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Maine, one of most vaccinated states, ends emergency order

June 30, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A coronavirus pandemic emergency order was slated to end on Wednesday for one of the most vaccinated states in the country.

Maine has been under a “state of civil emergency” since the early days of the pandemic. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has used the order to use state resources to try to slow the spread of the virus.

Mills has called the end of the emergency order a key step for Maine, which has largely reopened its economy and rescinded most mask orders.

Nearly 70% of residents who are 20 years of age or older are fully vaccinated against the virus. About 61% of the state’s entire population is fully vaccinated, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said.

“Not everyone has been vaccinated in Maine, by chance or increasingly by choice,” Shah said. “The vaccines are key here and we have undersold their effectiveness.”

Republicans and Democrats in the state have disagreed over whether Mills allowed the order to go on for too long, and whether it gave her too much authority. Most Democrats have defended it as an important part of the state’s response.

“The state of civil emergency is over, and it is time,” Mills said during a Wednesday news conference.

In other pandemic news in Maine:

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THE NUMBERS

Daily cases of the virus have decreased in Maine as the rate of vaccination has increased.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 43.14 new cases per day on June 14 to 22.29 new cases per day on Monday. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.14 deaths per day on June 14 to 0.57 deaths per day on Monday.

The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

Maine CDC said Wednesday that 858 people in Maine have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The state has also been the site of more than 69,000 reported cases of the virus.