Prevention & Testing


What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus, officially referred to as COVID-19, causes a respiratory illness with mild to severe symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure. COVID-19 is spread via droplets expelled while sneezing or coughing. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.


What can I do to prevent COVID-19?

COVID-19 is spread via droplets expelled while sneezing or coughing. You should cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available) and dispose of the tissue immediately. It is imperative you wash your hands or use sanitizer after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing to prevent the spread of the virus. You should also wear a mask and  in public spaces.

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing, also called social distancing, means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings


Does a cloth face mask prevent COVID-19?

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 ways to prevent you from being infected with COVID-19.  Face shields do not take the place of a face mask.


Should I wear a cloth face mask?

As of 5/1/2020, 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:

  • Indoor spaces that are accessible to the public such as grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies and healthcare facilities
  • Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for takeout service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area
  • Public transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, ride-sharing or similar service
  • Ferry, bus, or train
  • Any semi-enclosed transit stops or waiting areas

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.

The CDC recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. For more information on handwashing techniques and how to make and wear face coverings, visit the CDC page at:


Why did the CDC make the recommendation to wear cloth face masks?

Recent studies indicate that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus before showing symptoms. The CDC is recommending the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Click here for more details:


Where do I get cloth face masks?

You can make a cloth mask from common household materials, even if you don’t sew. Easy-to-follow instructions are available here, and here, and elsewhere online.  Note, these cloth face mask coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  These items are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • The mask should be machine washable and reusable
  • When removing a mask, do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2


What should I do if I experience symptoms?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you experience a medical emergency, call emergency response (911).


What if I’m unsure about whether I should I seek treatment?

The Coronavirus Self-Checker, available on the website, can help you determine the appropriate next steps if you think you may have the illness.


Where and how can I receive testing for COVID-19?

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider's office for direction on what to do next and to learn if a test is necessary. Information about testing and testing site locations is available at


Can smoking or vaping increase my risk of COVID transmission?

Yes, smoking and vaping can potentially increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to hand to mouth contact. In addition to physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID transmission, it is important not to share vaping mouth pieces or hoses.


Does smoking put people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications?

Tobacco use puts people at higher risk for many health conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) people who smoke may be at higher risk of developing complications and severe illness related to COVID-19 infection.  Learn more from MayoClinic:


Where can I get help with quitting smoking or vaping?

The Maine Tobacco HelpLine offers telephonic tobacco and vaping support and treatment services at

1-800-QUITNOW, or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (Spanish line).  The HelpLine is available 24 hours per day seven days per week. Additionally, the HelpLine provides web-based services, including online enrollment and web coach programming, accessible through


Does Health Options provide coverage for tobacco cessation medications?

Yes, Health Options provides benefits for FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications at $0 cost share for up to six months when prescribed by a healthcare provider. 


Contact us:

If you have questions, please contact Member Services at (855) 624-6463 or