Governor Janet Mills announced this afternoon that she has signed an Executive Order that requires anyone (no medical exceptions) entering all indoor public spaces to wear face coverings. Those refusing to do so must not be allowed to remain in the space and may be subject to criminal trespassing if they do. This policy goes into effect immediately she explained.
When asked what should a person do when entering an indoor facility where someone not wearing a face covering is seen, the Governor said: Leave the property, call the manager and call the police.
At the outset of the briefing, Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine CDC, said there are now 15,206 cases of the COVID-19 statewide. There are 345 new cases since yesterday when there were 407 new cases reported – the third time this week that the number of new cases reached over 400. There have now been 250 deaths statewide since the start of the pandemic. The positivity rate was stated to be at 4.62% over the past seven days – a very slight decrease in the number and still well below the national average. It was announced that an outbreak is being investigated at Seaside Healthcare, Portland. Three cases have been identified there, although it was not stated whether they were among patients or staff.
Dr. Shah said that as of today two “orders” for the Pfizer vaccine have now been placed. One was placed last week for 12,675 doses. Today 37,850 doses were ordered for a combination of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Dr. Shah clarified that “orders” are actually providing names and addresses of hospitals to which the doses should be sent. He said that 680 skilled nursing homes and residential venues have been identified to be among the priorities to receive the vaccine in Maine. Largely because of administrative work that needs to be completed, nursing homes will not receive the vaccine until December 21st.
Governor Mills said: “We need to commit to a different holiday season. It can be a lonely one. Not going to holiday dinners or gatherings. COVID-19 will be there,” she said. “The best gift we can give others and that we can receive is a healthy new year.”
The next COVID-19 briefing will be held on Monday, December 14th at 2:00 pm. It may be viewed on Maine Public Television. The schedule is subject to change with little notice.