Some county jails are making alternative arrangements to get COVID-19 vaccines for inmates because of the slow pace of deliveries from the Maine Department of Corrections.
Only seven of 10 jails that responded to the Portland Press Herald had administered vaccines to people in custody. In the meantime, at least three jails have reported COVID-19 outbreaks in the last month.
Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said he has not received any information from the state about when vaccine might arrive.
“We’ve been preparing ourselves and getting ready to get the vaccine, so we could get community immunity, whereby most of our corrections officers and most of our inmates would have the vaccine and that would mitigate any potential large outbreaks,” Joyce said. “And it hasn’t happened.”
Other counties have relied on community health partners to get vaccines. In Somerset and Aroostook counties, local hospitals got doses for jails. In Penobscot County, a community health center hosted clinics inside the jail.
Corrections officers became eligible for the vaccine in January, but the state veered from federal guidelines in delaying vaccinations for inmates.
Maine began offering vaccines to the oldest inmates in state prisons last month. As of April 9, 18% of inmates in state prisons had been vaccinated.
In other coronavirus-related news:
The number of infections since the pandemic started in Maine has topped 60,000, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Monday.
All told, there were 229 additional coronavirus infections on Tuesday, but no deaths were reported, according to the Maine CDC.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 314 new cases per day on April 10 to 356 new cases per day on April 24.
Maine CDC has also reported 772 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.
BRUNSWICK SCHOOL BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE
Brunswick students transitioned to remote learning beginning Monday because of a shortage of bus drivers, Superintendent Phil Potenziano announced.
About seven members of the transportation department were under quarantine, meaning there are too few drivers to provide safe transportation, Potenziano said.
The school system is dealing with a number of COVID-19 infections. As of Sunday, there are 11 active or probable cases of the coronavirus in Brunswick schools.