As of noon Wednesday, March 18, 30 Maine residents have been confirmed positive and 12 others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday said there are now 32 confirmed and likely cases of the new coronavirus as state and local governments work to halt the contagion’s spread.
Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a Tuesday press conference that his agency has confirmed 23 of those cases and another nine are likely positive for the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
That’s up from 17 cases overall on Monday, and Shah cautioned Tuesday that further infections are likely.
“It’s important we manage expectations about what the future may hold,” Shah said. “Additional cases in Maine are likely.”
Another 1,303 Maine residents have tested negative for the virus, Shah said, up from 764 on Monday.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease
The new cases include a woman in her 50s, a woman in her 60s, a woman in her 40s, a woman in her 30s and a man in his 20s from Cumberland County; a woman in her 30s from Kennebec County, the first recorded there; a woman in her 50s in Oxford County, the first recorded there; a man in his 50s from York County, the first recorded there; and two women in their 50s, two women in their 60s, a man in his 40s and a man in his 60s, for whom Shah did not immediately have counties for.
A child under age 10 from Androscoggin County also tested positive for the coronavirus, Shah said. That’s the second case so far in a Maine resident under age 18. On Monday, officials confirmed that a 12-year-old boy from Cape Elizabeth had the coronavirus.
Shah noted that the child from Androscoggin County did not attend day care.
The coronavirus has so far left three Maine residents hospitalized, he said.
Tuesday’s cases now mean the coronavirus has been detected in seven counties, with the bulk of them — 17 — in Cumberland County, followed by Androscoggin County with three, Lincoln County with two, and one each in Kennebec, Knox, Oxford and York counties, according to the Maine CDC.
Shah said that so far there is no evidence of “community spread” outside of Cumberland County, and some cases in other counties have been linked to close “household contacts,” such as with spouses.
On Monday, the Maine CDC said more than 100 people have been quarantined or are in isolation due to potential exposure to the coronavirus. A Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Maine, Ross LaJeunesse, said Monday that he is voluntarily isolating himself in his Biddeford home after possible “indirect exposure” to the coronavirus.
An email to the Maine CDC asking for an up-to-date figure for those under quarantine or in isolation due to the coronavirus wasn’t immediately returned early Tuesday afternoon.
To halt the spread of the contagion, major cities across the state — including Augusta, Bangor and Portland — have established curfews for bars, restaurants and other public spaces, and closed government offices.
Meanwhile, many businesses are feeling the pinch as the coronavirus has forced some to temporarily close their doors and dampened economic activity for others, both in Maine and across the country. Hospitals — including Bangor’s Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital — are delaying some elective procedures and limiting visits to patients as they try to make sure they have enough beds and resources to handle a possible influx of coronavirus cases.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,226 people in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been sickened with the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 75 people have died from the contagion, the agency reports.
The U.S. surgeon general, Jerome Adams, in a Monday appearance on Fox News cautioned that the U.S. could soon see a spike in cases similar to Italy, the hardest hit European nation. Only two weeks ago, Italy had 1,700 cases of coronavirus and 34 deaths. Cases have since surged to an estimated 25,000, with more than 1,800 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
Watch: What older adults need to know about COVID-19