PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature will once again meet at an more accommodating public space this week in an attempt to limit spread of the coronavirus.
The lawmakers are slated to convene at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday. The proceedings are set to begin at 9 a.m. with the House of Representatives, state officials said Monday.
The Legislature is making use of the civic center because it's an easier venue for social distancing. They were sworn in there in December.
Agenda items are still being finalized, but lawmakers are expected to consider a supplemental budget proposal submitted by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in December, state officials said.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
The positivity rate in Maine remained low Monday, as it has for weeks.
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 1.84%. State health departments are calculating positivity rates 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 1.73% on Feb. 21 to 1.84% on March 7.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 45,000 positive cases of the virus and more than 700 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The Maine CDC said the state is working with health care organizations to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics starting Friday. The clinics will be for school staff and teachers who are age 60 or older.
The University of Maine’s men’s hockey team will play its first home game of the season against rival University of New Hampshire in this year’s playoffs.
The Black Bears haven’t played a single home game in the 2020-21 season because of the coronavirus. UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said she has approved the team to play on Wednesday at Alfond Arena in Orono.
There will be no fans at the arena, and the facility will be separated into two indoor gathering spaces for no more than 50 people, university officials said in a statement.
“Our Black Bear hockey teams have been road warriors all season and we are pleased to provide our men’s team with a chance to start the playoffs with home ice advantage,” Ferrini-Mundy said.
The Black Bears are a long shot to advance deep into the Hockey East tournament. However, Ferrini-Mundy said the program’s ability to host a home game is a sign that “better days are coming” to the campus community.