June 01, 2020
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April 3 morning update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine

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As of Thursday, there are now 376 confirmed cases of the coronavirus throughout the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s an increase of 32 cases from the previous day, with cases confirmed in 13 of Maine’s 16 counties.

That includes 68 people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 94 Maine residents have fully recovered from the virus, according to Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC.

While the Maine CDC has not confirmed any new deaths in the state since Wednesday, a veteran died from COVID-19 complications at a veterans administration facility in Augusta on Thursday, according to a statement released by VA Healthcare Systems, which oversees the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta. If confirmed, this would be the eighth death in the state from COVID-19.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.

— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus in the state at 11:15 a.m. today. The BDN will livestream the briefing.

— U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine on Thursday largely praised President Donald Trump’s recent response to the coronavirus while disagreeing with his administration’s decision to not re-open enrollment in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act. Read the full interview here.

— The inmate population at the state’s 15 county jails dropped by nearly a quarter in the last two full weeks of March, the result of collaborative efforts to dramatically reduce the number of defendants awaiting trial and control the spread of the coronavirus within jails’ cramped quarters.

— During the coronavirus outbreak, Jeff Jones’ greatest fears don’t center on running out of toilet paper or cleaning supplies, or even where residents will go if they get sick. They revolve around losing staff, at a time when it is difficult to find workers. Jones oversees adult services for Downeast Horizons, a group home in Bar Harbor whose residents have intellectual and physical disabilities. “We serve a large number of adults in our group homes that, without staff in our group homes, they will die,” Jones said.

— A loose network of Maine doctors, engineers and craftspeople have been working to quickly produce a simple new tool that could give them some extra protection against the contagion: essentially a clear plastic box that’s open on one side and has a few strategically placed holes and flaps. The box would be placed over the head and torso of a patient lying face-up, allowing a doctor to stick a breathing tube into the patient’s mouth but preventing the pathogens that the patient expels during intubation from landing on nearby health care workers or in other parts of the room.

— The Maine Veterans’ Homes facility in Scarborough, one of the six facilities operated by the quasi-state nonprofit, is restricting visitors and has isolated staff and residents that came into close contact with an employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

— As summer draws near but coronavirus concerns continue to keep most of society shut down, more cruise ships have canceled visits scheduled for Maine next month.

— As of Friday morning, the virus has sickened 245,573 people in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and caused 6,508 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 154 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 112 in Connecticut, 17 in Vermont, 12 in Rhode Island and five in New Hampshire.

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