The Thorndike Town Office will be closed for at least a week after the only two staff members who work in the office tested positive for COVID-19.
The first case was detected last week, though the town’s select board did not make the decision to close the office until it learned of the second case over the weekend. The town office hasn’t opened for business this week. It’s expected to be closed until at least Sept. 22, according to Thorndike Second Selectman Jeff Trafton, who also serves as the Waldo County Sheriff.
Trafton did not know whether or not the staff members were wearing masks while working in the office. However, Trafton said protective barriers that separate the staff from the public entering the office are still in place.
Trafton said he did not know if the staff members had contact with the public while they were infected. He said anyone who went into the town office toward the end of last week may want to monitor for symptoms and get tested.
The town has not required mask wearing in the office since Gov. Janet Mills rescinded mask mandates earlier this year.
However, the Maine Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone ― regardless of vaccination status ― wear masks indoors in areas with high or substantial community transmission of the virus. Waldo County has been experiencing high transmission rates for the bulk of the summer.
Despite the two town employees testing positive, Thorndike Harvest Day ― a daylong community event ― will still be held as scheduled on Saturday. The outdoor event will feature a parade and craft fair, as well as food and music.
Since the event is being held outdoors, Trafton said he does not feel that it should be canceled due to the recent cases. If the event were being held indoors, he said he would have recommended that it be canceled.
While the select board is hoping to reopen to office on Sept. 22, Trafton said that date is fluid and depends on the recovery of the staff members.
As of Tuesday afternoon, neither the town’s website or the town’s voicemail system had a message indicating that the office was closed. However, Trafton said the closure notice has been posted in a community social media forum.