As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, 23 Maine residents have been confirmed positive and nine others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
The most recent cases were detected in Cumberland, Knox and Lincoln counties. More than 100 people in the state are in quarantine or isolation due to the virus. State health officials expect cases of infection to continue to rise, as they have elsewhere in New England.
Here’s the latest updates about the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and its impact in Maine.
— It’s St. Patrick’s Day, but revelers will likely find few places to raise a glass in good health. Some bars and pubs have closed their doors for the next couple days. In Bangor, city officials have declared a state of emergency and placed a curfew on bars, restaurants and other public gathering places between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Portland set a stricter curfew, which is in effect from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 2 a.m. Wednesday and then 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
— The effect of the virus continues to ripple through the economy, upending everyday life. Freeport-based L.L.Bean is temporarily closing its flagship store and all other U.S. retail locations. Gov. Janet Mills in a letter to the federal government seeking low-cost loans for businesses detailed the experience of 14 small businesses that have experienced “ substantial economic injury” from the coronavirus. Those businesses ranged from a maker of cat products to others relyi ng heavily on tourism. Even casinos in Bangor and Oxford have shuttered for the next two weeks as the virus spreads through the state.
— On the stock market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 3,000 points Monday, its largest single day hit since 1987. That drop was fueled by growing concerns of slowing economy activity as businesses temporarily shutter and that the coronavirus could tip the global economy into a recession.
Watch: What older adults need to know about COVID-19
— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday closed the Canadian border to halt the spread of the coronavirus infection, but that includes exceptions for U.S. citizens. So that will likely not immediately impact Maine residents who travel across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said last week that it would implement stricter screening at border crossings for anyone displaying potential signs of illness.
— Bangor’s two hospitals — Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital — are starting to delay some elective procedures and limit visits to patients as they try to make sure they have enough beds and resources to handle a possible influx of coronavirus cases. MaineHealth, a Portland-based health care system, also is suspending elective procedures and postponing other non-emergency visits throughout its network. That is expected to last through the end of day Friday.
— Bangor schools have closed to the next two weeks, but Superintendent Betsy Webb said Monday that the closure could extend beyond that period. Still, any Bangor students can continue to get two free meals a day through the school system. Those will be made available through pick-up sites and delivery.
— The Bangor City Hall and other city offices will close to the public at the end of the day Tuesday. Portland’s City Hall has been closed since a city employee tested likely positive for the coronavirus last week.
— To help halt the spread of the coronavirus, the Maine court system has opted to vacate warrants for unpaid fines and fees and for failing to appear. State and federal jury trials in Maine have already been suspended.
— The U.S. surgeon general, Jerome Adams, on Monday made a dire prediction that the U.S. could be on track to see a number of infections rivaling Italy, which is among the hardest hit European nations. Two weeks ago, Italy had 1,700 cases of coronavirus and had reported 34 deaths. Now, Italy is reporting an estimated 25,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths.
— Nationally, cases of infection have surged since Friday, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1,629 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia had been sickened by the virus. On Monday, the CDC reported that infections had risen to 3,487 in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while deaths have risen to 68, from 41 on Friday.
— Actor Idris Elba, who is well known for his role as Stringer Bell on HBO’s “The Wire,” was among those who have become infected in recent days.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease