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Maine Cities And Towns To Get $9M In Grants To Help Combat COVID-19, As 32 New Cases Diagnosed

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Augusta, Maine.

Maine is reporting another 32 cases of COVID-19, but no new deaths. According to new figures the state Center for Disease Control released Friday, a total of 3,102 cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the state since the pandemic's onset, and 103 people have died.At a briefing Friday, Gov. Janet Mills said relative to other states, Maine's numbers are "so encouraging, but we can't let down our guard" as the state continues to reopen its economy. Mills said the administration is making $9 million in grants available to Maine cities and towns for public education campaigns, efforts to institute physical distancing, sanitation, health and code officers and other local strategies to combat the virus.

Mills said the grants are being distributed to more than 90 cities and towns that submitted coronavirus plans, "each one uniquely targeted to their individual circumstances."

Mills urged Maine residents to continue to diligently follow health and safety guidelines.  

Shah said in the Houlton area, 300 people were tested after four members of the Houlton Ambulance Service were diagnosed with COVID-19. He said only one of those tests was positive.

Nonetheless, Mills said soaring caseloads in other states such as Texas, Florida and Arizona are a "cautionary tale" for Maine as the state's economy continues to reopen.

"The pandemic is not over. We are not immune from what we see happening in other states," she said.

Shah said the record numbers of daily cases being diagnosed in some states serve as "a test case of what can happen if you move too quickly" to reopen the economy. The result, he said, "reinforces the case for decisions we made here," one of which was to delay indefinitely a plan to reopen bars for indoor service.

A total of 2,542 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19, Shah said. That's 30 more than Thursday.

The cumulative number of people who have been hospitalized at some point during their illness remains unchanged at 343. Twenty-eight people are currently hospitalized, nine of them in intensive care. Six people are on ventilators.

Updated 12:23 p.m. June 26, 2020.