Update: There are now 560 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maine and 16 deaths. Read the latest story here.
As of Wednesday, there are now 537 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus spread across 15 of Maine’s counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Two more Maine residents have died from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide death toll to 14.
Statewide, 101 Maine residents have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 187 people have fully recovered from it.
The only county without a confirmed case is Piscataquis.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus about 11:15 a.m. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— A makeshift treatment site planned for the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor would not be used to treat patients infected with the new coronavirus, but rather uninfected hospital patients who need low-level care but are not ready to return home would receive treatment there, freeing up hospital beds, according to Northern Light Health, the hospital system that would oversee care at the site.
— While some Maine health systems have furloughed workers or cut pay as the coronavirus pandemic forces them to postpone nonessential services — and deprives them of the resulting revenue — the biggest system in Greater Bangor has announced that it will not cut pay or force any of its 12,000 employees to stop working. Instead, Northern Light Health is giving three options to any workers whose regular duties are drying up because of the pandemic and whose skills aren’t needed somewhere else: they can do other types of work, use their accrued paid time off or voluntarily agree to go on an unpaid furlough.
— The president of the largest combined union at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery is calling for the facility to temporarily shut down after the U.S. Navy confirmed a civilian worker from the shipyard died Sunday from complications related to the coronavirus. A shipyard spokesperson said there are no plans to shutter the facility, and the leader of another union there dismissed the call, saying “We’re seeing more transmission come from the grocery store than we are at the shipyard.” Bath Iron Works also has faced similar calls for a temporary closure.
— Idexx Laboratories Inc. of Westbrook, which employs about 3,000 people in Maine, is temporarily cutting employee salaries due to losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Idexx is the only Maine company on the S&P 500 index. It is just the latest hit to the state’s economy from the coronavirus. What’s unclear, though, is when economic life will return to normal. That was the message Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, had for business leaders at a virtual Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday morning.
— After she spent a winter renovating, hiring staff, sourcing food and building menus, Robin Adams opened her breakfast and lunch restaurant on March 2, cooking homefries and pancakes for eager new patrons. Maine reported its first coronavirus case on March 12. Two days later, Robin’s Table was closed and Adams let her five employees go. Now, she’s leaving it up to fate whether her vision for a homestyle vegan restaurant in Biddeford will be fully realized.
— Maine Sen. Angus King and several Democrats in the U.S. Senate called on Wednesday for a future stimulus bill aimed at coronavirus relief to include money to support local news organizations. King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, signed a letter with 18 Senate Democrats that characterized local news organizations as “in a state of crisis” that was only “exacerbated” by the coronavirus pandemic.
— Town officials in Bar Harbor took further action this week to halt the coronavirus’ spread as, in a normal year, the traditional tourist season approaches. Town councilors voted to cancel all cruise ship visits to the island community after receiving an “extraordinary volume of email” from residents concerned about the arrival of the vessels. That order affects visits scheduled through the end of June.
— As of early Thursday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 432,438 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Island, as well as caused 14,808 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 433 deaths in Massachusetts, 335 in Connecticut, 35 in Rhode Island, 23 in Vermont and 18 in New Hampshire.