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Mills says science, public input will guide strategy for reopening Maine

(WABI)
Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT
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During Thursday's briefing, Mills announced how she will come up with a plan for reopening the state.

She did not provide a timeline.

She emphasized four principles that will help guide the state's decision-making process.

She says the reopening will be driven first and foremost by public health considerations.

Using data and case trends, she says they will look for an appropriate time to safely reopen.

She says they will closely monitor hospitals and health system capacity including hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators.

Science, Mills says, will continue to guide Maine's strategy.

"We know that reopening too soon and too aggressively is likely to cause a secondary surge in COVID-19 cases, jeopardizing the lives of many more Maine people, overwhelming our healthcare system, and further destabilizing our economy. None of us want that. That's the truth, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it," she says.

The Stay-at-Home order issued by the governor is still in effect until April 30th.

She said Thursday, she had not made a decision on whether she would let that expire or extend it.

Mills says the government alone cannot fix things and doesn't have all the answers.

She says she will prioritize public-private collaboration among all stakeholders.

By relying on case trends, hospitalization rates, and other data, she says they can appropriately make decisions on lifting restrictions.

Keeping an eye on hospital capacity such as available beds and apparatus is vital in ensuring there is no strain on resources, according to Mills.

She announced she wants collaboration from numerous stakeholders including business owners and the unemployed.

"We invite Maine people to take part in the discussion. Give us your ideas on how we can do things differently within the principles outlined above. How we can restart the economy and keep our people safe and healthy, respecting the enormous burdens that are already endured by our selfless healthcare providers," she says.

Mills is inviting that input with the launching of a public portal.

It can be accessed by visiting maine.gov/decd.

Through this website, you can offer your ideas.

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