A member of the National Guard assisting at a COVID-19 mobile testing location fills out paperwork for a motorist arriving for a test Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Auburn, Maine. Maine's CDC reported 20 more deaths due to the coronavirus on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's governor said Tuesday she is quarantining after exposure to someone who is believed to have COVID-19.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said she's quarantining in the Blaine House, the residence of the Maine governor, until Dec. 12. She said she is not experiencing symptoms, but is believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 by a member of her executive protection unit.

Executive protection unit members are with the governor at all times and follow strict safety protocols about the coronavirus, Mills' office said. The member developed symptoms that resembled COVID-19 on Monday and is awaiting the results of a test, the governor's office said.

“I am going to continue working as hard as I can on behalf of Maine people during this quarantine; but putting a lid on this virus will also require hard work by every person all across the state," Mills said.

Mills is scheduled to take a coronavirus test on Thursday. The governor's office did not release the name of the executive protection unit member. The governor and the unit member were in a car together with face coverings on for less than 10 minutes, the office said.

Mills had been scheduled to swear in the Maine Legislature on Wednesday. Andrew Mead, the acting chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, will do it in her absence. Mills said she plans to continue fulfilling her obligations as governor and stay in touch with her cabinet members and staff virtually while in quarantine.

In other virus news in Maine:



Maine's Bath Iron Works is dealing with a growing number of COVID-19 cases at the shipyard and at a fabrication facility in Brunswick.

There are 17 active cases with workers getting treatment or quarantining at home, a shipyard spokesperson said.

Last week, the company confirmed seven employees tested positive for COVID-19 between Monday and Wednesday. The week before, the shipyard announced a dozen other employees tested positive.

Despite the growing number of cases, the company that builds destroyers for the U.S. Navy will not close any facilities because the company is deemed vital to the nation's defense, the spokesperson said.

The company employs about 6,800 workers.



The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 20 deaths from the virus on Tuesday. That was the largest single-day total since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number of deaths in Maine to 214.

The state's positivity rate is also climbing. The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 2.4%. 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 2.13% on Nov. 16 to 2.4% on Nov. 30.

The state has reported more than 11,900 cases of the virus in total.



Maine has launched a grant program designed to help health care organizations continue serving patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The program is backed by $30 million in federal coronavirus relief dollars and is called the Maine Health Care Financial Relief Program, Mills said. The grant program is open to hospitals as well as nursing, congregate care and behavioral health facilities and community service providers, state officials said.

The grants can go as high as $100,000, Mills said Monday.

“Our health care providers, and the heroic workers they employ, have shouldered an enormous burden this year,” Mills said. “These funds, although not nearly enough to make up for their losses, will help bolster our providers at this critical time and allow them to continue providing care to Maine people."

Mills also announced a $40 million economic recovery grant program for Maine’s tourism, hospitality and retail small business sector earlier on Monday. That program is backed by CARES Act money as well.