PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is going to offer a cash prize of more than $875,000 to try to convince more people in the state to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
More than 56% of the state’s total population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus. That’s one of the highest percentages in the country.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday the state will hold a drawing to give one vaccinated person $1 for every person person vaccinated in Maine by July 4. The winner would get $876,655 if the drawing took place today.
“We know the best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, is to get vaccinated,” Mills said. “We want to beat out Vermont, we want to beat out Connecticut. New England sibling rivalry.”
The state is accepting registrations for the drawing until the end of the day of June 30. The state plans to announce the winner July 4.
Mills said the sweepstakes is intended to help the nation meet President Joe Biden's goal of getting at least one shot of vaccine to 70% of American adults by July 4. She said the drawing is open to everyone 12 and older who has received at least one dose of vaccine.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
The number of daily new coronavirus infections in the state continued to fall.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 97.14 new cases a day on May 31 to 43.14 new cases per day on Monday. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 0.14 deaths a day on May 31 to 1.14 deaths a day Monday.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that there have been more than 68,000 cases of the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic. There have also been 853 deaths.
Maine’s state of the emergency over the coronavirus pandemic is entering its final two weeks.
Mills declared the “state of civil emergency” in the early stages of the pandemic. The declaration has allowed Mills to use all available government resources to try to contain the spread of the virus.
Mills has said the emergency order will end June 30. Many Republicans in the state have charged the order has gone on for too long and given Mills too much authority. She has maintained that the order played an important role in the fight against coronavirus in Maine, which has faced a lower burden of the virus than many states.
Mills extended the order a final time Sunday. She has said the end of the order is “a welcome milestone that reflects the progress Maine has made in getting people vaccinated, reducing the spread of the virus, and getting back to normal.”
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.