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

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

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
A sign announces the reopening of the Hot Spot Diner on Monday in Wiscasset. The restaurant, which has been closed since March 22 because of the coronavirus, reopened on Monday. Governor Janet Mills is now allowing restaurants in 12 of the state's 16 counties to have dine-in customers.

Today is Tuesday. There have now been 1,713 confirmed and likely cases of the coronavirus in all of Maine’s counties since the outbreak since March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A woman in her 80s from Cumberland County has died, bringing the statewide death toll to 71.

Among those cases, 223 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 1,053 people have fully recovered from it, according to the Maine CDC. That means there are 589 active cases of the coronavirus in the state, which was unchanged from Sunday,

Here’s a roundup of the latest news about 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.

— “A Republican lawmaker said he has filed paperwork to begin the process of impeaching Gov. Janet Mills over coronavirus-related restrictions, though party leaders oppose the inquiry as they press for the Legislature to rein in the governor’s emergency power. Rep. John DeVeau, R-Caribou, told protesters at a Saturday rally that he filed paperwork to impeach the Democratic governor with a legislative office that drafts bills. He declined to provide specifics on the charges, referring a reporter to a spokesperson who said he did not have a draft. Bills are kept confidential by the Legislature before they are introduced.” — Jessica Piper and Michael Shepherd, BDN

— “The state of Maine could need at least $3 billion to make up for the revenue it expects to lose from the coronavirus pandemic and to cover the costs of fighting it, according to estimates released by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ office as the state advocates for more federal aid. And that estimate is low, the governor wrote in a letter to members of Maine’s congressional delegation.” — Caitlin Andrews, BDN

— “A new bill in the U.S. Senate could provide more than $2 billion to state and local governments in Maine to help offset lost revenues due to coronavirus-related economic shutdowns. The proposal, co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, includes $500 billion for state and local governments nationally and also frees up $1.25 billion previously allocated as part of a stimulus package that passed at the end of March.” — Jessica Piper, BDN

— “The Devon family is dealing with their fair share of pandemic problems — and then some. They’ve got a high school senior missing out on graduation and everything that goes with it. Another child is facing an uncertain freshman year in the fall. Mom is out of work because of the lockdown and they’re down to one vehicle after someone smashed into their car on the street over the weekend. But it’s OK, they’ve got this.” — Troy R. Bennett, BDN

— “The same day a group of southern Maine business owners sued Gov. Janet Mills to lift the 14-day self-quarantine mandate for out-of-state travelers, another wrote to Mills urging her to keep it in place. Saying that it was too soon to relax the required self-quarantine for visitors upon arriving in Maine, a group of 80 businesses sent a letter to Mills saying that they didn’t want to see more Mainers infected and hurt progress already made against the virus.” — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN

— “Topsham was on one side of a line that looks arbitrary in the highly connected communities. Restaurants were cleared to open for limited dine-in service there on Monday because the town sits in Sagadahoc County. Some regulars at Fairground Cafe were comforted by the chance to dine at their old standby, but there was no immediate surge at local restaurants. Brunswick is across the Androscoggin River in Cumberland County, one of four counties that must wait until June 1 to open.” — Nick Schroeder, BDN

— “Maine small businesses are running short on cash as problems including supply chain disruptions remain an issue as the economy starts to reopen, according to a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. The data, collected from a sampling of small businesses at the end of April and early May, shed light on the challenges faced by Maine businesses despite widespread access to federal aid programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.” — Jessica Piper, BDN

— “The first businesses that received loans under a federal stimulus program will be able to start applying for forgiveness for them on June 1, but guidelines released Friday on how to do it have raised more questions. … Roughly one in 10 small businesses in Maine received a total of more than $2.2 billion in loans in the program’s first round, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who championed the program.” — Lori Valigra, BDN

— “More than 130,000 autoworkers returned to factories across the U.S. for the first time in nearly two months Monday in one of the biggest steps yet to restart American industry. … Automakers from Detroit’s Big Three — Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Ford — to Honda and Toyota put screening procedures in place at the dozens of factories that reopened from the Great Lakes states south to Tennessee and Texas and out west to Tesla’s factory near the San Francisco Bay. Some Detroit automakers started cranking out vehicles Monday, but it will take longer to fully restart other plants.” — The Associated Press

— “The Portland City Council voted Monday to help downtown Portland survive the pandemic by closing some city streets for months to allow stores and restaurants to operate outdoors. The plan will loosen restrictions and reduce fees to help businesses — such as bars, restaurants and retailers — expand into nearby public and private spaces, such as sidewalks or plazas.” — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN

— “President Donald Trump is taking a malaria drug to lessen symptoms should he get the new coronavirus, he said Monday, even though the drug is unproven for fighting COVID-19. Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” Trump spent weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.” — The Associated Press

— As of early Tuesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,508,957 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 90,369 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 5,862 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,449 in Connecticut, 506 in Rhode Island, 172 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.


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