As of Thursday, there are now 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the state, an increase of 13 cases from the previous day. The virus was detected for the first time in Franklin County.
Twenty-two people are currently hospitalized in the state, while 16 cases have recovered from the illness.
With cases continuing to climb in the state, here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah will provide an update on the coronavirus in the state at 11:30 a.m. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— As coronavirus concerns have led to online ordering backups or suspensions at some large grocery stores, some locally owned food and beverage businesses in Maine have started delivering their products straight to consumers to offset the loss of walk-in sales.
— Grocery stores, which have become the frontlines of the pandemic, are taking further steps to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. All of Hannaford Supermarkets’ 180 stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York will have plexiglass screens at cash registers by the end of the day on Friday. Tradewinds, a Maine-based chain with 14 grocery store and convenience store locations, will have screens installed by the end of the week. The move comes the same week an employee at the Winterport Freshies gas station and convenience store tested positive for COVID-19.
— Calls from the Maine health and hospital officials for manufacturers in the state to make medical supplies have been met with enthusiasm as businesses look to help and stay afloat amid the new coronavirus epidemic. But coordinating activities and retooling production also takes time and some vital pieces of medical equipment will be difficult to make in-state.
— Speaking of production, a Rockland man is establishing a “pop-up” factory in Camden to make personal protective equipment in an attempt to help the supply chain inundated with demand amid the spread of the coronavirus.
— UMaine student-teachers expected to spend this semester gaining hands-on experience in managing a classroom full of students. But with the coronavirus pandemic forcing everyone to stay home, the student-teachers have had to spend their semester learning to teach virtually.
— In a world reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, Customers around Maine and the nation — stuck inside and uncertain of the future — have turned some attention toward seed catalogs. Local businesses Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow and Fedco Seeds in Clinton have been overwhelmed by sudden demand. “Boy, is there demand for local food,” Christa Bahner at Bahner Farm in Belmont, which saw a more than tenfold increase from their typical March business, said. “It was totally unexpected.”
— Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday that Maine will follow the federal government to extend the deadline to file income taxes from April 15 to July 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
— Effective today, Reid State Park, Popham Beach State Park, Fort Popham, Fort Baldwin, Kettle Cove State Park, Two Lights State Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Scarborough Beach State Park, Ferry Beach State Park and Mackworth Island will all be closed to the public, according to the Bureau of Parks and Lands. These parks are closed until April 8, but if the coronavirus continues to spread, the closures could be extended.
— For BDN Outdoors Editor and self-proclaimed extrovert John Holyoke, the switch to social distancing has been especially difficult. “There are some who view outdoors activities as an excuse to get away from something. For me, it’s always been something else entirely. They’ve been a way to share special times and special places with others,” he writes in today’s column.
— As of Thursday, the virus has sickened 85,381 people in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and caused 1,271 deaths, according to The New York Times.
— The number of infections around the globe reached a half-million on Thursday, and the death toll climbed to about 23,000.
— In Vermont, the statewide death toll has risen to nine. Massachusetts has reported 25 deaths from the virus, and Connecticut has reported 21 deaths. Earlier this week, New Hampshire reported its first virus-related death. No deaths have been reported in Rhode Island.