By Rachel OhmStaff Writer

AUGUSTA — A vaccinated Mainer could win close to $1 million in a new sweepstakes campaign the state announced Wednesday as an incentive to encourage more people to get their shots against COVID-19.

The “Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vacationland Sweepstakes” will reward one vaccinated winner with $1 for every person vaccinated in the state by July 4. If the drawing were held today the total prize would be $876,655.

“Maine is a national leader in COVID-19 vaccination thanks to the more than 876,000 people who have already rolled up their sleeves,” said Gov. Janet Mills in a statement. “Our goal with the Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vacationland Sweepstakes is to encourage even more people to get the vaccine and declare their independence from COVID-19 as we approach the Fourth of July.”

Residents age 12 and older who have received at least one dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Maine since Dec. 15, 2020, may enter for a chance to win. Registration is required and the deadline to get vaccinated and submit an entry is 11:59 p.m. on June 30.

Entries are being accepted online at maine.gov/covid19/vaccines or by calling the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. The governor will announce the winner and the prize amount on the afternoon of July 4.

The state’s new sweepstakes comes as virus trends have been improving and the daily average of new cases have been declining. Maine is also a leader among states in terms of vaccination rates, though officials are still working to encourage those who are eligible but have not yet been vaccinated to do so.

On June 16, Maine reported 51 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 68,683 since the pandemic started. There have been 853 deaths, including five deaths reported Wednesday. The seven-day average of daily new cases declined to 43, the lowest level since late October. The average stood at 73.1 a week ago and 253 a month ago.

The latest numbers come as Maine has been lifting many COVID-related rules and restrictions. Gov. Janet Mills announced last week she would lift the statewide state of emergency June 30 and the city of Portland is preparing to consider in July an end to the city’s state of emergency.

Mills, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, were expected to update the media at 2 p.m. Wednesday on Maine’s public health response.

Hospitalizations have also continued to trend downward. On Wednesday there were 32 people hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, including 17 in critical care and seven on a ventilator. One month ago there were 121 people hospitalized, including 45 in critical care.

The state is continuing to encourage those who are eligible to get vaccinated. As of Tuesday, 56% of Maine’s 1.3 million residents had received their final shots.

Nationwide, cases of COVID-19 are also continuing to decline. In the last seven days the United States has reported an average of 13,721 cases per day, or four cases per 100,000 people, according to the New York Times. Maine is continuing to lead in vaccination rates with only Vermont and Massachusetts reporting higher percentages of fully vaccinated adults.