May 19, 2020
State Latest News | Coronavirus | Bangor Metro | Ticks | Today's Paper

May 19 evening update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
A statue of literary great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wears a mask in Portland, Maine, Monday, May 18, 2020. There are 1,687 confirmed cases coronavirus in all of Maine's counties since the outbreak began in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The statewide death toll is 70.

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Another three Mainers have died as health officials on Tuesday confirmed another 28 cases of the coronavirus have been detected in the state.

There have now been 1,741 cases across all of Maine’s counties since March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 1,713 on Monday. Of those, 1,561 have been confirmed positive, while 180 are likely positive, according to the Maine CDC.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

The three Mainers who died were residents of Cumberland County — a woman in her 90s, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 40s. The latter victim is only the second person in that age bracket to die from the virus in Maine and nobody in younger age groups has died from it here.

Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah also announced that one death over the weekend that was previously recorded as a coronavirus death was in a patient who had been released from isolation and died of other causes. The statewide death toll sits at 73.

So far, 225 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 44 people are currently hospitalized, with 19 in critical care and 11 on ventilators, according to the Maine CDC. Meanwhile, 1,088 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 580 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s down from 589 on Monday.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact on Maine.

—Two prisoners with medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus are suing Maine’s Department of Corrections for not granting them furlough or providing them with the means to protect themselves during the pandemic, actions they say violate their constitutional rights and federal disability laws.

—Campgrounds and RV parks will open to Maine residents on Friday, but gyms and nail salons will be delayed beyond an originally planned June 1 opening, Gov. Janet Mills’ administration announced on Tuesday.

—The owner of a Bethel restaurant who was ordered not to reopen after he defied the governor’s shutdown order has joined a federal lawsuit against Gov. Janet Mills. Rick Savage, who owns Sunday River Brewing Co., was added Tuesday as a plaintiff in a court complaint filed in Bangor that is seeking class-action status. If granted, it means businesses all over the state could join the lawsuit to prevent the governor’s shutdown from being enforced.

Maine will receive no aid from a $3 billion food distribution program meant to help farmers offload excess product and get it to needy individuals, even as the number of Maine people seeking help putting food on their plates is on the rise. The Farmers to Families Food Box program gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to work with food distributors so they could purchase produce, dairy, meat and milk products and then send those to food pantries and other nonprofit organizations. But no Maine distributors were awarded funding, Jim Britt, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said.

—The state collected barely half of the revenue it had projected last month as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic set in, pointing to the budget challenges the state can expect in the coming months as an economic downturn continues. Most of the revenue plunge was because of the delay in the state’s income tax filing deadline to July 15, according to the state’s revenue report for April.

—Residents of Houlton, Fort Kent and other border towns in Aroostook County will have to wait another month before considering traveling across the border into Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Tuesday to extend the border closure between the United States and Canada until June 21.

—Ever since Mainers have been working, learning and socializing at home due to the stay at home order that went into effect in March, cats and people have been thrown together all day every day. Are the cats of Maine thrilled with the constant companionship? Or are they over it and ready for everyone to leave them alone?

—A Cumberland County courthouse has reopened after a possible coronavirus case late last week. Staff at the Portland courthouse were sent home Friday because a court employee was believed to have contracted COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, according to Amy Quinlan, the communications director for the Maine Judicial Branch.

—The financial impact of the coronavirus could linger well into the coming school year for Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The school expects to lose more than $20 million during the upcoming school year, Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose said Friday in a message to the campus community. That is equal to 15 percent of the expected operating budget for the 2020-2021 academic year, Rose said.

—As of early Tuesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,524,107 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 91,661 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

—Elsewhere in New England, there have been 5,938 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,449 in Connecticut, 532 in Rhode Island, 172 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.

Watch: Maine CDC press conference, May 19

 


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