Mike Fern

Mike Fern

edge staff writer

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AUGUSTA – What a year. It was a Sunday night year ago on March 15, 2020 when Maine Gov. Janet Mills declared a state of emergency after 12 cases of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 were reported across the state. Much about the coronavirus was still unknown back then, but it was already beginning to disrupt the world.

By the time she declared the emergency, then-Pres. Donald Trump had already made the declaration for the U.S. The cruise ship Grand Princess was trapped off the California coast with 100 cases aboard that resulted in eight deaths, while its sister ship Diamond Princess was idled off the coast of Japan with 712 cases and 14 deaths – all of them passengers. The World Health Organization had declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

But that wasn’t all. International travel to the U.S. from China and most of Europe had been banned. As panic selling ensued, rapid declines in the S&P 500 triggered stock market-wide halts in securities trading. The NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive just before the team’s game with the Oklahoma City Thunder. And there were already over 3,000 cases in the U.S. and the country had suffered 69 deaths. All that in the span of just weeks.

In the days after Mills declared the public health state of emergency, the Maine legislature passed emergency legislation that would provide funding for the coronavirus response efforts, extend unemployment benefits to the nearly 250,000 Mainers who would eventually file for unemployment claims amid months of business closures, and give Mills emergency authority to change or suspend laws in the absence of lawmakers while the emergency was in effect.

It would be the last time the legislature would meet in full session for almost a full year – they met in a new session for the first time on March 4, 2021. During that time, Mills would go on to issue 79 executive orders to combat the pandemic.

And in the following weeks, terms like “flattening the curve” and “essential businesses” would lead to the temporary closure of many companies across the state that were deemed nonessential under new “Stay at Home” orders. For many, two weeks turned into three months turned into 10 of phased re-openings. Unfortunately, hundreds of businesses across Maine never came back.

And in the year since the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) – the state agency charged with protecting the public’s health – was activated to respond to the pandemic, the agency has kept track of thousands of cases daily, shipped millions of pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE), managed the distribution of therapeutics and vaccines, investigated hundreds of outbreaks across the state and contact-traced thousands more to prevent more outbreaks.

Yes, it is a year later. Yes, this pandemic has certainly taken its toll. It could have been better. But it could also have been much worse.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: For reporting purposes, case counts are actually tabulated the prior day and those tabulations are often adjusted up or down. This is due to Maine CDC investigators determining which actual new or current cases may not qualify to be classified as COVID-19 cases, especially when it comes to probable cases. Some days are actually adjusted upward, while cases are more often revised downward upon subsequent investigations. Therefore, The Maine Edge uses adjusted net figures first when determining actual daily variances instead of the number of newly reported cases that may end up not qualifying or being adjusted. In the case of a prior day's figures being revised upward, both will be included since the prior day was underreported.)

DAILY UPDATE: Current information as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 with CDC data as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 8. Some figures have been updated due to newly obtained data.

AUGUSTA - New cases related to COVID-19 continued to post more moderate gains on Tuesday when 133 new cases were reported across the state, which brought Maine’s total case count above the 46K mark to 46,059. Following two straight weeks of week-over-week increases, the increases over Monday and Tuesday fell by about 40 from the previous week’s two-day span, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC).

Annual event to resume next year as a part of Maine’s Bicentennial 200+1 

BANGOR – The Greater Bangor 4th of July Corporation, the non-profit group that organizes the Independence Day festivities for the greater Bangor region, has been monitoring the latest news and meeting with state and local officials for guidance regarding the postponed Independence Day events.

Related story: July 4 festivities to be postponed to Labor Day weekend

Mills to allow retailers and restaurants to open, keeps stay-at-home order in place

Click here for the COVID-19 Daily Update

AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills on Friday announced a modification to her four-phase reopening plan. The plan, which will allow retailers to open Monday, May 11, 2020 and restaurants to open a week later on May 18, 2020, will roll out to the 12 counties in Maine where community transmission has not occurred.

Click here for the COVID-19 Daily Update

AUGUSTA – Maine lawmakers returned to the state capitol Wednesday to hold a hearing with Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to address the ongoing problems with the state’s unemployment system and the Mills administration’s response to it. Fortman, who appeared along with Deputy Commissioner Kim Smith, spent the entirety of the hearing answering lawmakers’ pointed questions ranging from front-end website issues and denials of unemployment to the inability of Mainers being able to reach a live person.

Click here for the COVID-19 Daily Update

AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday extended her stay-at-home order with a new “Stay Safer at Home” executive order until May 31 and released a four-stage plan to begin reopening Maine’s economy starting Friday, May 1.


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A note from our editor

Lockdown: Life in Maine grinds to a halt amid COVID-19 concerns 

Covid-19 Daily Update: Maine deaths now reach three

AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills elevated her previous state of emergency Tuesday and ordered all non-essential public-facing businesses such as gyms, hair salons, theaters, shopping malls and others to close at midnight Wednesday, March 25. The order is in effect for the next 14 days until April 8.

Related Links:

A note from our editor

COVID-19 Update: Maine records first COVID-19 death

AUGUSTA – Maine Governor Janet Mills declared a state of emergency on March 15 in an effort to combat the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

BANGOR – When terrorists struck the twin towers at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham was working at Getchell Bros., his family’s business in Brewer. His brother, Don, heard about the first plane hit on the radio and called Farnham. He then turned on the TV just in time to see a plane strike the second tower as the first one was burning.

“I said, ‘This is not an accident,’” he recalled. “One of the guys there in the office said, ‘Is this going to affect you in the Guard?’ I always remember that question because that completely changed everything for me. I wouldn't be doing this if it hadn’t been for that day.”

September is upon us and with it comes a slew of new TV series making their fall debut. From ABC’s mysterious drama “Emergence” to CBS’s creeper “Evil” and The CW’s DC Universe expansion of “Batwoman,” the month promises to always present viewers with a range of new offerings in hopes that it may be the next breakout show.

Conversely, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have never taken a calendric approach to their programming and instead refresh their shows more often throughout the year. As subscription-based services that depend upon new offerings launched more often to keep viewer interest, this has only helped fuel their growth and spawned more of them like Walt Disney Company’s upcoming Disney+, which just announced Monday that its now available for preorder with an expected launch date of Nov. 12.

And the original programming we’re seeing on these streaming services is top-notch, especially when compared their network brethren. In fact, several walked away with multiple awards at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards this past Sunday. And with Disney’s entrance into the market, the streaming disruption will only continue.

Fall is great time to see the new stuff or catch up on some of these award-winning shows you may have missed, plus there’s something to be said for binging on older shows that continue to live on in the streaming world.

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