UNE to move its College of Osteopathic Medicine to Portland

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — Funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation will help the University of New England move the College of Osteopathic Medicine from the main campus in Biddeford to a 100,000-square-foot building in Portland, the university announced Tuesday.

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The $30 million grant also will be used to accelerate high-growth undergraduate and graduate programs to meet student demand and workforce needs in areas like aquaculture, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and sports media communication, among others, officials said.

The move of the College of Osteopathic Medicine will put it on the Portland campus along with other health-related programs like dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, dental hygiene and nurse anesthesia.

“With a truly integrated health care campus, like none other in our region, our health professions students will capitalize on opportunities for cross-professional learning, enhance their team-based competencies, and will benefit from amazing new learning spaces that will complement UNE’s existing assets,” said UNE President James Herbert.

The university hopes to break ground on the new building in the spring 2022 and looks to the fall 2023 as a targeted completion date, officials said.

The grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation is part of a $500 million commitment over 12 years to provide an economic boost to the state.

“We believe that two fundamental components of a bright future for Maine are a high-quality education and a healthy population, and UNE is a significant contributor toward both of these goals,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the foundation.

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Eight Counties Move Into Reopening Tiers

CALIFORNIA — Eight counties were downgraded into lower tiers of the Golden State’s risk assessing COVID-19 blueprint Tuesday, and will be allowed to reopen and expand some businesses. The state also reported a 2.7 percent positivity rate for two consecutive weeks weeks.

While the positivity rate has remained low over the past month, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health Secretary, noted that cases have plateaued. While average cases per day were dropping steadily in months past, the numbers have stabilized in October.

As of Tuesday, less than 20 counties remain in the state’s most restrictive and widespread indicating tier, Ghaly said. Only a month ago, nearly 40 counties were living under purple tier restrictions.

Last week, Ghaly introduced the state’s new equity metric, which was added as a benchmark for the state’s largest counties to meet before advancing through the blueprint’s tiers. Counties will not be able to reopen further unless they reduce transmissions in marginalized communities.

READ MORE: CA’s Coronavirus ‘Equity Metric’ Could Impact Reopening Timeline

This measure could potentially slow reopenings or help push counties through the tier system depending on how widespread cases are in that particular county’s most “disadvantaged” neighborhoods.

(California Department Of Public Health)
(California Department Of Public Health)

Counties that advanced to lower tiers on California’s blueprint Tuesday:

Tehama County moved back into the widespread tier and Shasta County moved back into the substantial tier after experiencing a spike in cases. Ghaly said that the state was working with these two counties.

Three counties, Merced, Ventura and Yuba, dropped into the red or substantial tier, and out of the purple or widespread tier.

Counties that remain in the red tier for two weeks may consider reopening schools for in-person instruction, pending approval from the region’s health department.

Under the red tier, restaurants are allowed to resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity and so will personal services such as nail salons and aestheticians, museums, zoos and movie theaters. Gyms and fitness centers will reopen indoors at 10 percent of their capacity.

One new county, Inyo, was able to move into the orange or moderate tier.

This tier allows bars to serve drinks without meals outdoors, schools to reopen fully for in-person classes and movie theaters to reopen at limited capacity. Restaurants may open indoors at 50 percent capacity or host 200 people — whichever is fewer.

Four counties, Humboldt, Plumas, Siskiyou and Trinity, were able to move into the yellow or minimal tier. The yellow tier is the last tier on the blueprint and Ghaly noted that he and Gov. Gavin Newsom have yet to release guidance on what happens after the yellow tier.

Within this tier, restaurants bars can open indoors at 50 percent capacity, schools may fully reopen and fitness centers may reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Ghaly also noted that Humboldt County has continued to see a decrease in cases.

This article originally appeared on the Across California Patch

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