CART Minutes June 16, 2020
Committee Attendees: Melissa Yosua-Davis; Bev Johnson, Mary Holt, Donna Damon, David Hill, Leila Bisharat, Eliza Jane Adams, AL; Marjorie Stratton, Town; Carol Sabasteanski, CTC; Polly Wentworth, CBL: Kim Venkataramin, Tennis;
Public Attendees: Marcia Howell, Chip Emery, Donna Colbeth, Nancy Hill, John Holt, Kip Webb, Paul Belesca
Donna called the meeting to order at 2:05 PM. She filled in for Melissa.
Leila moved to accept the minutes as revised and David seconded: Unanimous
CTC Update: Carol reported that CTC is still evaluating whether the crew will handle freight at Cousins. They can now carry 32 passengers because the Coast Guard allowed the upper deck to be used without a deckhand. Cousins parking lot is very full because so many people are staying home. Effective Friday 6/19 the only day parkers who will be allowed to park there are those with a yearly pass and those who are coming to the island for medical reasons. Day workers will have to park at
RT. 1 if they donÕt have a sticker. To date about a dozen families have
barged over to quarantine.
State Covid-19 Grant:
Donna and David reported that they had attended a webinar with the State CDC and MMA re: a new grant opportunity to compensate municipalities for staff time, equipment, programs, and supplies related to the pandemic. The total amount to be awarded is $13 million. The State is inviting communities who need financial assistance to deal with issues around Covid 19 to apply, and they encouraged creative approaches. The State is considering the TownÕs population as both the summer as well as the year-round numbers. The deadline to apply is Mon. June 22. The grant would reimburse for covered expenses incurred between June 8 and October 31, 2020. Some of the possible covered items could be the percentage of staff time spent on Covid related activities including crowd control at CBL, communications, committee meetings etc. In addition, supplies and equipment such as hand sanitizer/dispensers, cleaning supplies, protective shields for the Town office and School, PPE, and signs would be covered.
Several members mentioned the potential of volunteer burnout and suggested that staff positions should be included to deal with crowd control at the wharves, playground supervision, communication, coordination, and liaison with school, businesses and non-profits etc. Dedicated staff could work with CART and Marjorie and take on some of the work such as ordering and distributing supplies and tracking expenditures for the grant.
Marjorie cautioned that sometimes grants have strings and are not worth the amount of work to do the accompanying paper work. She questioned whether it was worth applying.
It was noted that the just the plexiglass shield for the Town Office cost about $1300. The school needs two shields and supplies that might be covered. Consultants and/or part time staff could cost a lot of money. Leila urged that we apply because volunteers are exhaused and the effort canÕt be maintained at the current level through October.
David moved that CART recommend to the BOS that we apply for the grant. Eliza Jane seconded.
9 yes-1 No. Motion carried. Donna and David will present the grant opportunity to the BOS at their meeting on June 17.
Communications Update: Eliza Jane shared two designs for the mask signs. There was much discussion on what the signs should say. Paul thanked Kim for reaching out and offering a wharf sign for the CBY, but they would create their own. Several people mentioned that the State policy was that they were required if social distancing was not possible. Everyone liked the lobster with the mask. KimÕs son Devan, designed the lobster. There was a question about materials. Several types of signs were suggested. Eliza Jane pointed out that the BOS have the final say. CART is just recommending. Marjorie stated that she had used a company where metal signs can be ordered at a reasonable price. David moved and Nancy seconded that lobster with the mask be used on the signs. Unanimous.
Leila thanked the sign creators. She reported that MarjorieÕs latest letter is on line. Erika, Chip, and Bev are working on the most recent Covid Update. It is hoped that updates will be needed less frequently. She reported that more people are arriving all of the time and that the welcome packets are well received. They are given to those barging over as well as other new arrivals. Bev wanted folks to call her if they noticed corrections to the update.Donna thanked Leila and her team for all of the hard work. The Team has done more than anyone anticipated!
CBL Update: Polly reported that CBL will revert to the winter schedule for summer 2020. That means 7 trips a day! (See CBL Website for schedule) There may be freight boats. She hopes the schedule will work better for Kathleen Floyd, our ail carrier who lives on Long Island.
CRC Update: Eliza reported that Carrie Meehan has resigned from her position at Kids Place. She said to show her love when we see her around town. Polly asked why the kids at Day Camp didnÕt wear masks. Eliza will find out.
Town Update: Marjorie reported that people were streaming in to register cars and boats. The BOS voted to hold a referendum vote at the polls instead of holding a regular Town Meeting because the State has declared that the number of people in a gathering can only be 50, and it would be difficult to meet the guidelines. In addition to creating the ballots for the referendum, Marjorie will write a letter to the public to explain the new process. The Town will be voting on 1 select board and 2 school board openings as well as the Town budget and State primary candidates. The July 14th election will have only two voting booths and social distancing will be practiced.
COVID-19 Testing Update: Kip Webb stated that the funding requested from Recompense, should they receive the grant, would be sufficient to support the program to help the uninsured and underinsured. See more detail attached.
Listening Session Update: Melissa described the program that will be led by Melissa and Marjorie to be held 6/25 from 7:30 pm to 8:30pm. The purpose is to provide folks who have been here as well as others who are arriving or have yet to come, an opportunity to discuss their feelings about Covid related issues and this different summer that is our new reality. Participants will have an opportunity to join a small group to discuss. Facilitators are Marjorie, Melissa, Leila, Eliza, Polly and Donna. A planning meeting will take place on June 18. Kip wondered if there had been an attempt to engage people on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Polly stated that it was important for people to be able to be ÒrealÓ and express their feelings. Mary cautioned that folks need to be respectful. Donna noted that this could be a hard conversation for many.
At 3:32 pm Polly moved to adjourn and Bev seconded. Unanimous.
Next Meeting 6/23 at 2 pm on Zoom.
From Kip Webb: Here is the final verbiage that I would propose:
"I have exciting news of progress on the testing front. We have two testing strategies in the works. They are complementary, but different for structural reasons that I can describe below.
1. Testing our most vulnerable: the Island Commons.
As you know, congregate care facilities have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. When one person becomes infected, it can spread like wildfire--with dire consequences. With that in mind, we are partnering with the State of Maine such that if something happens, we can quickly respond with Universal testing in the Island Commons. We already have test kits and swabs from Maine Emergency Management Agency. Tests will go to the State Health and Environmental Testing Lab (HETL) in Augusta. Getting tests from here to there is a pain, but we are testing the process today to make sure we get the kinks out in case of emergency. Stay tuned.
This is in contrast to..
2. Testing the occasional person who gets sick on the Island as well as their immediate contacts.
In this case, we were looking for the convenience of on-island testing for people who might get sick with COVID-like symptoms. We wanted to establish an on-island testing option (saving that sick person two ferry rides AND saving all those other passengers the exposure risk to a sick person in tight quarters) using an affordable, convenient lab. We looked at several options but settled on Quest for four reasons:
a. They got it. We are a vulnerable community and they wanted to partner.
b. They are a national lab, meaning that people coming from away probably have Quest on their insurance plan. and
c. They were 1/3 the price of Nordx AND offered a sliding scale for people that are uninsured/underinsured.
d. They have worked with the Casco Bay Lines to get specimens from the islands to their labs.
They offer their regular option in which a doctor does the swab and sends in the specimen. This option is available immediately and they are sending me the swabs this week. They also offer a new "Quest at Home" option in which patients swab themselves and send the specimens through the mail to the Quest lab. This option has several advantages but won't be available until the end of the month. When the kits are available, they will also send them to my house, saving us precious days to diagnosis in case of someone becoming ill. They are also greasing the skids to get specimens transported on the Casco Bay Lines, which they have done in the past for lab tests from other islands.
So far, Quest has been a great and generous partner. I should have further updates next week.
Important additional information
With neither of these Quest options are we thinking about "Universal Testing". No one from the Maine CDC is advocating that except in high risk areas like congregate care facilities and meat packing plants. We are also not considering offering this testing to someone who has come from out of State and wants to avoid quarantine. This would potentially undermine Governor Mills "Know before you go" strategy. While that would offer a nice safe, convenient option for our Summer friends and neighbors, it is beyond the scope of what Jim, Jenny and I can do. Because it could increase the volume of tests 10-fold or more, we would really need help from the Town to implement.
Finally, the beauty of these programs is their flexibility: the programs are voluntary and up to the patients themselves. If anyone would prefer to go to their Primary Care doctor on the mainland to get tested and treated, anyone on Chebeague has that option."
I think this ... captures the spirit of what I said as well as some additional important information.