Healthy Acadia has a limited number of COVID-19 rapid antigen self test kits available at no cost to area residents in Hancock and Washington counties while supplies last. Rapid antigen tests are one of a handful of affordable options promoted by the CDC and other trusted health resources as a tool to help reduce the spread of COVID. The tests can be self-administered at home and provide results within 15 minutes. Self test kits are available from Healthy Acadia while supplies last through an initiative funded by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Program.
Thanks to support from the Maine Public Health Association, Healthy Acadia also has a limited number of gasoline gift cards available to help individuals access COVID-19 vaccination and testing. The gas cards may be used to support travel to vaccine appointments, testing sites, and/or for friends or caregivers to support those in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.
Maine has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases in recent weeks, and many local and regional hospitals and healthcare facilities are overwhelmed and operating at near or at patient capacity due to the number of individuals seeking urgent and critical care. As we enter the winter holiday season and the new year, safety is of the utmost importance as many consider traveling, family gatherings, and visiting public indoor spaces to shop and celebrate.
Healthy Acadia, together with the Downeast COVID-19 Task Force, offers key ways you can help reduce the spread of COVID, to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and our communities safe.
- Be up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. Make sure you’ve had your first full round (two shots for mRNA vaccines – Moderna or Pfizer – and a single shot for Johnson & Johnson). If you get your first shot today, you’ll have some protection within ten days. Get boosted when it is time (six months after your second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two months after your Johnson & Johnson shot). While the COVID vaccines work well, boosters create an increased immune response that can provide stronger protection against severe illness and the more infectious Delta and Omicron variants. Protection from being boosted starts within six days. Boosters are now recommended for all people, aged 16 years and over.
- Mask in indoor public spaces to protect yourself and those around you. Make sure that your mask has a good fit around the nose, chin, and cheeks. Medical-grade masks provide additional protection for yourself and those around you.
- Check in with the places you shop. If masks are not required, request curbside pickup or ask if they would have certain times of the day when masks are required.
- Choose thoughtfully when you gather. Being in crowded places increases your risk of catching COVID-19 and giving it to others.
- Take a COVID test if you are gathering outside your household. This gives you valuable information to reduce the spread of COVID.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. Please stay home, get well, and keep others healthy.
- Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Find a vaccination or testing site and access additional information resources at www.cdc.gov.
To request COVID-19 self test kit and/or gasoline gift card, visit Healthy Acadia’s website – www.healthyacadia.org – and click the “Need Help?” button, or call their COVID-19 Vaccine Peer Support Line, 207-271-6023, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Support Line, launched earlier this month by Healthy Acadia with funds from the DHHS grant, is staffed entirely by local youth and young adults participating Healthy Acadia’s Youth Vaccine Equity Team and aims to support efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among Mainers aged 12-29 years through “peer-to-peer” conversation in a confidential and judgment-free space. Parents and young adults are encouraged to ask any questions they have regarding vaccination.
For more information about COVID-19 resources, please contact Sonya Connelly at email@example.com.
Healthy Acadia is a 501(C)(3) community health organization building vibrant communities and making it easier for all people to lead healthy lives throughout Washington and Hancock counties. This year, Healthy Acadia invites you to join them in celebrating 20 years of empowering people and organizations to build healthy communities together. For more information about Healthy Acadia’s community health initiatives, visit healthyacadia.org.