COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
Information is current as of 1/12/2024 and is subject to change.
View a downloadable version of the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
Text highlighted in yellow indicates most recently updated information.
Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
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 days after exposure to the virus.
- Some people infected with COVID-19 may be infectious before showing symptoms. They can also be infectious and not show any symptoms (asymptomatic spread).
How long can someone test positive for COVID-19 after being released from isolation? (Updated 8/12/2022)
- Once you leave COVID-19 isolation, you may continue to test positive for COVID-19 on some COVID tests for up to 90 days after your symptoms first started.
- Talk to a health care provider about what treatment options may be right for you. They can give you a prescription.
- Spread may sometimes happen through contact with contaminated surfaces, but this route is less likely. Spread from droplets when peoples cough, sneeze, sing, or talk is more likely.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Wash your hands frequently.
- Find information on COVID-19 variants in the United States here.
- Maine does not have a mask mandate.
- US CDC recommends wearing a face covering when around other people for 10 days if:
- US CDC recommends wearing face masks depending on the COVID-19 Hospital Admission Level in the county. You may also want to wear a mask based on your individual risk for severe disease.
- Call a health care provider or local pharmacy to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you. You can also visit this locator.
- Talk to your health care provider and visit Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines to find out if you are up to date.
- Check with your child’s health care provider or your local pharmacy to find COVID-19 vaccine. See if your child is up to date here.
- You may be charged for a COVID-19 vaccine. They may charge you directly or bill your insurance.
- If you are uninsured or underinsured, ask your health care provider or pharmacist about options that might be available to you. You can also visit a local Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
Where can I report a business that is not enforcing COVID-19 prevention recommendations? (12/10/2021)
- Please contact the management of the business with concerns about COVID-19 prevention.
- If you believe the situation poses a public health risk, contact your local health officer.
- Find cleaning recommendations here.
- Many health care providers and pharmacies offer testing. Call ahead to ask if testing is available before visiting.
- Many insurance companies offer reimbursements when you purchase at-home COVID-19 tests. Check with your insurance company to find out about their policy.
- Find updated guidance for at-home, self-collected tests for COVID-19 here.
Do I need to report my at-home, self-collected COVID-19 test result to Maine CDC? (Updated 1/24/2022)
- 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.
- For questions about what to do after a positive test, call your health care provider or Maine 211.
- If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Wear a high-quality face mask when around others at home and indoors in public for 10 days from your last exposure. During this time, monitor yourself for symptoms. You do not need to quarantine.
- Get tested on day 6. If you test negative, continue monitoring for symptoms and masking through day 10. If you test positive, isolate immediately. Find more information here.
- If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, please find specific guidance for post-exposure testing here.
- If you are a health care worker, work with your employer to determine if you need to stay out of work based on this guidance.
Do I have to stay out of work if I live with a COVID-positive person? (Health care workers) (Updated 4/27/2023)
- Work with your employer using this guidance to find out what you should do.
- Isolation separates people with COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. Isolating means you should stay at home and stay away from others in your home as much as possible.
- Isolate immediately if you have COVID-19. 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.
- Isolate as soon as:
- You find out about your positive test result OR
- You start experiencing symptoms (whichever is sooner).
- Early treatment can help prevent severe disease. Even if your symptoms are mild, talk with a health care provider to see if COVID-19 treatment is right for you. Find more information here.
- If you are a health care worker, contact your employer. They will help you figure out when you can leave isolation and return to work using this guidance.
- If you are not a health care worker, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home as much as possible. Follow this guidance.
- Talk to a health care provider for information on COVID-19 treatment. Find more information here.
- Stay home and separate from others. As much as possible, stay in a specific “sick room” or area of the house. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- If you must be around others in your home, wear a well-fitting face mask 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 and necessary medical care. 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.
- This guidance is for people who are not health care workers.
- Follow this guidance on when to leave isolation..
- This guidance is for people who are health care workers.
- Work with your employer to figure out when you can return to work. Use this guidance.
- Wear a mask until you meet these criteria.
What should I do if I already had COVID-19 within 90 days and became symptomatic again? (Updated 8/12/2022)
- If you start to feel symptoms again during the 90-days following your first positive result, isolate immediately. Get an antigen test.
- If the test comes back positive, continue to isolate.
- If the test comes back negative, isolate until 24 hours after symptoms resolve without fever-reducing medication. Contact a health care provider to see if there are any other steps to take.
- Find updated K-12 school guidance here.
- The employee needs to immediately isolate at home.
- Disinfect the workplace around the employee’s workstation. Make sure to clean high-touch shared surfaces.
- In most cases, closing the facility is not necessary. Remain open as long as you can maintain staffing needs while employees isolate appropriately.
- Have a policy in place to support employees who must isolate or care for sick family members.
- If the employee is a health care worker, use this guidance to determine isolation guidance for your employee.
If one of my employees tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to report it to Maine CDC? (Updated 4/27/2023)
- The places and people required to report any reportable disease are listed on the bottom of the Notifiable Diseases and Conditions List.
- If you do not fall into one of these categories, you are not required to report COVID-19 cases to Maine CDC.
I run a childcare facility. What do I need to do if a staff member, child, or parent tests positive for COVID-19? (Updated 4/27/2023)
- Follow this guidance for early childcare programs.
I need help connecting with health programs and resources in Maine. How can I connect with these resources? (Updated 1/10/2023)
- Maine DHHS Community Care Program helps Mainers connect to health programs, social services, and other resources across the state. This program is for everyone and is designed to help people who may experience barriers in accessing resources that they are eligible for.
- Fill out this referral form to get started.
- Note: This program does not provide access to emergency resources or services. If you have an urgent medical need or emergency situation, please call a health care provider, dial 911, or dial 988 for a mental health emergency.
- Visit Strengthen ME for free stress management, resiliency, and mental wellness resources available to anyone in Maine.
- Dial 988 if in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Where can I find information about travel (domestic or international) if I have concerns about COVID-19? (Updated 1/12/2024)
- Find information for travel here.
- Visit U.S. CDC for information on when to consider wearing a mask when traveling or using public transportation.