The Maine Department of Labor announced the roll out of a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program on Thursday.
The new program, which launches Friday at 8 a.m., provides eligibility to workers not typically covered by unemployment insurance, Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said.
Those who are self-employed or do not have enough earnings to qualify for state unemployment insurance and people who are unable to work as a direct result of the COVID-19 state emergency can also apply to the new program.
Fortman said self-employed residents will be asked to provide documentation of the earnings only after they receive the benefits, a change from the original announcement.
"I made this decision to help get money in your pocket faster," she said.
According to the Department of Labor, Mainers eligible for the new program should begin to receive the benefits seven days after having filed their claims. More information can be found at www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua
One more Maine resident -- a woman in her 50s from Cumberland County -- died of coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll to 53, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said on Thursday.
The CDC said 1,095 people tested positive for coronavirus, an increase of 39 from the day before. Out of these, 631 people recovered, an increase of 16 from the day before.
As of Thursday, Shah said 35 people are hospitalized. Out of these, 18 are in ICU and 17 are in regular hospital beds.
According to the Maine CDC, 20 of the new positive cases are from long-term care and assisted facilities outbreaks the agency is monitoring.
Shah said there are 43 positive cases at Tall Pines Retirement and Health Care Community in Belfast, 51 at the Maine Veteran's Home facility in Scarborough, 76 at the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation, 36 at Falmouth by the Sea in Falmouth and 15 at the assisted living facility The Cedars in Portland.
According to the Maine CDC, two new outbreaks are being investigated at the Hope House in Bangor, with 17 residents and four staff members who tested positive, and at the Tyson Foods plant in Portland, with 10 positive cases.
Shah said the CDC is in contact with the management at Tyson Foods, arranging universal testings and a deep cleaning of the entire facility.
The Maine CDC said it is continuing to work with the National Guard in doing N95 mask fit testing so they can help to protect health care workers from getting the virus. Shah said that 37 health care workers have been fitted since Wednesday.
While the state has been working for weeks to increase the testing capacity, Shah said Maine would receive 15,000 swabs to conduct coronavirus tests and 11,200 vials of Viral Transport Media -- used to transport the swabs to the labs -- per week beginning May 4.