Gov. Mills says "facts and science" behind stay-at-home order; sparks discussion with federal government about rural states

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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Thursday is the first day of the new stay-at-home order from Governor Janet Mills.

Paul Dwyer virtually sat down with the Governor to discuss the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said she's proud of the way Mainers have handled everything so far. Mills added she recognizes it will get worse, but Maine is doing everything it can to protect its citizens.

She says she bases her decisions on facts and science.

Mills says she talks to scientists, medical experts, and infectious disease experts. The governor also says she regularly talks to Governors of other states to see what they're doing and what's working.

She tells me she uses all of this information to determine the next best step.

"Right now, everybody says the best practices are minimizing travel, minimizing personal contact, staying apart from other people -- so-called physical-distancing, social distancing if you will -- that's the thing that kills this virus," said Mills.

And with Maine having a largely rural population, she says she's talked to governors of other rural states about their strategies.

Mills told me that on a call a few days ago with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and all 50 governors, she brought up the needs of rural states like Maine.

"I asked him point blank, the president -- and the vice president -- don't forget the rural states," said Mills. "Look, just because we haven't hit a surge, we're not one of your so-called 12 hotspots right now, we could be tomorrow. Here's where the PPE comes in handy and the testing materials -- here's where they're needed now so that we don't become a hotspot, so that we don't surge. Because then you're going to have to send more stuff our way. Send it here now. And at the end of the call, the president said, "We'll look at that. We'll look at that."

She said Vice President Pence told her that in the days to come, they're going to organize a call with 19 rural states to talk about the challenges they face.

And Morgan, she says she's looking forward to that call and more discussions about helping rural states in the future.