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Another three Mainers have died as health officials reported 50 more cases of the new coronavirus have been detected in the state.
There have now been 1,565 cases across all of Maine’s counties since March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 1,515 on Wednesday.
Of those, 1,405 have been confirmed positive, while 160 are likely positive, according to the Maine CDC.
The three latest deaths include a man in his 60s from Penobscot County, a woman in her 90s from Cumberland County and a man in his 80s from Cumberland County. The statewide death toll stands at 69.
So far, 207 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 958 people have fully recovered from the coronavirus, leaving 538 active and likely cases in the state. That’s up from 506 on Wednesday.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact on Maine.
— Hotels and other lodging establishments in Maine can begin accepting reservations for June 1 or later for residents and out-of-staters who have completed a 14-day quarantine, the state announced on Thursday. The state has not yet made changes to the 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers that has been criticized by the hospitality industry.
—There have been no new coronavirus cases for 15 days at the Augusta rehab facility that was the site of Maine’s largest coronavirus outbreak, making it the second nursing home in a week to reach what the state’s top public health official has called an “epidemiological milestone.” The Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation had recorded 48 cases among residents and 28 among staff since the outbreak began in early April. But as of Thursday, the facility had no active cases. Seven residents died, and the remainder of those infected had recovered, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said.
—On the same day that the state’s public health agency tested more than 200 residents and employees at a Skowhegan nursing home where one resident had tested positive for COVID-19, it refused to conduct a smaller number of tests for a nursing home in Kittery that also had a single confirmed case. The willingness to test residents and staff members at one facility and not another highlights an inconsistency with testing as the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to deploy expanded testing capacity later this month.
— A Portland city council committee on Thursday fast-tracked a plan to close downtown streets to vehicle traffic beginning June 1, allowing restaurants and retailers to expand operations onto sidewalks and other outdoor spaces. The proposal reflected “pretty dire times for a lot of businesses” said Councilor Justin Costa, chair of the economic development committee.
— Mainers submitted about 21,000 new jobless claims to the state for the week of May 3 to May 9, according to new data released by the Maine Department of Labor on Thursday morning. Of those claims, about 11,500 were filed by self-employed workers and independent contractors who became eligible for jobless benefits under a new federal program Congress passed as part of a coronavirus-relief package in March. Since March 15, Mainers have received more than $400 million in jobless benefits, compared with $77 million in all of 2019.
— As of early Thursday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,413,012 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 85,581 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 5,482 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,219 in Connecticut, 468 in Rhode Island, 150 in New Hampshire and 53 in Vermont.
Watch: Maine CDC coronavirus press conference, May 14