The City of Portland is updating the public today on its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, manage outbreaks, and provide vaccination opportunities. The City’s public health campaign, StaytheCourse.me, continues to offer educational information and materials related to slowing the spread and information on when and how people can get vaccinated. Public Health staff added additional FAQ information this week related to how the two currently available COVID-19 vaccines work. City Hall continues to offer only limited in-person services so as to protect visitors and staff.
“This is not the time to let up on your prevention efforts,” said Mayor Kate Snyder. “While we realize people may be getting tired of adhering to these precautions, help is on the horizon with the emergence of vaccines. But in the meantime, in an effort to reduce the number of positive cases and prevent future deaths, the best way to stop community transmission is to wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay physically distant. And when you become eligible, I do hope you’ll get vaccinated.”
Operationally, City staff are managing outbreaks among its guests at the Barron Center, Family Shelter, and Oxford Street Shelter. According to the Maine CDC, outbreak status is reached when a facility has three or more positive cases within a fourteen day period. Unfortunately, as is the case at many long-term care facilities, the Barron Center has had several deaths occur recently among its resident population. Staff has been working tirelessly with Maine CDC officials to ensure proper protocols are followed, contact tracing occurs, and contingency plans have been put in place.
As numbers related to positive cases change daily, those interested in receiving any data related to outbreaks should refer to the Maine CDC Director’s biweekly briefing. The City has also been busy managing and responding to positive cases among its employees, which has led to various staffing shortages at times.
“The current conditions of COVID-19 are impacting our city and staff in great ways, and we’re doing everything we can to manage staff who have been affected by the recent surge in the virus,” said City Manager Jon Jennings. “In addition to staff who’ve been personally affected, others are dealing with the way this has impacted our operations, on top of all of their other daily responsibilities. Many have been working around the clock as issues arise and contingency plans must be activated. My top priority is for the safety of the residents of this city and our city staff. I’m proud of the work our staff has done for almost a year now in trying to combat the virus.”
City staff has also been working closely with Maine CDC officials on vaccination distribution efforts for the public, while also working on plans to vaccinate its public facing employees, Barron Center guests, and shelter guests. The Barron Center has already held two vaccine clinics, and planning efforts are underway for offering vaccines to shelter guests as soon as they become eligible. The Maine CDC is entering the final planning stages of using the James A. Banks, Sr. Portland Exposition Building as a public vaccination site. The Expo is included in the City’s emergency management plans as a resource for this type of situation.
While residents should refer to the State’s Vaccination page for the most up to date information, older Portland residents may call the City’s Office of Elder Affairs at 207-541-6620 for further assistance in accessing information. Portland's Elder Advocate, Linda Weare, will try to find answers to questions and help people navigate through the system.
Reminder About Accessing City Hall Services
Treasury Office: The Treasury Office assists customers with vehicle registration and property tax payments. The office is currently open by appointment only. Click here to make an appointment.
City Clerk’s Office: The City Clerk’s Office assists customers with birth, death, and marriage certificates, elections and voting information, and dog and hunting/fishing licenses. This office is open for walk-in service in Room 24 (basement level) of City Hall. Customers must use the Myrtle Street entrance, wear a mask, and complete a health screening before entering.
Parking Office: The Parking Office is open for walk-in services to obtain a new resident permit parking sticker or pay a parking ticket. Customers with previous resident permits do not need to come in as they were extended through June 30, 2021. Customers who need to pay a parking ticket are encouraged to pay online if possible. To access the office, customers must use the Myrtle Street entrance to City Hall, wear a mask, and complete a health screening before entering.
Other City Departments continue to serve customers electronically and virtually. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com or by calling 207-874-8300.