AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills signed a proclamation of civil emergency to further protect public health in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Earlier today, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Maine now has five presumptive positive tests and seven confirmed cases. 

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, released the following statements in support of this declaration.

Speaker Gideon: 

“Declaring a State of Emergency is essential to the state meeting the magnitude of this public health crisis. The Legislature will continue working closely with the Governor’s Office and the Maine CDC to respond to this global outbreak. We are working to develop an emergency response package that will provide relief to Maine families and businesses and will finalize that work on Tuesday. We must meet this challenge with a coherent and coordinated response and protect the health, safety and economic well-being of Maine people.”

President Jackson:

“Declaring a state of emergency isn’t just the right move, it’s the only move. As we’ve followed news of the COVID-19 outbreak in communities across the globe, we’ve seen what happens when governments take it seriously and respond appropriately, and what happens when they don’t. With the governor’s declaration tonight, Maine can temporarily make sweeping changes to daily life to mitigate the impact of this disease on our families, communities and economy.

“Earlier today, Gov. Mills, Speaker Gideon and I announced legislation to expand unemployment benefits to workers whose income and employment are affected by the disease. This is just the beginning. We will announce additional measures in the days to come.

“All of us have a role to play to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19. By washing our hands, practicing social distancing and using technology to check-in on our neighbors, we can reduce the number of people with COVID-19 and limit the strain on our first responders, health care professionals and hospitals. By doing our part, we can protect our parents, our grandparents, our elderly and our friends with compromised-immune systems, who we know face greater health risks if they catch the disease. But most importantly, if the governor, the legislature and Maine people all work together, we can save lives.”

Legislative leaders urge legislators, their constituents, staff and members of the public to please stay up to date with the following trusted resources: