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As of Monday, there are now 734 cases of the new coronavirus spread across 15 of Maine’s counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials report that 124 Maine residents have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 292 have fully recovered from the virus.
The statewide death toll increased to 20 on Tuesday, with one new death announced.
Only one county — Piscataquis — has not recorded a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
—We are hearing from some readers that information isn’t readily available everywhere — or consistent even if it is available. So we’d like to learn from you what questions are on your mind about local resources or community services. What you share will help us build a set of questions we’ll look for answers to for as many towns as we can.
— Gov. Janet Mills has extended Maine’s state of emergency until May 15. The original declaration was slated to end on Wednesday, April 15. The renewed declaration gives Mills the ability to suspend the enforcement of laws, establish emergency reserves of certain products and allows the state to access federal funding to mitigate the outbreak.
— Maine has formed a loose coalition with New Hampshire and Vermont as the governors of all three states attempt to plan the eventual reopening of society. The three northern New England states are similar in their largely rural and older populations. They also look to be at similar points in their outbreaks.
—Over the past few weeks, several nursing homes and retirement communities have seen large outbreaks of COVID-19. Families and friends of residents are unable to visit these facilities, and are uncertain about the care their vulnerable loved ones are receiving. We talked with the d aughter of an Augusta rehab patient who tested negative for COVID-19 in a facility where nearly two-thirds of the residents and staff tested positive for the virus.
—Even before the pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Maine were facing staff shortages. But now, any staff who test positive must be quarantined for at least two weeks—meaning they can’t work, even as facilities take on the added stress of caring for sick residents.
—Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are vulnerable in part because they have a number of people living close together. Life in any congregate setting right now poses additional risks for residents and staff from COVID-19. That’s also true of jails and prisons. Here’s h ow social distance and quarantining function in one Maine prison.
— Two temporary care sites planned for Portland and Bangor are meant to treat COVID-19 patients who do not require acute care, state health officials said Tuesday. The sites are meant as backups in case a surge in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals and the health care system needs additional capacity. But health care officials say they hope they won’t actually need to use them.
—Individuals and businesses across all industries continue to struggle with the economic fallout of the pandemic. Mainers collecting unemployment benefits are expected to see the additional $600 provided for in the most recent federal stimulus package by next week. The Maine Department of Labor also said Tuesday it will extend the time during which those filing for unemployment can reach Department of Labor employees on the phone this week.
— College students in Maine, and the schools they attend, are receiving more than $41 million in federal funds to assist them with the costs of the coronavirus pandemic. The funding, from the coronavirus relief bill signed last month, was announced by Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who said it will help students pay for needs such as food, housing and technology. About $17 million of those funds will go to the University of Maine System, and at least half will go directly to aid for students.
—With last week’s snowstorm and Monday’s windstorm, thousands of Mainers lost power over the past 5 days. Many spent days without power, and thousands currently remain without electricity. Combined with the pandemic, the power outages only increased the isolation of people across the state, forcing them to find new ways to cope.
—Need a haircut? Staff writer Sam Schipani shaved her boyfriend’s head while in quarantine, since he couldn’t go to his typical barber. Here’s how it went.
— As of Tuesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 594,207 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 25,402 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 957 deaths from the coronavirus in Massachusetts, 671 in Connecticut, 80 in Rhode Island, 29 in Vermont and 27 in New Hampshire.
Watch: Maine CDC press conference, April 14