Will we know if there are positive cases on the island?
Facilities that conduct testing do not release test results to the public and Maine CDC (MCDC) does not directly notify the Town nor the Public Health Officer when someone on the island has tested positive. However, Islands Community Medical Services (ICMS) in cooperation with the Town and the Vinalhaven Public Health Officer, have implemented a HIPPA compliant protocol that will allow certified contact tracers from ICMS to conduct contact tracing and which will allow the Public Health Officer to release positive case count numbers to the public.
Testing facilities do not share positive test results with municipalities. They only share positive results with the patient and/or medical provider and with MCDC. MCDC, or another MCDC certified entity, then conducts contact tracing to find all the people with whom the positive patient may have had close contact..
The Vinalhaven Public Health Team monitors Maine case counts daily. The Maine CDC website provides case counts by zip code, county, and a variety of other metrics. Positive case counts are attributed to the county and zip code of the patient’s PRIMARY residency. This means that people on the island who test positive but whose primary residence is elsewhere, will not affect the Vinalhaven case count.
The reality is that having positive cases on the island should not change what we do on a daily basis. The recommendation of Maine CDC is to “act as though the virus is here” so following CDC Guidelines at all times is essential to keep yourself, your family and the community safe.