May 23, 2020
State Latest News | Coronavirus | Bangor Metro | Memorial Day | Today's Paper

May 23 morning update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
The Belfast Farmers’ Market moved outdoors in mid March this year, earlier than normal, because of the Coronavirus. According to the Belfast Farmers' Market website, public health is a top priority and the market is following a comprehensive list of new COVID-19 protocols.

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Today is Saturday. Health officials on Friday confirmed 71 more coronavirus cases have been detected in Maine and that two more people have died.

There have now been 1,948 cases across all of Maine’s counties since the outbreak began here in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 1,877 on Thursday.

Of those, 1,749 have been confirmed positive, while 199 are likely positive, according to the Maine CDC.

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

A resident from Aroostook County was among the latest coronavirus-related deaths, the first for The County since the start of the outbreak. The other death involved a resident of Kennebec County, bringing the statewide death toll to 75. The Maine CDC earlier reported three new deaths, but that was later revised down to two.

So far, 240 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 45 people are currently hospitalized, with 21 in critical care and 12 on ventilators, according to the Maine CDC.

Meanwhile, 1,192 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 680 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s up from 659 on Thursday.

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

More than 700,000 Maine residents received economic impact payments so far, totaling more than $1.2 billion in federal money from a coronavirus-related stimulus bill that has gone directly to households in the state. Payments so far have largely gone to individuals who had provided their bank account information to the IRS, though the window to give banking information to the IRS has closed. In the coming weeks, another 4 million people nationwide will be receiving the payments on prepaid debit cards. Others will still receive regular checks in the mail.

—For more than two months, the staff of Maine’s two largest hospital systems have been making decisions about COVID-19 testing in an environment of near-constant uncertainty. Some challenges remain, but both Northern Light Health, based in Brewer, and MaineHealth, based in Portland, are now seeing more signs of progress, an important step as the state gradually reopens its economy.

—Gov. Janet Mills this week said it was “appalling” and “bad public policy” that 53 inmates had received nearly $200,000 in unemployment benefits after they lost work-release jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. But some who advocate for inmates questioned why prisoners laid off from work-release jobs — where they often work alongside conventional employees while serving their sentences — shouldn’t receive benefits that can help them support their families right now and help them get back on their feet once they’re released.

—For its 22nd year, the Maine International Film Festival, usually held each July in Waterville, will instead be taking the show on the road — to nearby Skowhegan, specifically. MIFF, as it’s usually called, will this year screen the entirety of its slate of programming at the Skowhegan Drive-In movie theater, 201 Waterville Road, in an effort to maintain social distancing and protect the safety of movie-goers during the coronavirus pandemic.

—Gabby Ravin said playing soccer while wearing a face mask has been challenging. That is one of the many requirements put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 as local youth soccer clubs returned to the practice field earlier this month. U.S. Soccer and Soccer Maine have established restrictions in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the national and state levels.

— As of early Saturday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,601,434 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 96,007 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 6,228 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,637 in Connecticut, 579 in Rhode Island, 204 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.

Watch: Maine CDC coronavirus press conference, May 22

 


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