Estados Unidos: Maine to provide more help for renters; school caution urged

Maine to provide more help for renters; school caution urged

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine will dedicate more than $6 million to help residents who can’t pay their rents due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Janet Mills said Friday.

The use of federal coronavirus relief funds will extend Maine Housing’s COVID-19 Rental Relief Program through December, said Mills, a Democrat. Mills said states around the country, including Maine, need Congress to approve more relief soon.

“In the meantime, I will do all I can to keep people secure in their homes this holiday season,” Mills said.

The state has dedicated more than $28 million in coronavirus relief funds to the rental help program since April.

The announcement came at a time when the recovery of jobs in the state appeared to slow. Unemployment in Maine fell to 5.4% in October, the Maine Department of Labor said Friday. That was a decline of less than a percentage point from September’s rate.

In other pandemic news in Maine:


The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 2.13%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine, the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 1.42% on Nov. 5 to 2.13% on Nov. 19.

The state has reported more than 9,900 cases of the virus and 173 deaths.


The Mills administration also announced Friday that another county has joined the intermediate category in the state’s color-coded school safety designation system.

York County joined Androscoggin, Franklin, Somerset and Washington counties in the “yellow” category. Knox County has joined the lowest risk category, green, which includes every other county in the state.

The state recommends that school districts in counties designated yellow consider new precautions and possibly hybrid instruction models to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.


Maine is renewing its “Keep Maine Healthy” campaign that seeks to encourage precautions about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services launched the campaign in June. The administration of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday it would use $100,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds to extend the campaign into January.

The campaign uses social media, digital, television and streaming media advertising, the governor’s office said. It will remind residents of the importance of actions such as social distancing and wearing face coverings, DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said.

The DHHS also announced that 52 more Walgreens pharmacies will begin offering free drive-through COVID-19 testing on Friday. That brings the total number to 65 in Maine.

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