At Thursday's Maine CDC briefing, Governor Janet Mills announced that she has signed an executive order that will protect housing tenants from eviction and establish a rent relief program.

The order creates stronger penalties for landlords who try to evict tenants unlawfully and also extends the time frame for the eviction process. A $5 million COVID-19 rent relief program will be established to give renters who meet income requirements a one-time rental assistance payment of up to $500 which will be paid directly to their landlord.

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah talked about not only flattening the curve, but raising the line. That line is Maine's health care capacity and it's raised buy "staff and stuff." Stuff is things like ventilators and other equipment and supplies needed to treat patients with COIVD-19.

As for staff, Dr. Shah announced that 2600 medical and health care workers have registered on the Maine Responds emergency health volunteer system. These people have offered to volunteer their services if they are needed to deal with an overwhelmed staffing issue in Maine's health care system. He noted that that number of 2600 health care workers is double the number registered in January, a testament to how Mainers are stepping up to lend and hand when needed.

The number of reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) now at 796, an increase of 26 more cases since Wednesday. Statewide, 333 people have recovered, and 4 new deaths were reported, bringing the total number at 27.

130 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 47 are currently hospitalized and 20 of those are in critical care and 7 patients are on ventilators.

Cumberland County has the most positive cases of COVID-19 and community transmission is occurring there along with York county. All counties except Piscataquis county have recorded at least one case of COVID-19.  Community transmission is now evident in Androscoggin county.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers by county from the Maine CDC.

Maine CDC
Maine CDC

Governor Janet Mills has ordered all Mainers to stay home unless you work for an essential business or need to do an essential activity. The executive order remains in effect until April 30, but is subject to review and extension if necessary. Find out what that means for you by clicking or tapping here.

On Tuesday, Mills extended the civil state of emergency for Maine to May 15 allowing the state to continue to receive federal aid and for her to take executive action such as extending the stay at home order if it is deemed necessary.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival.

Shah says that right now, our only vaccine against the COVID-19 is physical distancing. It is the key to flattening out the curve of the spread of the coronavirus, a point Dr Shah stressed is vitally important for Mainers to practice. A low curve means that the virus is spreading slowly which gives doctors more time and resources to treat more people. The higher the curve, the most people get sick at once and medical facilities get overwhelmed. Shah says that right now, our only vaccine against the COVID-19 is physical distancing.

The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.

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