Today is Monday. There have now been 1,185 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus across all of Maine’s counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another two deaths were confirmed over the weekend — one involving a woman in her 80s from Waldo County and the other a man in his 90s from Cumberland County — bringing the statewide death toll to 57.
So far, 183 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 706 people have fully recovered from the coronavirus, meaning there are 422 active cases in the state. That’s up from 407 on Saturday.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus this afternoon. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— For more than a month and a half, Maine has prioritized COVID-19 tests for the most at-risk patients. Maine, however, needs to be able to test everyone with symptoms, not just those at greatest risk of severe illness or death, in order to reopen its economy, Gov. Janet Mills has said. A definitive answer on how much testing Maine actually needs to do is elusive.
— Minority Republicans in the Maine Legislature want to reconvene and end the coronavirus state of emergency declared by Mills, which would allow all businesses to reopen but would require unlikely Democratic support. The Democratic-led Legislature adjourned in mid-March shortly after Maine recorded its first cases of the virus after passing a pared-back $74 million spending plan and a separate package aimed squarely at the coronavirus that set aside money for the coronavirus fight. It was an example of deference to the Democratic governor in hard times.
— Hundreds of Mainers gathered outside the state capitol and governor’s residence in Augusta on Saturday in the second protest of coronavirus restrictions the state has seen in recent weeks. Multiple business groups have pushed back against the governor’s plan to reopen Maine’s economy, particularly those in the tourism industry, who have said that the plan will not move quickly enough to save the upcoming summer season.
— The pastor of an Orrington church announced Sunday that next week he will open the doors of Calvary Chapel to in-person worship in defiance of Mills’ order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Ken Graves also said during a drive-in worship service in the church parking lot that the evangelical congregation would be the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit — expected to be filed by the end of the week — challenging the constitutionality of the executive order that has shuttered houses of worship throughout Maine and limited gatherings to 10 people.
— There was no shortage of smiles at busy golf courses across Maine over the weekend after Mills last week approved the opening of courses. Golf had been banned since April 2 because of the COVID-19 pandemic under a previous stay-at-home order that allowed only businesses deemed essential to remain open.
— As the state of Maine slowly reopens businesses and public spaces this spring and summer, it may be confusing at times to figure out exactly what’s open and available — and what’s not. To help you enjoy the outdoors safely, and with minimal frustration, we’ve compiled information about outdoor destinations and recreational opportunities, focusing on the month of May.
— Puritan Medical Products of Guilford is one of the world’s top two makers of the specialized swabs that are used to collect samples from people’s nasal cavities so that they can be tested for the coronavirus. Now a new federal contract worth up to $75.5 million will help it to rapidly grow into a new Pittsfield facility and staff it with at least 150 additional workers. It has been an unprecedented moment for the Piscataquis County company, which is part of a century-old family business, Hardwood Products Co. LP, that also makes things such as popsicle sticks and tongue depressors.
— From a facility off Porter Hill Road in Farmington, Don McIntire printed children’s books, government contracts, flyers for local businesses and a smattering of other paper products for more than three decades. Now the 72-year-old finds himself wondering how he is going to dispose of a 55-gallon tank of used ink and pay off a lease on a digital press after the printing business he owned since 1987 went out of business in mid-April. McIntire, who lives in Fairfield and is the longtime owner of Heritage Printing, described the coronavirus outbreak as the “nail in the coffin” for his business.
— Machias Savings Bank is planning to provide $200,000 in community grant funding to organizations working for coronavirus relief efforts. The bank said applications for the grants opened on May 1. The money will be made available to nonprofit groups working directly with the outbreak and its consequences for Maine.
— As of early Monday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,158,341 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 67,686 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 4,004 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 2,436 in Connecticut, 320 in Rhode Island, 86 in New Hampshire and 53 in Vermont.