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.
Health officials confirmed Wednesday that Penobscot County has its first case of the new coronavirus as Gov. Janet Mills ordered broader limits on public gatherings.
Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a Wednesday press conference that the state now has 42 confirmed and likely cases of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, up from 32 on Tuesday.
Fourteen of those cases are new, while three previously reported cases involving non-residents have been transferred to other states, Shah said. A resident of Androscoggin County has recovered from infection, he said.
Shah said his agency has confirmed 30 of the cases and that another 12 likely have the virus but await confirmation.
Another 1,670 Maine residents have tested negative for the virus, up from 1,303 on Tuesday, according to Shah.
So far, Cumberland County has been hardest hit by the coronavirus, with 23 cases. Many cases there are the result of “community spread,” health officials have said. Others have popped up in Androscoggin (3), Kennebec (1), Lincoln (3), Oxford (1) and York (2) counties since the coronavirus was first detected in Maine last week. Shah did not immediately have locations for another eight cases.
Of those cases, Shah said that four people have been hospitalized as a result of the coronavirus.
A Maine CDC spokesman, Robert Long, said in an email that more than 100 people in the state are in quarantine or isolation due to the coronavirus, but that number is extremely fluid.
To halt the spread of the contagion, Mills, a Democrat, ordered restaurants and bars to stop dine-in service effective Wednesday and banned public gatherings of more than 10 people. Mills asked that gyms, theaters, casinos, shopping malls and other establishments close. That order will not affect grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses considered essential.
That move comes as major cities across the state — including Augusta, Bangor and Portland — have established curfews for bars, restaurants and other public spaces, and closed government offices in response to the growing outbreak.
As of Wednesday, 7,038 people in 50 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 97 people have died from the contagion, the agency reports.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease