Today is Wednesday. There have now been 2,377 confirmed and probable 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.
Tuesday saw the largest single-day jump in coronavirus-related deaths — five — since April 23. The latest deaths involved four Cumberland County residents and a Penobscot County resident, bringing the statewide death toll to 94.
So far, 287 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 1,646 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 637 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s down from 674 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.
— “State officials are hoping to replace the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors with a ‘layered’ approach that will allow tourists to safely enter the state, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Heather Johnson said Tuesday. … The state’s attempt to replace the quarantine is ‘still a work in progress,’ Johnson said, but the Mills administration is trying to finalize a plan ‘as quickly as possible.’ That work includes a ‘fairly broad collaboration’ with industry representatives and communities to gather feedback on elements of the plan to replace the quarantine order, Johnson said.” — Josh Keefe, BDN
— “One of the first people to return to live performances this week after the state’s restrictions on public gatherings were lifted to 50 people will be a man many Mainers have been watching crack jokes on his Facebook page about his own experience in quarantine in recent months. Maine comedian Bob Marley, whose Crona Watch 2020 videos have attracted thousands of viewers since March, will perform 10 shows at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit, June 3-7, seven shows at Morgan Hill Event Center in Hermon June 11-13, and two shows at the Bangor Drive-In on June 17. In Ogunquit and Hermon, each show will be for audiences of 50 people or fewer.” — Emily Burnham, BDN
— “Pent-up demand and fetching manufacturer incentives like zero percent loans for seven years fueled vehicle sales in May, but current low inventories and a pending recession are clouding business prospects for the rest of this year, Maine car dealers said. Automobile sales, a key economic indicator, have seen 10 years of strong growth since the Great Recession. Nationwide, nearly twice as many vehicles were sold in January of this year compared to the 9.4 million in April 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. However, sales fell to 8.8 million in April, the first full month of pandemic restrictions.” — Lori Valigra, BDN
— “As Maine schools wait for some direction from the state to finalize their plans for reopening in the fall, at least one thing is clear: Schools will not be the same places they were before COVID-19. How different K-12 education will look come September is still unknown due to the lack of detailed state and local plans and a virus situation that could rapidly change. But Maine schools, like all others nationwide, will have to implement robust safety precautions to ensure a safe return to in-person learning after their buildings shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.” — Eesha Pendharkar, BDN
— “In an attempt to provide the Class of 2020 with a graduation experience worth remembering, a number of Maine high schools are planning “drive-in” ceremonies, with some taking place at airports and others at actual drive-in movie theaters. The unusual ceremonies are being held because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept students home across the country since March and is preventing schools from holding traditional ceremonies where students and attendees sit inches away from each other.” — Lauren Abbate, BDN
— “A prisoner at Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren sued Gov. Janet Mills and two of her commissioners in federal court on Tuesday, saying the administration violated his constitutional rights by seizing unemployment benefits he collected without due process. The state paid out almost $200,000 to 53 inmates since the pandemic started after the Department of Corrections halted its work release program in mid-March. Assistant Attorney General Nancy Macirowski advised that the practice was legal under a section of federal employment law letting prisoners employed by private companies collect unemployment.” — Caitlin Andrews, BDN
— “About four million Americans will receive their stimulus corona cash on a prepaid debit card, according to the Treasury Department. And, yes, these debit cards are real. If you thought these debit cards were fake, you have a lot of company.” — Erin Arvedlund, The Philadelphia Inquirer
— As of early Wednesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,831,821 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 106,181 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 7,085 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,972 in Connecticut, 732 in Rhode Island, 256 in New Hampshire and 55 in Vermont.
Watch: Maine CDC press conference, June 2