In this Dec.14, 2021, file photo, after breaking a thin layer of morning ice, Mark Cota of Topsham launches his boat into the lake end of the New Meadows River in West Bath. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Today is Wednesday. Temperatures will be in the mid-20s to mid-30s from north to south, with heavy snow in the north, a wintry mix in eastern Maine and rain in the south. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Twenty-two more Mainers have died and another 1,559 coronavirus cases were reported since Saturday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,463. Check out our tracker for more information.

The company that operates a Maine factory making a widely used rapid test for COVID-19 said it would increase production by 40 percent in January amid widespread shortages of the tests before the holidays.

The number of Mainers who are hospitalized with COVID-19 has hit yet another record number on Tuesday. There are now 387 Mainers afflicted with the coronavirus that have been hospitalized around the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Canadian government has reinstated the requirement for a pre-arrival negative COVID-19 PCR test result for all Canadian travelers re-entering the country after trips of less than 72 hours.

FEMA to send ambulance teams to 8 Maine hospitals amid COVID surge

The ambulance teams will help with non-emergency transportation as the U.S. starts to confront the new omicron variant.

Omicron is leading Mainers to change holiday plans

The omicron variant was identified just under a month ago but has already become the dominant U.S. strain.

Maine therapists say people are stressed but there are still reasons for optimism

The year was not supposed to end like this, and the signs of lasting stress are apparent.

Ellsworth rejects using federal pandemic funds to cut checks to city residents

Councilor Steven O’Halloran proposed that the city use that $860,000 to send checks to every household in Ellsworth.

Take a rare look inside former US vice president Hannibal Hamlin’s Bangor home

It’s one of only a handful of presidential or vice-presidential homes that are owned privately, and few photos of the home’s interior have been available to the public.

Man charged with PPP loan fraud sues US government, Channel 2 and Lowe’s

Nathan Reardon has sued the U.S government for an alleged violation of his Second Amendment rights, the parent company of News Center Maine for defamation and slander and Lowe’s Home Improvement for an injury he claims he suffered two years ago while checking out.

Dexter basketball team honors ‘amazing teammate’ killed in car crash

Jacob Campbell’s reputation as an ultimate teammate remains a defining element within the program even in the aftermath of his death on Sept. 11.

Thomaston man’s creative vending machine dispenses much more than chips and gum

Inside the vending machine you can find tarot cards, a pre-packed “party kit” featuring heart-shaped glasses and a colorful wig, Pop Rocks and starting next week edible crickets.

Health care center set to expand in former Bank of America complex in Belfast

Penobscot Community Health Care is looking to use its new location to increase access to health care and fill wellness gaps in the community.

Portlanders mark 51 homeless deaths on longest night of the year

The life expectancy of someone experiencing homelessness is 28 years shorter than that of a housed person. 

In other Maine news …

Portlanders mark 51 homeless deaths on longest night of the year

Entire Anson-Madison water district staff fired following theft accusations

Longtime Hermon store’s expansion overcomes nearby residents’ roadblock

Bangor man killed in crash remembered for sense of humor and concern for others

Bangor police seek to identify package theft suspect

Hancock County towns preparing for a future with climate change and development demands

New Saddleback solar farm will help ski resort offset cost of growing reliance on artificial snow

Hazard pay will raise Portland’s minimum wage to $19.50 starting Jan. 1

Former UMaine football player with NFL dreams adapts to new rules in 1st pro season in Canada