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Gov. Janet Mills shuts down more businesses

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

A note from our editor

 

DAILY UPDATE: Current information as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 8

AUGUSTA - Gov. Janet Mills called on the Maine National Guard and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on Tuesday to work with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and local hospitals in Portland and Bangor to stand up two alternative care sites to bolster the state’s healthcare capacity.

"We will stand up Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena to hold at least 100 beds, and the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will hold at least 50 beds,” Mills said during her 2 p.m. press conference Tuesday. “For now, adequate hospital beds are available across the state. Those hospital beds remain the first choice for treating all patients in need of in-patient care. We also have at least 184 beds statewide that could be converted to support critical care for COVID-19 patients, especially if they need ventilators.”

She added the new beds located in the alternative sites in Portland and Bangor will be used if a sudden surge in the number of people needing COVID-19-related care materializes. She expected the sites will be set up as soon as next week and staffed shortly thereafter.

“I hope we never need to use these sites, but we can’t afford to wait to find out,” she said.

 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reported Wednesday that two additional deaths occurred overnight, including a victim in Waldo County. This brings Maine's death toll to 14. There are 537 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine, up 19 from Tuesday's figure of 519. This includes a total of 31 cases now in Penobscot County, which according to Robert Long, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, doesn't indicate that community transmission is now occuring in Penobscot County.

 

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said during his daily press conference Wednesday that 101 of all cases required hospitalization or are currently hospitalized (including five in Penobscot), 187 have recovered, and 75 cases by last count include healthcare workers. The lab's backlog of tests has been reduced even further as Shah said test result turnaround time is now about 24 hours. He said previously that the state is currently underway in obtaining new equipment and test kits to conduct testing. He added that the state does have sufficent supplies for about 3,000 tests. Shah said Maine received 15 of the new Abbott Laboratories ID Now rapid test platforms today. 

 

There are now 399,979 cases across the U.S. - up over 30,000 from Tuesday and 60,000 from Monday - and the death toll has now reached 12,912, up from 11,008 on Tuesday according to the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Worldwide, infections are about 1.45 million with 83,568 deaths - China's numbers remain suspect.

 

According to Shah, two counties have formally been designated as "community" transmission counties, which are Cumberland and York counties. Cumberland County remains the hardest hit, with a total of 262 confirmed cases, followed by York with 121 and Penobcot at 31. With the virus now present in 15 of Maine's 16 counties - Piscataquis County remains the only county without a confirmed case - Shah stressed that there is a strong likehood that the coronavirus is present in all counties and residents should act accordingly.

 

Gov. Janet Mills ordered Friday the closure of all lodging and the requirement that all travelers arriving in Maine self-quarantine for 14 days. The order, which took effect at midnight April 5, prohibits the operation of any hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, inns and short-term rentals unless for an essential reason such as housing healthcare workers. She said the order may be enforced by law as a Class E crime subjet to a penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

 

These restrictions append her previous shelter-in-place orders limiting the number of people traveling in a single vehicle to persons within an immediate household and a prohibition on classroom or other in-person instruction until May 1, 2020. Mills made exceptions for travel related to shopping for necessities, jobs in essential service industries, and caring for dependent relatives. The latest order follows her previous emergency orders closing all public-facing businesses.

 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, shortness of breath, and lower respiratory distress. Individuals who exhibit those symptoms are advised to contact medical providers before going to a health care facility. Medical providers will make initial determinations about who should be tested.

Published in Cover Story

 

Related Links:

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.

Published in Cover Story

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