Maine has country's lowest COVID-19 infection rate: How state officials say they did it

Harboring the country's oldest population, Maine would seem like a state at high risk for a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Instead, Maine has the nation's lowest COVID-19 infection rate.

The state's positive test rate is averaging roughly 1.21%. For comparison, North Dakota, which has 60% of Maine's total population and with a younger average age of 35, has a rate that's more than 10 times higher. Maine's average age is 45.

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State officials are saying the key to a great response has been preparation and a populace willing to comply with state mandates for the good of others.

"We saw COVID-19 coming from end of December, early January when the global health experts began to warn what was happening," Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner, Maine Dept. of Health and Human Services. "We had a plan."

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She said she shares the overwhelming mental, social and emotional toll of the pandemic, just like many others in our state and country.



Governor Janet Mills mandated face coverings in public spaces and issued stay at home orders in April.

Aside from a wedding in August that was linked to more than 170 cases and seven deaths, outbreaks have been minimal. The Portland school district, the largest in the state, has seen virtually no issues. Of the 5,700 kids rotating into classes two days a week, the school district has had one COVID-19 case.

Obviously, the pandemic has still brought on its share of problems. Maine's hotels, bars and restaurants are expected to lose more than a billion dollars in revenue this year, shattering the state's tourism industry.
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