The sun shines over Casco Bay on Tuesday, but does little to warm the frigid air for a walker on the Eastern Promenade in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Today is Thursday. Temperatures will be in the 30s throughout the state, with a chance for snow in the north and partly to mostly sunny skies in the south. Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

The latest on the coronavirus in Maine

Twenty-six more Mainers died and another 1,326 coronavirus cases reported across the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll now stands at 1,582. Check out our tracker for more information.

Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said Wednesday people should feel confident using at home rapid tests for COVID-19, despite a statement from the Food and Drug Administration that the tests may be less accurate at detecting the omicron variant.

The Bonny Eagle School District moved to cancel bus routes Wednesday after COVID-19 sickened 17 bus drivers, leaving many parents to make last-minute decisions about how to get their kids to school.

Maine kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can now get COVID-19 booster shots at least five months after they received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Here’s where you can find a booster for them.

Omicron could send Maine COVID-19 cases skyrocketing

The super-contagious omicron variant is likely to land more Mainers in the hospital at a time when mild breakthrough cases further challenge hospital staffing.

Maine reporting record rate of positive COVID-19 tests while omicron surges

The rising positivity rate reflects more Mainers contracting the virus rather than a decline in testing.

More than 1,000 Maine hospital staffers missed work Wednesday due to COVID

The absences are worsening already acute health care staffing shortages as Maine faces near-record coronavirus hospitalizations and the more contagious omicron variant.

For Mainers struggling to heat their homes, getting help is a bureaucratic nightmare

Garrett Lojek of Brooks keeps his furnace set at 55 degrees, and not because he likes it chilly. It’s to save money on heating fuel.

Local politics have taken on a new tone in Maine since Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Before Jan. 6, Maine saw examples of the ideologies that inspired the attack on the Capitol. And they’ve gained more traction since.

Maine isn’t the only place that takes prides in its red hot dogs

Turns out, the red hot dog — dyed its distinctively unnatural pinkish-red color, and made by Bangor’s own W.A. Bean and Sons — is far from a unique Maine treat.

After this week, the sun will rise earlier in Maine

We’re seeing the latest sunrises of the whole year this week, but starting Sunday, the sun will begin getting out of its celestial bed a minute or two earlier each day.

These long-hidden Maine folk songs are being heard for the 1st time in a century

The primitive audio recordings and dusty manuscripts Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee found were languishing, unheard or ignored, for a century or more.

GOP begins Maine Legislature’s 2022 session by fighting rules limiting in-person work

The vote on rules previewed by majority Democrats in December was the most heated debate on the first day of the new legislative session, a time largely used for procedural votes and sending bills to the correct committees.

Rockland will let its residents decide how to spend $30K in federal funds

This would likely be the first time a Maine town has used participatory budgeting.

Watch these monster bucks battle it out in Rangeley

It’s surprising to see deer duke it out like this in January, long after the time for peak rutting activity has passed.

Rats may already be living in your house this winter

Even though you don’t see them, it does not mean rats aren’t there

In other Maine news …

Former Bangor High soccer player signs pro contract with Scottish team

Union says Bates College violated COVID-19 guidelines

Missing Penobscot County man found safe

Carroll Plantation couple sues neighbors and animal control officer over constantly barking dogs

Following tourism boom, Bar Harbor wants to boost bus system funding more than 700 percent

Maine’s child welfare system still struggles to assess early risk of harm, watchdog says

Portland school board agrees to new contract with staff union

$3.5M in loans will help older Mainers pay property taxes

$100M in emergency rental aid has been given to 17,000 Maine households

Longtime County broadcaster Dewey DeWitt dies at 99

UMaine women get off to a fast start en route to dominant win over Hartford