As of Tuesday, there are now 734 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus spread across 15 of Maine’s counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The statewide death toll rose to 20 on Tuesday, with the death of a woman in her 70s from York County.
Of those who have tested positive, 124 Maine residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 292 people have fully recovered from it.
Only one county — Piscataquis — still hasn’t recorded a confirmed case of the coronavirus. “Community transmission” has been confirmed in Cumberland, Penobscot and York counties.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC’s daily briefing has been postponed to 4:45 p.m. due to the mill explosion in Jay. We will livestream it here.
— Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday afternoon extended a civil state of emergency through May 15. That move came as her original order, issued March 15, was set to expire Wednesday. It gives Mills additional time to access federal funding and use certain powers in the state’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
— The temporary treatment center to be set up at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena would be used to treat coronavirus patients who do not require acute care, state health officials said Tuesday. But they reiterated Tuesday that they’re setting up the Portland site and one in Bangor as a precaution only, and that they would prefer not to use them.
— The president of Bath Iron Works said the shipyard will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak after a group of Maine lawmakers again pressed him to temporarily close the facility. Dirk Lesko said in a letter in response to the lawmakers’ request that the decision to close the shipyard rests with the U.S. Navy and Defense Department.
— The short-term rental unit Rudy Ferrante hosts next to his home on Munjoy Hill is booked solid in a typical April. Not this year. Even before the state ordered a shutdown on Airbnb and other short-term rentals due to the coronavirus, Ferrante’s guests canceled on him well into June. With no short-term revenue coming in, he’s now leaning toward renting his Vesper Street unit for a year. Some of the roughly 800 registered short-term rental units in Portland could go back on the market because of the pandemic. With no revenue coming in, owners like Ferrante are weighing switching units over to long-term rentals or riding things out until the virus passes.
— The U.S. attorney’s office in Maine is asking the Maine Medical Association and Maine Hospital Association to provide information to law enforcement about individuals and companies that may be acquiring or selling scarce medical supplies for hoarding or price gouging. “Law enforcement needs the assistance of medical professionals in identifying those who may have acquired crucial medical supplies in excess of what they could reasonably use, or for the purpose of charging exorbitant prices. These supplies should be in the hands of the brave healthcare workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect others,” U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank said in a letter sent to the organizations Tuesday.
— Jack Allard, a Bates College alumnus who last month contracted the coronavirus, remains hospitalized in Philadelphia, where he has been placed in a medically induced coma, according to his uncle.
— The University of Maine will follow NCAA recommendations and provide its 2020 spring sports athletes another year of eligibility to make up for this year’s lost season due to the pandemic. While the seniors may return for an extra year, Black Bear coaches must operate with the same amount of scholarship money budgeted for 2020-2021. UMaine coaches believe allowing the athletes to come back is the right decision, but there is concern about how that might affect individual programs.
— Republican President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening announced that the U.S. is suspending payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China. Trump claimed the organization failed to carry out its “basic duty” to contain the outbreak and must be held accountable. Trump also said Tuesday that he’s open to states “reopening” before federal social distancing guidelines expire at April’s end in a move that appeared to back off his earlier claim of absolute authority to decide when to reopen the country. Maine Gov. Janet Mills said Tuesday she has been talking with the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont about how to eventually reopen the economies of the northern New England states after the threat of the new coronavirus recedes.
— As of Wednesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 609,516 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 26,057 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 25 in New Hampshire.