Sen. Angus King reacts to first presumptive coronavirus case in Maine

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WABI) - Senator Angus King says it's unfortunate to hear Maine has its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19, but it's not surprising.

He says the right steps are being taken to make sure we are safe.

Washing your hands and not touching your face are just a few things you can do to try to stay healthy.

Senator Angus King, said, "The ultimate responsibility has to be for the individual as you say to just take reasonable precautions under these precautions. One of the most important is cough, fever, chills, number one go home. If it persists call your doctors. If we can break the back of this thing in terms of its spread that's the best thing we can do for the country."

King says his Washington D.C. Office will temporarily switch to telework.

It comes after new restrictions were put into place at the Capitol Complex.

We're told a congressional staffer who works in the Hart Senate Office building has tested positive for coronavirus.

That building is where Senator King's D.C. Office is located.

The press release says there's no indication Senator King or any of his staff members had contact with that person.

Here are two of King's statement:

U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement in response to the Governor’s announcement that Maine has its first presumptive positive test for novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19:

“Today’s news of Maine’s first presumptive positive COVID-19 diagnosis is both concerning and expected. Given the spread of the disease and its presence in other New England states, it was always likely that the disease would impact Maine people. With this in mind, the State of Maine, led by the Governor and the Maine CDC, has been working for the last several months to prepare to diagnose, treat, and contain COVID-19. The measures announced by Governor Mills today – including recommending postponing large events and cancelling non-essential out-of-state travel by state employees – are smart, prudent approaches to get ahead of this disease.

“The arrival of COVID-19 underscores the need for Maine people to take common sense steps to protect themselves and reduce any possible community spread. Please, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds, and stay home if you’re sick. If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, reach out to your physician, or call the Maine coronavirus hotline at 2-1-1.

“This situation is unprecedented, at least in recent memory – but we can always find lessons in history. When the Spanish Flu struck in 1918, cities across America took different approaches to combat this disease. St. Louis acted decisively, canceling a pre-planned parade, while Philadelphia allowed its parade to continue. In the following month, Philadelphia saw more than 10,000 deaths from the Spanish Flu; St. Louis, only 700. In hindsight, the decision seems obvious – and I am hopeful that hindsight will look kindly on the decisive action taken by Maine today.”

"U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that he will be temporarily shifting his Washington, D.C. office operations to telework in response to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Senator King’s decision comes after the Senate Sergeant at Arms instituted new restrictions to the Capitol complex, including closing the Capitol to all tours and preventing visitors from accessing Senate Office Buildings without staff escorts. Yesterday, a Congressional staffer who works in Hart Senate Office Building – where Senator King’s D.C. office is located – tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, there is no indication that Senator King or any member of his staff had contact with this staffer.

“In response to news that at least one staff member working in the Senate has tested positive for COVID-19, staff in my Washington, D.C. office will be shifting to telework,” said Senator King. “At this moment, I have no reason to believe that I or any of my staff have come into contact with someone who was infected by COVID-19 – but given the stakes, I have a responsibility to lead by example.

“This shift will not prevent me or my staff from working to support and protect Maine people. I will continue to work on the floor of the Senate to pass legislation that will bolster America’s efforts to confront the coronavirus and remedy the economic fallout, and my staff will continue to be accessible for Maine people. Maine people should know that we are still hard at work on their behalf.

“My first priority is the health and safety of my staff and the Maine people. I am confident that this step will help prevent further spread of this disease without hindering our ability to serve the people of Maine.”

Senator King’s Maine offices will remain open. Any Maine people looking to speak with a member of his staff can call the following office locations:

Augusta: 622-8292
Bangor: 945-8000
Biddeford: 352-5216
Presque Isle: 764-5124 "