Maine Dept. Of Labor Says Unemployment Claims Being Expedited
The Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman announced today that over 100,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits and two thirds are now receiving benefits.
"We're working as quickly as possible to get benefits out, and to assure you that those benefits will be retroactive," Fortman said at Friday's Maine CDC briefing on the cornovirus situation in Maine.
According to Fortman, two thirds of the over 100,000 that have applied have started to receive their benefits. 20,000 pending claims have been expedited and a fact finding interview in these cases has been waived that would normally tie up the process for several months.
If your claim is held pending an interview you will receive and email asking to check your online account for information. Fortman said she believes that many who will receive a denial will be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that provides benefits to those that are not normally eligible for state benefits such as those who are self-employed and people who did not earn enough to be eligible for state unemployment. The Department of Labor will announce next week when they will be accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
Also in the briefing, Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah announced that the total number of reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is now at 965 an increase of 28 new cases since Thursday. Two of those cases are deemed "probable." These are cases are people closely linked to someone who is confirmed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus, such as a spouse or someone within a household. A doctor may not test these people since they believe it is likely that they have COVID-19 and now the Maine CDC has begun adding those cases to the total number of cases reported daily.
499 people diagnosed with COIVD-19 have recovered, an increase of 14. The total number of active cases is 419, an increase of 11, and 3 new deaths were reported, bringing the total number to 47. 152 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 39 are currently hospitalized with 17 of those are in critical care and 7 patients on ventilators.
Here's a breakdown of the numbers by county from the Maine CDC.
And here's another handy graphic that was put together by the University of Maine Presque Isle GIS Lab that show just about every number and stat you might be interested in, presented in a easy to understand format.
During Monday's briefing, Dr. Shah urged everyone to continue with social and physical distancing measures because, "We are still very much in the middle of things."
On April 14, Mills extended the civil state of emergency for Maine to May 15 allowing the state to continue to receive federal aid and for her to take executive action such as extending the stay at home order if it is deemed necessary. Maine's stay at home order remains in effect until April 30, but is subject to review and extension if necessary. Find out what that means for you by clicking or tapping here.
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.
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