As of Tuesday, there are now 303 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus spread across 12 Maine counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials on Tuesday confirmed two additional deaths — both in women in their 80s from Kennebec and York counties — from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, bringing the statewide death toll to five. The three previous deaths were reported in Cumberland County since Friday.
The effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the state is ramping up. Here’s the latest you need to know about the virus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus at 11:30 a.m. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— On Tuesday afternoon, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills took the most extreme step yet in the state’s fight to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Mills ordered all Maine residents to stay at home through the end of April, except for making needed trips to get food, medicine and exercise, though social distancing guidelines apply. Also exempted are those who need to leave home because they are employed by essential businesses. That order takes effect Thursday. The governor also said Tuesday that she will issue an order requiring visitors from out of state to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
— Gun shops will be allowed to reopen in Maine after the Mills administration included them on an updated list of businesses that will be allowed to operate despite the stay-at-home order.
— New cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in a woman who stayed at Portland’s Oxford Street Shelter, in two young children and an employee within the Maine prison system. The Maine CDC reports that 57 people have been hospitalized with the coronavirus, while another 68 have fully recovered and been released from isolation. So far, 43 health care workers have caught the coronavirus.
— Some models show that the coronavirus outbreak could peak in Maine at the end of April, while another suggests the state’s health care system could become overwhelmed with cases of infection around April 25. With the rapidly changing situation, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah cautioned against assuming such models are completely predictive.
— The U.S. Department of Education has approved Maine’s request to cancel standardized tests for the 2019-20 school year due to the coronavirus. That does not apply to end-of-year examinations in individual school districts and classes.
— Over the weekend, the island of Vinalhaven made national news when a small group of residents allegedly tried to force a group of out-of-staters to quarantine by cutting a tree down and blocking their driveway. But officials on Vinalhaven ― an island located less than 10 miles from Rockland and accessible by ferry ― say the incident isn’t representative of what’s happening on the island.
— Nationally, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force is looking into the idea of recommending broader, community-wide use of masks to deter the spread of the coronavirus. Fauci said the task force first wants to make sure that such a move wouldn’t take away from the supply of masks available to health care workers.
— As of Tuesday afternoon, the virus has sickened 163,539 people in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and caused 2,860 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
— In New England, there have been 89 deaths in Massachusetts, 69 in Connecticut, 13 in Vermont, eight in Rhode Island and three in New Hampshire.