Today is Tuesday. There have been 2,349 confirmed and likely cases of the new coronavirus in all of Maine’s counties since the outbreak began here in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
No new deaths were reported Monday, leaving the statewide death toll at 89.
So far, 284 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 1,586 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 674 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s down from 684 on 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.
— “Maine has paid more than $650 million in unemployment benefits to roughly a fifth of the state’s workforce since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the state’s top labor official. The pandemic caused an unprecedented shock to Maine’s labor market, leading to record-setting numbers of unemployment claims. The state’s system for processing claims struggled to keep up with the volume, with many workers unable to get help by phone due to high call volumes.” — Jessica Piper, BDN
— “Scattered restaurants in the heart of Portland’s Old Port — the heart of the food capital of Maine — reopened for outdoor dining Monday, as Gov. Janet Mills continued to slowly lift restrictions in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties under the state’s phased plan to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants in other parts of the state were permitted to open for dine-in service on May 18, but Mills held back reopenings in the counties with elevated reports of community transmissions of the virus. ” — Nick Schroeder, BDN
— “Campground and restaurant owners in southern Maine will appeal a Maine federal’s judge’s ruling that Gov. Janet Mills’ 14-quarantine for out-of-state visitors is constitutional to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Bayley’s Camping Resort, the Little River Bar & Grille and the Seaside Square Cafe, all in Scarborough, and the Little Ossipee Campground in Waterboro sued Mills in U.S. District Court in Portland on May 15 claiming that the 14-day quarantine is negatively impacting their businesses. They sought a preliminary injunction to lift the order the governor has said is aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. A notice of appeal was filed in the case Monday.” — Judy Harrison, BDN
— “Several large hotel chains asked Gov. Janet Mills in a letter Monday to eliminate Maine’s 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors, saying it is causing extreme harm to the industry. Hotels were allowed to open Monday as part of the second stage of the governor’s economic reopening plan, but guests must either be Maine residents or out-of-state visitors and essential workers who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement. Hoteliers have complained that the requirement is onerous because visitors cannot self-quarantine in hotels and the quarantines have many reservation cancellations.” — Lori Valigra, BDN
— “The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index came in at 43.1 last month after registering 41.5 in April. Anything below 50 signals that U.S. manufacturers are in retreat. New orders, production, hiring and new export orders all fell in May but at a slower pace than they did in April.” — Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
— “The state laboratory in Augusta is often maxing out its coronavirus testing capacity, though the numbers vary day to day. Maine is still figuring out how to randomly test people in the community, to better detect and trace transmission. And the percentage of people testing positive is still fairly low compared with other states — but it could be lower. These were some of the takeaways shared on Monday by Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.” — Erin Rhoda, BDN
— “Susanne DeGrasse of Orrington attended Mass for the first time in 11 weeks on Monday morning at St. Mary Catholic Church in Bangor. The 74-year-old was emotional as she left the Ohio Street church. “I have been feeling so needy to be able to appreciate our Mass after being removed from the Eucharist for so long,” she said. “I felt very humbled to receive the body of Christ today.” Gov. Janet Mills increased gathering limits for houses of worship from 10 to 50 beginning last Friday, provided social distancing and cleaning guidelines are followed. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which includes all of Maine, allowed in-person Masses to resume Monday.” — Judy Harrison, BDN
— As of early Tuesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,811,277 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 105,147 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 7,035 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,970 in Connecticut, 720 in Rhode Island, 245 in New Hampshire and 55 in Vermont.