WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — As shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine begin to arrive in Maine, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are working to secure federal funds for the state to continue the efforts of fighting the spread of the virus.
Collins and King announced Monday that Maine has been awarded an additional $5,570,755 to reimburse the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), including KN95 surgical masks for frontline responders, as well as disposable non-sterile isolation gowns and disposable isolation suits.
The funding was awarded to the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that health care professionals across Maine are properly equipped to treat individuals who contract the virus and prevent further transmission,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We welcome this continued critical support, which helped provide PPE to our frontline workers and ensure the safety of individuals, families, and communities throughout Maine.”
Last month, Collins and King secured $2.3 million for PPE in Maine, and in April, they urged Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor to help Maine more easily access PPE secured by the COVID-19 Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force.
As of Nov. 13, FEMA has obligated more than $163 million in federal support to Maine, and as of Nov. 18, FEMA and the Strategic National Stockpile have provided Maine with more than 1,498,514 gloves, 43,525 face shields, 41,290 surgical gowns, 204,393 surgical masks, and 566,775 N95 respirators.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah has emphasized that even as Mainers begin to be vaccinated, the need for public health practices such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing will continue to be necessary.
Monday afternoon, Collins, King, and a bipartisan group of fellow senators will share the legislative text for the two bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief bills which would provide as much as $908 billion in relief to American students, families, businesses, workers, and health care providers during the coronavirus crisis.
Click here to watch the press conference live, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.