April 06, 2020
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Behind the scenes at Maine CDC’s daily press briefings

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Chris Butler takes New England cable News Network reporter Dustin Wlodkowski's temperature before letting him in to the Maine CDC daily COVID-19 press briefling in Augusta on Monday. Capital Police Officer Joseph Morelli keeps watch between them.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control instated new rules for its daily COVID-19 press briefing aimed at slowing the spread of the disease on Monday.

Multiple television cameras are no longer allowed into the press conferences with CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah in order to limit the number of people in the small media room. Instead, at today’s press briefing, Maine Public provided one camera and other stations accessed the feed from an output box on the edge of the parking lot outside.

“Maine CDC chose to move the site of Dr. Shah’s briefings as an effort to minimize risk to the media,” CDC Communications Director Robert Long said.

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
A television photojournalist (middle photo) strings cable from an output box to his livestream equipment outside the Maine Emergency Management Agency (top photo) in Augusta on Monday. Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah's daily COVID-19 daily press briefing with interpreter Regan Thibodeau (bottom photo) was held inside with just one camera to limit the number of journalists in attendance.

The briefing has moved from a state office building to the more secure Maine Emergency Management Agency facility on the edge of town. Journalists allowed inside were first screened with a thermometer and asked five health-related questions. They also were required to sanitize their hands before entering.

Once inside, journalists were asked to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another and offered more hand sanitizer.

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah gives his daily COVID-19 press briefing in Augusta on Monday inside the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

“We are striving to adhere to the same physical distancing practices for which Dr. Shah advocates,” Long said. “We appreciate the Maine media’s flexibility and recognition of the need to balance access with protecting the health of reporters, interpreters, and camera people.”

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Television cameras sit on the ground while hooked up to an output box outside the Maine Emergency Management Agency in Augusta on Monday.

The BDN will stream the press briefing on its website here around noon on weekdays.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect title for Robert Long.

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