COVID-19: Racial and Geographic Disparities in Maine

Prepared for the John T. Gorman Foundation by the Carsey School of Public Policy in the fall of 2021, this analysis breaks down the economic, health, and social impacts of COVID-19 for different populations and regions across Maine, and highlights possible contributing factors between disparities.

Creative blends of funding bring supportive and affordable housing to rural markets

As the pandemic continues to put pressure on the housing market and limit available shelter space, some rural communities are seeing homelessness become more visible. Community leaders note the “hidden” nature of rural homelessness, often manifesting in households “doubling up,” and say the perennial rural challenges of sparse funding and low population density complicate relief… Read more »

COVID-era remote patient monitoring supports at-home care for rural residents

In response to the pandemic, a Midwestern health system created a remote patient monitoring program that allows health care providers to monitor and advise patients without requiring an emergency room visit. The program includes vital-sign-monitoring equipment and a tablet equipped with video communication software, which only requires a cell signal and not internet access. Although… Read more »

Early evidence suggests four-day school weeks don’t meet all their aims

Four-day school weeks have become increasingly common in rural places, with 662 districts in 24 states using this model pre-pandemic. To ease remote learning implementation and reduce costs, the COVID-19 pandemic increased adoption of this model both in and out of rural areas, with the aim of reducing budgetary issues, attracting teachers, and improving student… Read more »

Evidence-based program strengthens multiple dimensions of senior wellbeing

The Rural Health Information Hub presents a summary of the StrongPeople™ programs, which have been under evaluation since 1994. The affiliated programs equip community-based health educators to lead classes on exercise, dietary skills, and civic activity to expand options for healthy living activities among older adults, particularly in rural places. Each element of the program… Read more »

COVID further strains rural health safety net amid growing rural health and resource risks

A healthcare analytics firm, the Chartis Group, has released a paper reporting on its ongoing data collection on rural health conditions and health care resources in light of the pandemic. The work identifies a pre-existing fragility in rural health care resources, with 138 rural hospital closures in the past decade, and 453 more vulnerable to… Read more »

“Remote work won’t save the heartland”

Enabled by more available remote work options, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred both employees and employers to flee cities in favor of more rural locations. Yet a new post from Brookings finds that rather than redistributing economic opportunity evenly nationwide, most companies are simply relocating to secondary tech hub cities like Austin, Denver, and Nashville, rather… Read more »

N.H. announces plan to combat pandemic-era learning losses, prioritizes broadband access in rural areas

The New Hampshire Department of Education received $350 million from the American Rescue Plan to be allocated towards local schools and education needs. The NH DOE distributed 90 percent of these funds to school districts based on population size and poverty levels. The state has discretionary power over the remaining 10 percent ($35 million). The… Read more »

Covid infections and deaths drop to lowest rates in a year

New COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining in rural counties, and in all Maine counties except Somerset, cases are under 100 per 100,000 residents – the lowest they have been since the pandemic started. These numbers continue to decline with vaccination uptake and more people spending time outside, where the virus is less likely to… Read more »