emergency medical care, but should let them know that you have COVID-19, if possible.
  • Do not share personal household items, like cups, towels, or utensils.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Isolate until you meet the criteria to leave isolation (PDF), based on whether you have symptoms.

When can I leave isolation? (not a healthcare worker) (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • This guidance is for people who are not healthcare workers.  
  • You should stay in isolation for a minimum of 5 days. Use this flow chart (PDF) to determine when you are able to leave isolation.
  • If an antigen test is available, take a test toward the end of the 5-day isolation period, only if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.
    • If the test results are positive, continue to isolate for another 5 days.
    • If the test results are negative, you can end isolation but continue to wear a well-fitting face covering until 10 days after your symptoms started or you first tested positive.
  • Once you are able to leave your sick room and home, continue to wear a well-fitting face covering for 5 days at home and in public around other people. 
    • If you cannot wear a well-fitted face mask, you should isolate for at least 10 full days (leaving isolation when you are fever-free for 24 hours without using medication and your symptoms are improving.
  • You should not travel while you are in isolation. After you end isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms or first positive test.
    • If you must travel during this period after ending isolation, wear a well-fitting face covering when you are around others for the entire time you are traveling.
    • If you are unable to wear a face covering, you should not travel during this time.
  • These criteria do not apply to healthcare workers, people with severe COVID-19, people with weakened immune systems or people in certain high-risk congregate settings.

When can I leave isolation? (healthcare worker) (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • This guidance is for people who are healthcare workers.
  • Work with your employer or workplace contact (occupational health, etc.) to determine when you can return to work if you tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-like symptoms.
    • Your employer will provide guidance based on your vaccination and booster status, staffing situation at your workplace, and this guidance from US CDC.

How do I know who my close contacts are? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • You can find more information about identifying your close contacts here.  

Do I need to tell my close contacts about their exposure to COVID-19? (Updated 10/22/2021)

  • Yes, you should notify your close contacts about their exposure.
  • If a Maine CDC case investigator reaches out to you, you should also share the names and contact information for your close contacts with the investigator.

Will Maine CDC contact me about my positive test result? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Due to an increase in case volume, Maine CDC has focused its efforts to follow up with COVID-19 cases on a smaller range of ages or those who meet certain criteria.  Depending on available resources and case levels, Maine CDC may follow up with other cases who do not meet these criteria.
  • As a result, Maine CDC may not contact you if you test positive.  It is very important that you notify your close contacts yourself and let them know about their exposure.

Why have I not heard from Maine CDC about my positive test result? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Due to an increase in case volume, Maine CDC has focused its efforts to follow up with COVID-19 cases on a smaller range of ages or those who meet certain criteria.  Depending on available resources and case levels, Maine CDC may follow up with other cases who do not meet these criteria.
  • As a result, Maine CDC may not contact you if you test positive.  It is very important that you notify your close contacts yourself and let them know about their exposure.

Why did I receive a text about a positive result? (Updated 12/29/2020)

  • People who test positive for COVID-19 and provide their telephone number to their testing site will receive a text message from Maine CDC letting them know about the positive result.
  • Individuals will also be directed to more information on what to do next.  

I received a text from Maine CDC about a positive result but have not tested recently. Why did this happen? (Updated 12/10/2021)

  • When Maine CDC receives a positive lab result, they send a text message to the phone number that is reported with the lab result.
    • Maine CDC does not have a way to verify that this number is correct.
  • Several family members may list the same contact phone number when getting a COVID-19 test. If you receive this text message, ask other family members if they had a recent COVID-19 test.
    • COVID-19 test results should come from the healthcare provider or facility that collected the COVID-19 sample.  

How do I know if the positive result text from Maine CDC is legitimate? (Updated 2/18/2022)

  • Messages from Maine CDC will come from the number 22300.
  • The message will say “Maine CDC is aware of a positive COVID test result at this number. Isolate and inform close contacts of exposure.”  Visit this website for more information on what to do if you test positive.

What should I do if I already had COVID-19 within 90 days and became symptomatic again? (Updated 1/6/2022)

  • An individual who develops new onset of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the 90-day period following the initial positive result should be retested and should isolate.
    • If the test comes back positive, they will need to isolate until they meet the criteria to be released from isolation (PDF).
    • If the test comes back negative, they will need to isolate until 24 hours after symptoms resolve without fever-reducing medication.  They should also contact a healthcare provider to see if there are any other steps they should take.

I had COVID-19 and was in isolation. Can I get a release from isolation letter for my employer? (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • Maine CDC does not provide release from isolation letters.
  • You should work with your employer to determine when you meet criteria to leave isolation and safely return to work. If you are a healthcare worker, use this guidance with your employer.  If you are not a healthcare worker, use this guidance (PDF).

COVID-19 Information for Businesses, Schools, and Childcare Facilities

Where can I find information about the COVID-19 response in schools? (Updated 9/17/2021)

Why does the quarantine guidance that the school told me for my child differ from the general guidance? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • The quarantine guidance for students in Maine schools depends on multiple factors, including if the student is fully vaccinated, if they recently tested positive for COVID-19, if they participate in school pooled testing, and whether the school strictly enforces a mandatory masking policy.
  • If students meet certain criteria, they may be allowed to continue attending school and school-based activities if they are close contacts, though they may still need to quarantine when outside of school.
  • You can find more information in the Standard Operating Procedures for Responding to a Positive Case in Schools.
  • Please contact your school with questions about why specific guidance was given for your student.

What is Maine CDC's masking guidance for schools? (Updated 3/3/2022)

  • On March 2, 2022, Maine CDC announced a shift in recommendations from universal masking in schools and childcare programs to optional masking in schools and childcare programs.  This change takes effect on March 9, 2022.
  • This change does not affect isolation or quarantine protocols.
  • Individuals who would like to continue wearing a mask are encouraged to do so.
  • Read more about this change in the March 2nd press release.

What do I need to do if one of my employees tests positive for COVID-19? (Not a healthcare worker) (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • The employee needs to immediately isolate at home, regardless of vaccination status.  If the employee is at work when notified of the positive result, please send them home immediately.
  • Gather the names of close contacts of the positive employee. While maintaining the confidentiality of the positive employee as much as possible, notify the close contacts of their exposure.  Use this guidance (PDF) to determine if close contacts need to quarantine.
  • Inform other employees who do not meet the definition of close contact of their potential exposure, while maintaining the confidentiality of the positive employee, and advise them to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • Clean and disinfect the workplace around the employee's workstation, including high-touch shared surfaces.
  • In most cases, closing the facility is not necessary, providing you can maintain staffing needs while employees isolate or quarantine appropriately.
    • Make sure you have a policy in place to support employees who must isolate, quarantine, or care for sick family members.

What do I need to do if one of my employees tests positive for COVID-19? (healthcare worker) (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • Use this guidance to determine isolation guidance for your employee.
  • Gather the names of close contacts of the positive employee. While maintaining the confidentiality of the positive employee as much as possible, notify the close contacts of their exposure.  Use this guidance (PDF) to determine if close contacts need to quarantine.
  • Inform other employees who do not meet the definition of close contact of their potential exposure, while maintaining the confidentiality of the positive employee, and advise them to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • Clean and disinfect the workplace around the employee's workstation, including high-touch shared surfaces.
  • In most cases, closing the facility is not necessary, providing you can maintain staffing needs while employees isolate or quarantine appropriately.
    • Make sure you have a policy in place to support employees who must isolate, quarantine, or care for sick family members.

If one of my employees tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to report it to Maine CDC? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • The places and people required to report any reportable disease (PDF), including COVID-19, are health care providers, medical laboratories, health care facilities, childcare facilities, correctional facilities, educational institutions, administrators, health officers, veterinarians, and veterinary laboratories.
  • If you do not fall into one of the above categories, you are not required to report COVID-19 positive cases to Maine CDC.

If one of my employees tested positive for COVID-19, should I notify the rest of my employees? (Updated 12/4/2020)

  • Inform your employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19.  Employers should do contact tracing within their own facility and notify all close contacts of their need to quarantine.
  • Employers must keep the identity of the individual who tested positive confidential.

Do I need to close my business if an employee is positive for COVID-19? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • In most cases, closing your facility is not necessary, provided you can maintain staffing to operate safely while employees follow appropriate isolation (PDF) and quarantine (PDF) guidance.

 

I run a childcare facility. What do I need to do if a staff member or child tests positive for COVID-19? (Updated 3/24/2022)

  • Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate (PDF) immediately.  If the positive case is in your facility when they receive results, they should go home to isolate as soon as is safely possible.
  • Collect the names of children and staff who are close contacts. While maintaining the confidentiality of the positive person as, notify the close contacts of their exposure.  Use this guidance (PDF) to determine their quarantine requirement.
  • Inform other staff and parents of children who do not meet the definition of close contact of their potential exposure, while maintaining the confidentiality of the positive person, and advise them to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • Clean and disinfect the facility, including high-touch shared surfaces.
  • Closing the facility is not necessary, providing you can maintain staffing needs for safe operation while staff isolate or quarantine appropriately.
    • Make sure you have a policy in place to support staff who must isolate, quarantine, or care for sick family members.

I run a childcare facility. What do I need to do if a parent of a child tests positive for COVID-19? (Updated 3/24/2022)

  • If the child of the positive parent is a close contact, the child needs to quarantine (PDF) and should not come to your facility.
  • Collect the names of children and staff who are close contacts of the positive parent. While maintaining the confidentiality of the positive person, notify the close contacts of their exposure.  Use this guidance (PDF) to determine their quarantine requirement.
  • Clean and disinfect the facility, including high-touch shared surfaces, especially places where the parent may have been in your facility, starting from 48 hours before their symptoms started or their positive test was collected if asymptomatic.

My employee is in isolation/quarantine. Should I require a release letter to let them come back to work? (Updated 4/13/2021)

  • No. Maine CDC does not provide release from isolation/quarantine letter.
  • You should work with your employee directly to determine when it is safe for them to return to work.

Should I require retesting or a negative test result for my employee to come back to work after they had COVID-19? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Maine CDC does not recommend retesting or requiring a negative test result for employees to return to work.
  • This is because a person who had COVID-19 may continue to test positive for the virus for up to 90 days without being infectious.

Daily Life and COVID-19

I need help with rent assistance/evictions due to COVID-19. Who can I contact? (Updated 12/21/2020)

I am in isolation or quarantine and need help with groceries or other resources. How can I get help? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Fill out this referral form for assistance with groceries, medications, and other resources while in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine.

How can I cope with stress or grief during the COVID-19 pandemic? (Updated 4/22/2020)

  • An outbreak of COVID-19 in your community may be very stressful. Maine CDC has information available (PDF) for individuals who may be stressed, need to connect with someone, or are in crisis.
  • A Frontline Warm Line is available for first responders, health care workers, those in law enforcement, and anyone else who is involved in the direct response to COVID-19. 
    • Call 207-221-8196 or 866-367-4440 to connect with someone for support services.
    • Volunteers staffing the Warm Line include licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, and nurse practitioners.

Travel

Should I travel (domestic or international) if I have COVID-19 or was a recent close contact? (Updated 5/4/2022)

  • Do NOT travel if:
    • You have COVID-19 symptoms, even if you recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days or are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
    • You tested positive for COVID-19.
      • Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
    • You are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.
    • You had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and need to quarantine
      • Do not travel until a full 5 days after your last close contact with the person with COVID-19.  It is best to avoid travel for a full 10 days after your last exposure.
      • If you must travel during days 6 through 10 after your last exposure:
        • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact.  Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19.
        • Properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during days 6 through 10. If you are unable to wear a mask, do not travel during days 6 through 10.
  • If you had close contact with a person with COVID-19 but are NOT recommended to quarantine:
    • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact.  Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling.
    • If you travel during the 10 days after your last exposure, properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.

What are masking recommendations for travel? (Updated 5/4/2022)

  • US CDC recommends that everyone aged 2 and older properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, buses, etc.) and transportation hubs (such as airports, train stations, bus stations, etc.). This is regardless of vaccination status.

What are Maine's policies for domestic travel for non-healthcare workers? (Updated 5/4/2022)

What are Maine's policies for international travelers coming to Maine for non-healthcare workers? (Updated 5/4/2022)

  • See US CDC guidance for international travel for recommendations on what to do before, during, and after traveling, regardless of your vaccination status.
  • For individuals who arrive in Maine more than 5 days after travel, follow guidelines for domestic travelers arriving in Maine.

What are Maine's policies for domestic travel for healthcare workers? (Updated 1/6/2022)

What are Maine's policies for international travel for healthcare workers? (Updated 1/6/2022)

What type of test do I need to get if I am coming to Maine from outside the United States? (Updated 12/29/2021)

  • Find requirements for entering the US here.

I need a specific COVID-19 test type (PCR, antigen) to travel. Where can I find a test? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Visit www.maine.gov/covid19/testing to find a list of COVID-19 testing sites. This is not an all-inclusive list.
    • Maine CDC cannot guarantee the availability of appointments, test type, or timing of results at these sites. Call ahead to learn more from the site before arriving for a test.
  • Maine has seen recent dramatic increases in demand for COVID-19 testing.  If you know that you need a test for travel, make an appointment as soon as possible.  Some sites may not provide testing for travel clearance due to high demand.

What kind of COVID-19 test do I need to go to Canada? (Updated 9/17/2021)

  • Find information about COVID testing prior to going to Canada here.

I cannot find a COVID-19 test for travel. What should I do? (Updated 11/23/2021)

  • Due to high testing volume at this time, state-sponsored COVID-19 testing sites are not currently providing testing for travel clearance. Maine CDC does not keep an updated list of all testing sites in the state. 
    • Check with local pharmacies, urgent cares, and healthcare providers for testing availability in your area.  Call ahead as soon as possible to schedule your test.
    • It is up to the discretion of individual pharmacies and healthcare providers to offer testing for travel purposes.
  • Maine has seen recent dramatic increases in demand for COVID-19 testing.  If you know that you need a test for travel, make an appointment as soon as possible.  Some sites may not provide testing for travel clearance due to high demand.

I need a vaccine card with a QR code or a SMART Health Card to travel. Where can I get this? (Updated 2/15/2022)

  • Maine CDC’s Immunization Program does not issue these types of electronic codes with vaccine records.
  • You can find a list of issuers in Maine who offer SMART Health Cards with a QR code here.
    • You can also find FAQs about SMART Health Cards here.