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1st Mainers get second vaccination dose as rollout continues

January 5, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Mainers have begun receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

It was a small number — only about 18 on Monday — but numbers will grow as the state aims to complete the initial rollout of vaccines by next month, the Maine CDC said.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC said the rollout for the vaccination plan has been slower than expected, calling the nation “supply constrained.”

As the state moves forward, it’s considering changing its vaccination plan as it expands from health care workers to essential workers and people older than 75.

State officials are discussing whether to prioritize older residents in that group in the next phase of the rollout. No decisions have been made.

In other pandemic-related news:

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THE NUMBERS

The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 8.65%. 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 5.84% on Dec. 21 to 8.65% on Monday.

Public health authorities in Maine have reported more than 26,000 cases of the virus and 369 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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OUTDOOR DINING

Portland’s City Council has extended outdoor dining in public spaces into the spring.

The city already extended outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking lanes in October to help local businesses during the pandemic. Councilors voted Monday for another extension through May 10.

Many restaurants have shifted to takeout as the temperatures plunged. But others are taking advantage of outdoor spaces.

“We never thought people would want to sit outside in January in February but, obviously, times have changed,” Deen Haleem, who owns Old Port restaurant TIQA with his wife, told WMTW-TV.

Even with outdoor seating, revenue in December was down by at least 70% at TIQA, he said.

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MAINE BICENTENNIAL

Maine’s celebration of its 200th anniversary will go on after all, albeit a year later than originally planned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Maine turned 200 in 1820, and a slew of events celebrating the anniversary of statehood were put off because of the pandemic. The Maine Bicentennial Commission said a slate of events is scheduled for later this year as part of the “200-Plus-One” campaign.

The tentative schedule includes a Maine Statehood Day Ceremony during the summer in the state capital of Augusta. There’s also a “Time Capsule Sneak Peek and Participation Kickoff” event slated for some time in the spring.

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Organizers said firm dates will be made available as they are set.