Gov. Janet Mills has extended her 30-day coronavirus civil state of emergency proclamation for the sixth time since the pandemic began, warning Mainers on Wednesday to guard against “pandemic fatigue.”
The fifth extension, due to lapse Friday, gives Mills the ability to suspend the enforcement of laws, establish emergency reserves of certain products and allows the state to access federal funding to mitigate the outbreak.
The order now extends until Oct. 1 and with it, Maine stays with nearly every other state in the nation in maintaining states of emergency. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu renewed his State of Emergency as well on Friday, Mills said in a short statement released Wednesday.
“Our state has been relatively successful in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the last few months. The outbreaks which we hear about in other states every day can sometimes feel far away from the relative safety of our state, but recent events prove that one little match can spark a fire that may be very difficult to put out,” Mills said.
“One little match” is a reference to an Aug. 7 wedding and reception in the Katahdin area that contributed to two other secondary outbreaks at a rehabilitation center in Madison and the York County Jail, which have been linked to more than 120 COVID-19 cases — the largest outbreak in the state — as well as the death of an 83-year-old woman who did not attend the wedding.
“Pandemic fatigue is setting in, but we cannot let down our guard, especially as some of our schools and universities bring students back on campus and back into the classroom,” she added. “Let’s stay focused on the end game: keeping everyone safe and healthy and protected from this dangerous virus.”
As of last Tuesday, Aug. 25, adjusted for population, Maine ranks second lowest in the nation in terms of positive cases; sixth lowest in deaths; second lowest in patients ever-hospitalized out of the 36 states reporting; and sixth highest in the percentage of people who have recovered out of the 45 states reporting.
Maine’s standing as of last month, adjusted for population, was: ranked third lowest in the nation in positive cases; eighth lowest in the nation in terms of deaths; fourth lowest in terms of patients ever-hospitalized out of the 36 states reporting; and fifth highest in the percentage of people who have recovered out of the 42 states reporting.
Under Maine law, State of Civil Emergency Proclamations may only be issued in 30 day increments.