Community Health Options (Health Options) gathered for its 2020 Annual Member Meeting via webinar on November 19. Typically an in-person gathering, this year’s virtual meeting was made notable with Health Options’ having the honor of hosting Maine Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, as guest speaker.
Health Options’ CEO and President Kevin Lewis provided a review of newly elected board members, 2020 achievements and financial results, and welcomed Dr. Shah, who shared his perspective on leading Maine’s statewide response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, from early public health actions to small town outbreaks and the current resurgence.
Dr. Shah has gained local and national notoriety for his no-nonsense approach to educating Maine people about the risks and necessary precautions of living with COVID-19. In an interview with Scientific American, he said sharing hard facts and asking for simple calls to action, such as mask-wearing, helped keep infection rates low.
“In public health, our first and most important job is to get the people behind us,” said Dr. Shah.
Dr. Shah gave advice for planning safe holiday gatherings:
“It’s a critical time to be part of the healthcare community. From local pharmacies, to state and national healthcare policy makers, we are all in this together,” said Lewis. “Dr. Shah reminded us that each of our actions count when it comes to keeping our communities as safe and healthy as possible through the holidays and beyond. As a community-oriented non-profit healthcare insurance provider, working together is something we take seriously every day, especially now.”
Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe.
As of May 1, 2020, all Mainers are required to wear a cloth face covering when out in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, per order of Governor Mills. The order identifies public settings as:
Cloth face coverings are not required for children under age 2, a child in a child-care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Wearing a cloth face mask is mostly to protect other people from getting sick. Physical distancing, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, and hand washing are still the primary way to prevent you from being infected with COVID-19.