The Mills administration on Friday updated its risk assessment for schools reopening throughout the state.

The new assessment shows all counties still have a "green" designation, but Penobscot and York counties will be reassessed on Sept. 4 in light of increasing case rates as well as open COVID-19 outbreaks in those two counties.

Data and trends from these two counties will be closely monitored and reassessed early to determine if there is an elevated risk that could put schools in the "yellow" or "red" categories. Other counties will continue to be assessed every two weeks, according to a release from the governor's office.

The state's color-coded categorizations are designed to rate relative risk of COVID-19 transmission. The categories are defined as follows:

  • "Red" suggests that the county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread and that in-person instruction is not advisable.
  • "Yellow" suggests that that the county has an elevated risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider additional precautions and/or hybrid instructional models as a way to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms at any one time.
  • "Green" suggests that the county has a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread and that schools may consider in-person instruction, as long as they are able to implement the required health and safety measures.  Schools in a “green” county may need to use hybrid instruction models if there is insufficient capacity or other factors (facilities, staffing, geography/transportation, etc.) that may prevent full implementation of the health and safety requirements.

The outbreak in Penobscot and York counties are associated with a wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket. As of Thursday, the outbreak had affected at least 87 people and is linked to an outbreak at the York County Jail, according to state health officials. A staff member at the jail attended the wedding in Millinocket.

On Friday, York County Jail officials said 54 people at the jail have tested positive for the virus.

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