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Cases of Covid-19 in our community continue to increase at a rapid pace. With data as of January 3, there have now been a cumulative 596 cases of the virus in Sanford, and 137 in Springvale, for a total of 733. This represents an increase of 124 new cases in our community, breaking last week’s record of 94 cases.

In his report to the City Council this week, City Manager Steve Buck provided some information on vaccination progress. Southern Maine Health Care clinical staff (those who have contact with patients) have all received their first dose of the vaccine, and will begin receiving their second dose this week. Non-clinical staff are beginning their first dose.

Mr. Buck said that all of the approximately 400 EMS clinicians in York County will have received their first shot by the end of the week, with second doses scheduled to arrive beginning the week of January 18. He said Fire Chief Benotti reports the State has recognized the value of the Sanford Fire Department in the vaccination process, and it may be a proactive part of vaccine administration moving forward, along with the Kennebunk and Old Orchard Beach departments. Funding and availability of the vaccine are the crucial factors being considered.

Mr. Buck also reported that Alex Hammerle, Emergency Management Director for Sanford, is actively engaged with the State of Maine EMA and Maine CDC to identify a place in Sanford where vaccinations could be given on a large scale, seven days a week. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks, if this is the course the state ultimately pursues.

In his Wednesday press briefing, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said over 38,000 Mainers have now received their first dose of the vaccine. He said the state is developing an online tool for people to begin registering for vaccinations, and more information on that will be forthcoming. He also reported that three new vaccines are nearing approval, including one by Johnson & Johnson that only requires a single dose. As always, he could not give a timeline for future phases of vaccine distribution, as that is largely dependent on the supply provided by the federal government.

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