PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package needs to be refined before she can sign on to it.

Collins and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, led a conference call for lawmakers with National Economics Director Brian Deese. Collins said late Sunday that she has concerns about the $1.9 trillion plan.

“While I support prompt additional funding for vaccine production, distribution, and vaccinators, and for testing, it seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope,” Collins said.

Collins also said she’s not clear on how the administration came up with the $1.9 trillion figure. She said she wants lawmakers to “get together to determine if we can come up with a more targeted package that would address unmet needs that we are experiencing now as we fight this persistent pandemic.”

Collins, a moderate Republican, could cast key votes on coronavirus relief in the divided U.S. Senate.

In other pandemic news in Maine:


The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 4.36%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 6.09% on Jan. 10 to 4.36% on Jan. 24.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 37,000 positive cases and 547 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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