May 20, 2020
State Latest News | Coronavirus | Bangor Metro | Central Maine Power | Today's Paper

May 20 morning 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 on Monday.

Today is Wednesday. There have now been 1,741 confirmed and likely cases of the new coronavirus since the outbreak began here in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three residents of Cumberland County — a woman in her 90s, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 40s — have died, bringing the statewide death toll to 73 as of Tuesday. The man in his 40s was the second person in that age bracket to die from complications related to the coronavirus. No one younger than that has succumbed to the disease in the state.

So far, 225 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 1,088 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 580 active and likely cases in the state as of Tuesday, according to the Maine CDC. That’s down from 589 on Monday.

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.

— “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. Joseph Denbow, 54, and Sean Ragsdale, 56, inmates at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, both applied for medical furlough as a result of their ongoing medical issues. The suit was filed days before the Maine Department of Corrections confirmed its first positive case of the virus in the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Tuesday.” — Caitlin Andrews, BDN

— “An inmate at a state prison in Windham is the first Maine prisoner to test positive for COVID-19, state officials said Tuesday. Described only as a man in his 20s, the inmate at Maine Correctional Center in Windham began showing symptoms on Sunday, was moved to an isolation unit established for coronavirus patients and tested the next day.” — Nick Sambides Jr., BDN

— “Maine expanded testing capacity at its state laboratory to anyone suspected of having COVID-19 on Monday. But that doesn’t mean everyone who wants a test will immediately be able to get one. On Tuesday, health care providers across Maine said they were still abiding by more restrictive guidelines for who can be tested as they figure out how far their testing supplies can stretch.” — Erin Rhoda, BDN

— “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.” — Judy Harrison, BDN

— “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 decision to open campgrounds came following research showing that outdoor transmission of coronavirus is less likely than indoor transmission, Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said at a news conference.” — Jessica Piper, BDN

— “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, which has been in place since March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” — Alexander MacDougall, Houlton Pioneer Times

— “Leone ‘Kitty’ Harriman, a 71-year-old who contracted coronavirus at the Commons at Tall Pines in Belfast, was the 35th Mainer to die of the disease. But the illness won’t define the Northport resident who fed what seemed to be the entire town with the pickles she canned every summer and who connected with everyone she met. Her family won’t let it.” — Abigail Curtis, BDN

— “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. The state saw less coming in as sales in hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, lodging and auto sales declined. But 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, which projected the state’s unemployment rate for the month would be 14.7 percent.” — Caitlin Andrews, BDN

— “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.” — Christopher Burns, BDN

— “Mainers will be able to keep their lights and internet on as utility, broadband and phone companies continue suspending shutoffs for nonpayment as the coronavirus outbreak stretches into its third month in the state. Some 750 broadband and telephone companies renewed their March 14 pledge to not disconnect service and waive late fees for those unable to pay bills because of the coronavirus.” — Lori Valigra, BDN

— “Organizers of the Camden International Film Festival hope to build a drive-in movie theater in Rockport to serve as a venue for its 2020 festival this fall. If Rockport officials approve the plan they’ll also screen bi-weekly outdoor films there throughout the summer.” — Lauren Abbate, BDN

— As of early Wednesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,528,661 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 91,938 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 5,938 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,472 in Connecticut, 532 in Rhode Island, 172 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.

 


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