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As of 11 a.m. Monday, there are now 499 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus spread across 15 Maine counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
No new deaths were reported Sunday, leaving the total loss of life at 10. Additionally, 86 Maine residents who have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 156 people have fully recovered from it, according to the Maine CDC.
Only one county — Piscataquis — has no confirmed cases of the virus.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus in Maine later today. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— A record number of Mainers have been left without work because of the coronavirus outbreak, and by some estimates, it will only get worse. Even with that unprecedented number of people left jobless, Maine’s labor commissioner is confident that the state’s unemployment fund will be able to weather the coronavirus crisis. Maine’s unemployment system was in a historically good financial situation until the crisis forced it to pay out $6 million alone to people who filed between March 15 and March 21. For comparison, the state paid out a $10.4 million total in February before coronavirus started ravaging the job market. Experts say the speed at which job loss is occurring and the uncertainty of how long the virus pandemic will last say states should be prepared for the worst.
— Self-employed Mainers hit hard by the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic are still waiting for relief as a federal program aimed at helping them will take at least another week to set up.
— With more Mainers working from home, the state’s broadband infrastructure has been placed under strain, leading to slow speeds and, in some places, loss of connection. Jeff Letourneau, who monitors Maine’s internet as executive director of Networkmaine at the University of Maine System, told Maine Public there are parts of the state that simply don’t have the capacity to handle the increased demand on home internet connections.
— Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has ordered the suspension of most lodging operations through the end of the month in an effort to deter visitors from traveling to Maine. That’s caused immense uncertainty among those in the hospitality industry over details, such as who will be exempted and still allowed to stay in hotels, motels, campgrounds, RV parks and short-term rental facilities.
— The Maine seafood industry has taken a big hit from the coronavirus as restaurants shutter, taking away a significant market for its products and leaving fishermen and dealers scrambling for new markets. For some dealers, the solution has been to make sales directly to consumers, opening pick-up stations in parking lots and elsewhere.
— The U.S. surgeon general, Jerome Adams, on Sunday warned that the nation could face its “hardest and saddest week” yet in the coronavirus outbreak in the coming days. That warning comes as infections and deaths continue to climb in the U.S. as states scramble to find needed equipment to treat the virus’ victims. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated this year, meaning the U.S. could see a resurgence during the next flu season.
— As of Monday morning, the coronavirus has sickened at least 337,646 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 9,648 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
— Elsewhere in New England, the virus has killed 231 people in Massachusetts, 189 in Connecticut, 25 in Rhode Island, 22 in Vermont and nine in New Hampshire.