YCCAC and COVID-19: Updates
At York County Community Action Corporation, we are committed to providing the health, education and human service programs that advance the public good, promote understanding through education, and enrich the human experience for those in our community and beyond. We are also a source of information during times of disruption, as we are all experiencing now. Please read carefully the information below, and return to this site frequently, as it is regularly updated with information that could be helpful to you and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please scroll down for updated information.
What can I do to keep myself, my family and the larger community safe and well during a COVID-19 outbreak?
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, especially when out in public;
• Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick;
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away;
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the general public wear a mask to prevent COVID-19
What if I have symptoms or think I may have been exposed to COVID-19?
It is understandable that any kind of cold or flu-like symptoms might provoke anxiety when an outbreak of this type dominates our daily news. Be aware, first and foremost, that the vast majority of people infected with the virus experience it as they would a common cold or the flu, and make a full recovery. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Most individuals with symptoms need do nothing more than stay home and care for themselves until they are well. If, however, you experience more severe symptoms or are otherwise concerned about your symptoms or have reason to believe you were exposed to someone known to have COVID-19, call your healthcare professional before presenting to the clinic, hospital or emergency department. This is the best way to determine the right course of treatment for you and to limit the spread of infection. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Symptoms
Should I be tested?
Patients who should be considered for testing include those individuals who have symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and have returned within 14 days from an area with a known COVID-19 outbreak or have been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19. If you feel you should be tested for COVID-19, please call your healthcare professional so you can get the care you need and limit the spread of possible infection. Guidance for who should be considered for testing is likely to change. Should I be Tested?
Should I change my travel plans or avoid large gatherings?
Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. If you are in this high-risk group, the federal Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that you reconsider travel and avoid crowds. Please see the CDC’s website for more information on what you can do to prepare. If you are not in a high-risk category, there are also some recommendations and warnings about traveling to places in the world with ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19. Travel: Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
Maine Equal Justice and Pine Tree Legal Assistance have helpful information for those at risk of eviction, foreclosure and utility disconnects during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as information about applying for unemployment and other benefits. YCCAC staff are always available to help as well! Call us at 207-324-5762, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Safe, But Also Stay Active
Getting physical exercise, if only by taking a short walk, is important during this time of “sheltering in place” and “social distancing.” The physical movement itself can help relieve stress, promote better sleep, and boost your overall mood.
An article published in the Courier/Post on April 2nd defines “recreation” under Maine’s stay-at home order:
Maine Inland Fisheries Wildlife officials say engaging in outdoor exercise such as fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, walking, running, and more are permitted under the executive order issued by Gov. Janet Mills, just as long as people continue to follow social distancing guidelines.
“Getting outside to go fishing, hiking, canoeing, scouting for a hunt, or other outdoor activities are essential to not only your physical health, but your mental health as well, particularly during these difficult times,” said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso. “The governor and I continue to encourage people to get outdoors, but to do as close to home as possible and in strict adherence to physical distancing requirements. While it is important for your mental health to get outside, it is also important to do so safely.”
Over at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, officials noted some conservation lands and beaches have been closed, due to recent overuse and crowding, but others remain open. People can check what’s open and what isn’t at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/recreation/index.html
Whatever your activity, it is important to avoid crowds and to maintain social distancing—staying at least six feet away from other people. Maine Island Fisheries and Wildlife official also recommend that people “visit lesser known spots and explore close to home, stick to adventures within their experience and comfort level, tell someone you’re headed and when you expect to return.”
Homebuyer Education Classes Go Online
Social distancing in a classroom filled with students is hard to achieve. So YCCAC’s Homebuyer Education classes, which are held one or two times a month and facilitated by Homebuyer Education Coordinator Lee Sullivan, have gone online. The program is currently offering a time limited discount of $10 off per person (for a cost of $20), and $15 off per couple (for a cost of $35).
The webinars, like the traditional classroom sessions, are scheduled either full-day (9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) or, to accommodate those who prefer later hours, over three evening sessions (for instance, the next available class is April 27, 28 and 30, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM). The webinar schedules are designed to be accessible to anyone interested in becoming a homeowner.
The registration process is easy and takes only a few minutes to complete. Prospective homebuyers click a link that takes them to the Homebuyer Class Schedule. They select a date, and then enter the information requested. That’s all there is to it. Free pre-purchase counseling is available following the classes.
Contact Lee.Sullivan@yccac.org if you have any questions, or to obtain the discount code for the class.
Managing COVID-19 Stress
From Nasson Health Care’s Behavioral Health Team
Our behavioral health team here at Nasson Health Care understands the significant personal changes most people are experiencing in their lives due to COVID19. The need to make important lifestyle changes has happened suddenly with little time to prepare. As a result many people’s lives have become significantly more stressful and isolating.
When stress is heightened due to sudden unexpected changes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Frequently when this occurs the daily stressors that used to be more manageable are not. High levels of stress can result in mental health symptoms such as racing thoughts, anxiety, depression and mood swings. The physical symptoms that can occur with heightened stress are changes in sleep patterns, appetite, muscular tension and headaches just to name a few. Eventually increased stress will impact our overall sense of well being as well as our close relationships.
Our behavioral health team here at Nasson Health Care is working to ensure the community has ongoing access to our services during these challenging times. We are available to meet through scheduled phone sessions for behavioral health counseling. Also if you are an established patient here at Nasson but have not participated in behavioral health services before, feel free to contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment at 297-490-6900.
As part of supporting our community during this time the behavioral health team will be posting information on our website weekly. The postings will include resources that are intended to support healthy self care recommendations and coping skills. Below is a resource that is evidenced based and focuses on ways to soothe ourselves that is easy to learn. When used on a daily basis these tools are helpful in managing some of these stressful symptoms and increasing our overall sense of well being during these stressful times.
The link provided below is meant to support individuals in managing overall levels of stress. This is not meant to take the place of medical advice by your primary care provider. This link is not for promotional purposes in regards to any advertisement being made on the Heartmath website.
From the Nasson Behavioral Health Team
YCCAC Transportation Response to COVID-19
To Our Community Members:
These are extraordinary times. The Governor’s Executive Order, which imposes strict restrictions on all Mainers, is a sobering reminder of the serious challenges we are facing. In order to comply with the Governor’s Order, York County Community Action is making several changes to its Transportation schedule. These difficult but prudent steps will allow us to continue to provide essential services while also helping keep our community and riders as safe as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Effecting April 2nd and extending to April 30th, Sanford Transit, Orange Line, the Southern Maine Conductor, and all local rides have been suspended.
Our WAVE Service will continue to provide transportation to those who deliver essential services, such as health care, if they have no alternative transportation option. All fare charges on the WAVE will be waived through April 30th.
If you need transportation for an essential reason or for an essential job that cannot be done at home, please call us at 207-459-2932. We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will respond to community transportation needs in the best way possible. We thank our loyal riders for their understanding as we all work through these challenging times.
Governor Mills Issues Stay Healthy at Home Mandate
0020 Also orders a series of additional requirements to protect public health and safety in the face of COVID-19
Governor Janet Mills today issued a series of substantial new mandates to protect public health and safety in the face of COVID-19, including a Stay Healthy at Home directive that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes.
The Governor also mandated a series of other new restrictions, including:
• For essential businesses and operations that remain open, limiting the number of customers in their buildings at any one time, implementing curb-side pickup and delivery options as much as possible, and enforcing U.S. CDC-recommended physical distancing requirements for their customers and employees in and around their facilities.
• Prohibiting the use of public transportation unless for an essential reason or job that cannot be done from home and limiting the number of people traveling in private vehicles to persons within the immediate household unless transporting for essential activities.
• Mandating the continued termination of classroom or other in-person instruction until at least May 1, 2020.
• Mandating that, when out of the home or when at work at an essential business, individuals shall maintain a minimum distance of six feet from other persons.
The Executive Order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2020 and will last until at least April 30, 2020. The Governor may amend, rescind, or renew this timeline at her discretion. The Governor also extended the closure of restaurants and bars statewide for dine-in customers until at least April 30, 2020 to align with today’s Executive Order.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest public health crises this world has seen in more than a century. This virus will continue to sicken people across our state; our cases will only grow, and more people will die. I say this to be direct, to be as honest with you as I can. Because saving lives will depend on us,” said Governor Mills. “I implore you – look to yourself, your family, your friends, your loved ones, your neighbors on the front lines, first responders and health care workers fighting the virus, those who can’t stay home; the children who live around the corner, the farmer who grows your food, the grocer and the pharmacist who sell you goods, the teachers who are missing their kids; the fisherman, the sailor, the truck driver, the janitor, the waitress at your favorite diner; these are the people you are protecting by staying home. This is who you are saving.”
Work situation changed? You may be eligible for HEAP fuel assistance
York County residents who are no longer working due to the coronavirus pandemic, or who have had their work hours cut, may now be eligible for fuel assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
If your income has changed, as it has for many York County households, and you’re in need of fuel assistance or help paying a high energy bill, call 459-2950 to speak with a YCCAC fuel assistance intake specialist. Your HEAP application can be taken over the phone—no need to leave home.
Income guidelines have been modified thru May 1, 2020. Apply today!
YCCAC’s Community Outreach workers are on the job, ready to help
York County Community Action’s Economic Opportunity Department has made some adjustments to its programs and services due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Community Outreach staff are still available to provide assistance to those in need.
Economic Opportunity Director Mesha Quinn says that the best way to schedule an appointment with an outreach worker is to call the Sanford office at 324-5762 or 800 644-4242. “You will be connected with an outreach staff member nearest to where you live,” Ms. Quinn says. There are outreach offices in Sanford, Biddeford and Kittery, and all offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Outreach appointments can only be taken by phone, and there are no face-to-face meetings. This precaution adheres to Maine’s social distancing guidelines to safeguard health during the coronavirus pandemic. Persons who come to the Sanford office will be asked to call the Outreach office for further guidance.
“Resources are changing daily and we are here to help people maneuver through this difficult time,” Ms. Quinn says. “The more we know about the specific needs in our community, the better we can respond. Outreach workers are here and ready to provide assistance.”
Maine income tax filing deadline extended to July 15, matching federal tax filing extension
Maine Governor Janet Mills announced Thursday that Maine’s income tax filing will be extended to July 15. The Portland Press Herald reports that Mills announced the move as concern grew that Maine’s deadline was still April 15 even after the federal government extended its income tax filing deadline to July 15 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is my hope that moving back this deadline will help provide a measure of relief to Maine people who are struggling to make ends meet as a result of COVID-19,” Mills said in a statement. “The congressional actions in recent days make this move appropriate and practical.”
YCCAC’s “Buying Your First Home” class going online
As a practical health and safety measure, the Homebuyer Education classes are now being offered remotely, via Zoom. You can still register for the classes online. For additional information, please contact Homebuyer Education Coordinator Lee Sullivan at email@example.com or by phone at (207) 459-2961.
WIC now offering services by phone
Beginning March 23, 2020, all YCCAC WIC services will be delivered by phone appointment to align with social distancing efforts in Maine. WIC clients can call the WIC program office in Sanford (459-2942) or Biddeford (283-2402) to arrange pick up or mail delivery of WIC vouchers. Infant formula can be picked up at the WIC program offices through phone appointment. WIC clients in need of breast pumps and special infant formula prescribed by a physician can also arrange for pick up of these items. Home delivery can be arranged for infant formula not available in stores and breast pumps, if necessary.
Maine CDC Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Update, March 19, 2020
Update on Social Security Services During COVID – 19 Pandemic
YCCAC Transportation Program Helps Community During Coronavirus Pandemic
What Steps Can We Take to Reduce Anxiety in These Unsettling Times?
Restaurants can offer Take-Out, Delivery & Drive-thru ONLY, March 18 through March 31, 2020
Governor Janet Mills has issued an Executive Order mandating that all restaurants and bars statewide close to dine-in customers effective March 18, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. for a period of 14 days, until midnight, March 31, 2020.
Take-out, delivery, and drive-through options can continue. In her order, the Governor also prohibited all gatherings of more than 10 people until further notice, mandating the latest U.S. CDC’s guidance on gatherings.