As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Maine, based on an initial round of 20 tests, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. State health officials await results from another five tests.
Still, the effects of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, are being felt across the state. Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus news from across the state, New England and elsewhere.
— Maine is, at this time, the only New England state, where no coronavirus cases have been reported. There have been at least 92 reported in Massachusetts, five in New Hampshire, three in Rhode Island, two in Connecticut and one in Vermont.
— Nationally, the virus has sickened at least 647 people in 36 states and the District of Columbia and claimed 25 lives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes two more deaths in Washington state, which has recorded the most deaths from the illness in the U.S.
— The University of Maine on Tuesday urged students to stay on campus during the upcoming spring break. Administrators said that the university would open its dorms and dining halls to accommodate students over the break period.
— That’s just the latest step from within the University of Maine System to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak on one of its campuses. It is working with instructors to make sure they can deliver lessons using a variety of online programs and resources, and has prohibited non-essential university-sponsored travel to areas where the virus has been detected.
— Despite the cancellation of and changes to various sporting events in the wake of the outbreak, University of Maine teams have not been affected. The men’s hockey team will host the University of Connecticut this week, and the women’s basketball team will be on the road to take on Stony Brook.
— At this time, the Boston Marathon will still go on next month. That news came in the wake of the decision to cancel Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
— The response is ratcheting up elsewhere as well, with New York calling up the National Guard to help in its fight against the coronavirus. Troops have been dispatched to suburban New Rochelle, the site of what appears to be the nation’s biggest known cluster of coronavirus cases.
— As fear of the new coronavirus rises, there has been a reported spike in bullying against students of Asian ancestry. (The new coronavirus was first reported in late December in Wuhan, China.) Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana sent a letter to faculty and other school officials this week warning about an increase of bullying and harassment. Botona cited no specific examples in his letter.
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