Maine: Artists hurt by pandemic get help; daily cases rise

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PORTLAND, Maine — A pair of new grant programs in Maine is designed to help artists who are struggling economically due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Maine Arts Commission said it made $127,000 available for artists and cultural organizations via the programs. One is slated to help individual artists while the other is for organizations.

It will take more money to meet the needs of Maine's artists and art organizations, commissioner executive director David Greenham said. Arts and culture venues were among the first to close when the pandemic upended the worldwide economy.

“The arts are critical to Maine’s success, and the artistic community is anxiously optimistic that we may soon safely welcome the public to our performing arts venues, museums, galleries, artist studios, workshops, fairs and festivals," Greenham said.

The commissioner said the money will be distributed directly to the artists and groups.

In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:

DAILY CASES RISE

The number of daily cases of the coronavirus has risen over the past two weeks in Maine. Public health authorities in the state have said that is a reversal of an encouraging trend that happened after the post-holiday surge.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 165.57 new cases per day on March 6 to 204.57 new cases per day on March 20. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 0.67 deaths per day on March 6 to 0.71 deaths per day on March 20.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday it has reported 48,642 positive cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic. The agency has also reported 729 deaths.

Central Maine Health Care opened a high-volume coronavirus vaccine site at the Auburn Mall on Saturday. Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said facilities like the Auburn site will help slow the spread of the virus.

“Sites like this also mean Maine will be ready to ramp up vaccinations when the federal government is able to increase weekly allotments of vaccine to the state," Shah said.

Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press