Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced a new executive order limiting evictions on Thursday. The Maine COVID-19 rent relief program will prohibit evictions from commercial ventures, rental apartments, small businesses and homes.
"Today the house allows us to stay safe and healthy." Mills said while giving an update on Maine's response to coronavirus. "Homes are a lot more than bricks and modernizing beams. It is where we sleep safely each night and dream of a bright tomorrow."
Mills said the order will strengthen penalties against landlords and property owners who are trying to evict residents unlawfully. The program will include a fund of $5 million and took effect Thursday. Residents who need assistance from the rent relief program can find the application at www.mainehousing.org/covidrent.
"We do our part and stay apart," Mills said. "Today, we stay healthy at home."
Three more Mainers died from COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 27, Maine Center for Disease Control Director Nirav Shah said on Thursday.
Two of the new deaths came from York County -- a man in his 70s and a man in his 80s -- and the other was a woman in her 70s from Waldo County, Shah said.
The number of Maine residents who have tested positive for coronavirus is now at 796 as of Thursday, an increase of 26 from the day before.
Shah said there were 130 people hospitalized as of Thursday, including 27 in regular beds, 20 in intensive care units and seven on ventilators. According to Maine CDC, 333 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, an increase of 28 from the day before.
Maine CDC said that community transmission is occurring in Androscoggin County in addition to Cumberland, York and Penobscot counties.
According to Maine CDC, there are 35 positive cases at Tall Pines Retirement and Health Care Community in Belfast, an increase of 10 since Wednesday, 41 at the Maine Veteran's Home facility in Scarborough, 70 at the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation and five at The Cedars in Portland.
Shah said Maine CDC is now investigating five outbreaks at these facilities, with four new cases reported at Falmouth by the Sea in Falmouth.
The number of volunteers who applied to Maine Responds Emergency Health Volunteer System has nearly doubled since January, with 2,600 people with specific medical skills joining the medical workforce, Shah said.
Among these are nurses, behavioral health specialists, EMT paramedics, respiratory therapists and physician assistants.
"Every single entity in Maine is doing its part," Shah said. "A lot of people by staying at home, others joining the medical workforce."