Jun. 5—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 98 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, bringing weekly averages ever lower with the seventh case count under 100 in the past eight days.
Gov. Janet Mills on Friday submitted her plan to spend nearly $1 billion in federal aid to Maine through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress. The Maine Legislature will now review Mills' proposal, which would allocate $258.4 million for short-term economic recovery programs, $294.5 million for long-term economic initiatives and $418 million for infrastructure improvements. The state will receive $4.5 billion in total, though $3.5 billion of that is already marked for pandemic response efforts, unemployment benefits and relief payments to individuals or municipal governments.
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 68,154 on Saturday. Of those, 49,869 have been confirmed by testing and 18,285 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 71.9, while the 14-day average was 92.2 cases.
Eight hundred thirty-nine people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. The person reported Saturday to have died was a Cumberland County man in his 60s, the Maine CDC said.
The Mills administration's plan to distribute federal aid covers an enormous raft of initiatives, from economic recovery grants to businesses to broadband expansion across the state. Career education programs would receive $105 million alone, along with $50 million to repair roads and bridges, $50 million to upgrade infrastructure at state parks, $80 million to businesses struggling from the pandemic, and $50 million to support Maine "heritage" industries — fishing, farming and forestry.
"It is an awesome responsibility to determine how to use these time-limited funds in a way that stimulates economic growth over the short term and the long term, in ways that will benefit all Maine people," Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, told legislators this past week. "The administration has created this roadmap that is in lock step with the intentions of Congress as they passed this transformative legislation to enable states to move their economies through and past the throes of the pandemic."
Mills first announced an outline of the spending plan in early May, and submitted this past week's revised version after consulting with federal officials. Some Maine lawmakers expressed concern about the limited time remaining to consider the governor's proposal — the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in mid-June — but state Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, who co-chairs the committee that will take up the bill, said she was confident the Legislature would be able to review and pass a stimulus spending bill.
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 722,783 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 715,065 had received a final dose. Out of the state's population of 1.3 million, 53.77 percent had received a first dose.
Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 60.38 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,312 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,876 in Aroostook, 17,143 in Cumberland, 1,349 in Franklin, 1,361 in Hancock, 6,519 in Kennebec, 1,137 in Knox, 1,064 in Lincoln, 3,601 in Oxford, 6,221 in Penobscot, 572 in Piscataquis, 1,463 in Sagadahoc, 2,229 in Somerset, 1,033 in Waldo, 907 in Washington and 13,367 in York.
By age, 18.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.5 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.3 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Maine hospitals on Saturday had 62 patients with COVID-19, of whom 29 were in intensive are and 16 were on ventilators. The state had 75 intensive care unit beds available of a total 383, and 230 ventilators available of 319. There were also 451 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 172.7 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.71 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.3 million cases and 597,251 deaths.