Guidance on COVID-19

This page was last updated at 11:00am on April 6, 2020.

Maine state animal health officers recommend that veterinary clinics in Maine follow the AVMA's recommended measures regarding COVID-19. The "Keeping veterinary teams healthy" and "Caring for veterinary patients and interactions with clients" sections provide practical measures that clinics can implement.

On March 24th Governor Janet Mills mandated that all non-essential businesses in Maine close their physical locations that are public facing. Those employed in veterinary health are among the list of essential workers that are permitted to continue to work with the public.

On March 26, 2020 Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation published guidance for agricultural/animal care operations. This guidance further defines what activities are permissible during the Governor's executive order.

  • The document specifies "essential hoof maintenance and veterinary care" for Livestock/Equine/Captive Cervids.
  • For Companion animals, the guidance allows for "essential veterinary care, including spay/neuter, treatment for infectious disease."

Please read the document for the full list of services.

UMaine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has notified the MVMA that it will continue to accept cases by arrangement; the front office will not be open and clients must call 541-324-1912 to arrange sample acceptance.

Guidance documents from the state of Maine:

Interim Guidance for Agricultural/Animal Care Operations (March 26, 2020)

Letter from the state veterinarians office regarding COVID-19 (March 20, 2020)

FAQ on Companion Animal Coronavirus Testing (March 20, 2020)

Guidance from Maine DHHS regarding veterinary practices inquiring about client health:

HIPAA does not apply to veterinary practices, and Maine does not have a Veterinary Confidentiality Law, but veterinarians are bound to their code of ethics regarding how they protect their records.

However, Given Governor Mills’ declaration of an extreme public health emergency, it is absolutely appropriate for the veterinarian’s office to ask a pet owner direct questions about his/her health status/travel in order to keep staff from being infected and/or infecting others. The AVMA suggests screening clients for exposure to the virus, taking histories remotely, using telemedicine wherever possible, etc.
To that end, reasonable questions to ask would include:
 
Have you in the past 14 days:
  • Traveled to Maine from one of the affected countries or regions listed at healthvermont.gov/covid19)? As of March 2020, those countries are – most of Europe, China, Iran, and South Korea YES / NO
  • Been in contact with a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infected person or someone who is suspected to have the illness? YES / NO
  • Have you had the following symptoms in the last few days: Felt unwell, especially with respiratory symptoms (cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)? YES / NO

Apple has also worked with the Federal CDC on a new screening app that they could share with their clients.https://apps.apple.com/us/app/apple-covid-19/id1504132184

Additional Resources

AVMA:

CDC:

FDA:

Enforcement Policy Regarding Federal VCPR Requirements to Facilitate Veterinary Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Outbreak

WHO:

Advice for the public

U.S. State Department:

Travel information

USDA

USDA Statement on the Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Tiger in New York

World Organization for Animal Health (OIE):

Questions and Answers

World Small Animal Veterinary Association:

Frequently Asked Questions

Joint Statement on Veterinary Practices as Essential Businesses

 

Legal Resources

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