PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine deployed its mobile vaccination unit on Monday as part of an effort to get COVID-19 shots to remote corners of the state.
The unit got its start at the Oxford Casino in Oxford. The state has said the unit is only the second of its kind in New England and will travel to communities around the state over the next two months.
The unit will provide at least 250 shots per day and will use the single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, the office of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said.
“Over the next two months, the MVU will travel to ten additional rural or under-served communities across Maine, including Fryeburg, Calais, and Madawaska, among others,” Mills' office said in a statement Monday.
Maine is one of the most rural states in the country and many parts of the state are far from the nearest mass vaccination site. Many of the sites are in more densely populated cities such as Portland and Bangor.
About 46% of the state's population has had at least a first dose of the vaccine.
The daily caseload in Maine continues to rise.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 198 new cases per day on March 27 to 313.57 new cases per day on April 10. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.00 deaths per day on March 27 to 0.71 deaths per day on April 10.
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.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of more than 54,000 cases of the virus in Maine along with 751 deaths.
BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE
Schools in one of the largest school districts in Maine are going remote this week because illness is preventing bus drivers from working.
Lewiston school Superintendent Jake Langlais said in a Sunday letter to parents that the transportation staff is dealing with three positive cases of the coronavirus and two other medical situations.
“I know this impacts each and every family,” the letter said. “However, if we cannot transport our students we need to be remote.”