Update: There are now 142 cases of the coronavirus in Maine as of 11 a.m. Wednesday. Read the latest story here.
There are now 118 cases of the coronavirus across 10 Maine counties, as of Tuesday morning, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
That includes a new case in Waldo County — involving a nurse from Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast — and another 15 Maine residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Three people have fully recovered and been released from isolation.
Here’s the latest about the coronavirus outbreak as state officials take greater steps to limit its spread in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus in the state at 11:30 a.m. The BDN will be livestreaming the briefing.
— We have learned more about individuals who have contracted the coronavirus. St. Mary’s Health System said Tuesday that a provider at its Lewiston hospital had tested positive, but added that individual had not practiced clinically in nine days. A former Bates College athlete who caught the coronavirus in New Jersey is in critical condition.
— On Tuesday morning, union officials said that more than half of the workforce at Bath Iron Works did not show up to work on the heels of the revelation that an employee at the shipyard had tested positive for the virus. The shipyard’s parent company, General Dynamics, said that worker had not been at the main yard since March 13.
— Officials are ramping up their efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday ordered all nonessential businesses to close. That comes on top of a previous order banning gatherings of more than 10 people and restricting bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery service only. Her latest order mirrors similar moves in other cities and towns, including Bangor and Brunswick. You can find a guide to what businesses must close here.
— In Portland, city officials took the step of ordering residents there to stay at home for at least the next five days. Residents can only leave their homes to access essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and violators could face a $500 fine. Cumberland County, where Portland is located, has been hardest hit by the coronavirus, with 74 cases. Health officials have said that there’s evidence of “community transmission” of the virus in Cumberland County. There’s not yet evidence of that in other counties.
— That follows an earlier plea from Mayor Kate Snyder to the city’s landlords to halt evictions and rent increases, particularly as more and more people find themselves temporarily out of work as businesses shutter during the outbreak.
— In Knox County, Sheriff Tim Carroll said that about 25 percent of the county jail’s inmates have been released to prevent a spread of the virus within the facility. That follows moves within the judicial branch to limit the number of people who end up in local jails. The court system has vacated more than 12,000 warrants for unpaid fines and fees and is seeing newly arrested people every day in order to free up space in the jails. The court system also cut back public hours this week to limit chances of the virus spreading in courthouses, and state and federal courts have suspended jury trials.
— The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is asking all hikers to postpone any hikes on the Appalachian Trail until the risks of spreading the coronavirus to others has been reduced significantly.
— As of Tuesday, the virus has sickened 44,183 people in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and caused 544 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
— Vermont and Massachusetts have reported new deaths from the coronavirus. In Vermont, two more people have died, bringing its statewide death toll to seven. Five of those are connected to the Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center. Another two people have died in Massachusetts, where the death toll now stands at 11. On Monday, New Hampshire reported its first virus-related death.