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As of early Saturday morning, another 38 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Maine.
There have now been 1,603 cases across all of Maine’s counties since March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 1,565 on Thursday.
Of those, 1,437 have been confirmed positive, while 166 are likely positive, according to the Maine CDC.
No new deaths were reported Friday, leaving the statewide death toll at 69.
So far, 211 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 35 people are currently hospitalized, with 16 in critical care and eight on ventilators, according to the Maine CDC.
Meanwhile, 993 people have fully recovered from the coronavirus, meaning there are 541 active and likely cases in the state. That’s up from 538 on Thursday.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact on Maine.
—When Maine triples testing capacity for COVID-19 at its laboratory early next week, medical providers will no longer have to prioritize tests for the most vulnerable patients, putting Maine among the first states to “completely throw open the doors,” on testing, said Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is for the state laboratory to be ready by Monday to triple the number of tests it has historically performed, allowing it to turn out 7,000 test results per week, he said, and put Maine on a surer path to reopening its economy.
—One of the top questions for employers and workers in Maine since the pandemic began has been which jobs and services are considered “essential,” a designation that ensures a business will remain open and its employees can continue working. The Maine Republican Party has just secured essential worker status from the state for the people collecting signatures for the party’s ranked-choice voting repeal campaign. As the party tries to place a referendum on the November ballot to repeal Maine’s ranked-choice voting law, its signature gatherers will have to follow certain guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Department of Economic and Community Development spokesperson Kate Foye said Friday. Many of those fall in line with social distancing recommendations and requirements businesses have to follow as they reopen.
—As many restaurants in 12 out of Maine’s 16 counties prepare to reopen for dine-in services on Monday, customers from across the state expressed varying levels of apprehension about it. Some, such as Mark Paulsen of Newcastle, said the reopening of restaurants in all counties but Androscoggin, Cumberland, Penobscot and York is still premature; others plan to take all the necessary precautions and re-enter dining rooms sometime this coming week.
— Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District opposed a massive $3 trillion coronavirus response bill as his fellow House Democrats toward passage Friday that will set up a long, difficult election-year negotiation with the White House and Senate Republicans. In a statement, Golden blamed party leaders for “expanding the scope of the legislation beyond core, urgent needs and insisting on the inclusion of a series of unrelated provisions.”
—Have you received a bill after trying to get tested for the coronavirus? Please take our survey to tell us about the costs you’ve encountered as you’ve sought testing and treatment for COVID-19. We’ll never use your name in our coverage without your permission.
—As of Friday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,443,397 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 87,568 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
—Elsewhere in New England, there have been 5,592 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,285 in Connecticut, 479 in Rhode Island, 151 in New Hampshire and 53 in Vermont.
Watch: Who can make reservations at Maine hotels next month?