Today is Tuesday. There have now been 1,023 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in all of Maine’s counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials on Monday confirmed the death of a man in his 70s from Kennebec County, bringing the statewide death toll to 51.
So far, 161 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 549 people have fully recovered from the coronavirus, meaning there are 423 active cases in the state. That’s down from 433 on Sunday.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus at 3 p.m. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Monday suggested at Monday’s coronavirus briefing that she may loosen restrictions on businesses when her stay-at-home order expires on April 30. Mills told reporters she was likely to extend parts of a stay-at-home order. She signaled a shift by saying some restrictions might be lifted gradually based on whether workplaces can “conduct business safely” and not whether businesses are considered “essential,” saying she would announce a plan for extending the order on Tuesday.
— Maine is now the last state in New England to not release data on coronavirus cases by city and town. Vermont started releasing ranges of cases Monday. The information does not specify which towns may have 5 or fewer cases. New Hampshire takes a similar tactic, but delineates towns that do not have any reported cases. Rhode Island reports the exact number of cases per municipality, as do Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Maine CDC has declined to release similar information, citing privacy concerns. It estimated it could take up to six months to compile that data in response to a Bangor Daily News Freedom of Access Act request last week.
— Just four days after Maine confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, Seren Bruce received a different diagnosis that would nevertheless be shaped by the pandemic. On March 16, a doctor at Northern Light Cancer Care in Brewer who had reviewed Bruce’s bloodwork diagnosed her with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that grows on the white blood cells. Bruce’s diagnosis has come at a particularly fraught time for cancer patients, who often have weakened immune systems as a result of their treatments or cancers, and who may be more likely to become seriously ill from the coronavirus. Now, hospitals have delayed all sorts of non-emergency services to preserve their resources and to prevent the virus from spreading among vulnerable patients, leading to delays in some care for cancer patients.
— For more than a month now, visitors, including residents’ family members, have been barred from entering The Commons at Tall Pines in Belfast in hopes that the virus would not take root there. But the virus, stealthy and deadly, found its way in.
— Calls placed to the Northern New England Poison Center from people’s homes have increased, according to Karen Simone, a toxicologist who runs the center at Maine Medical Center in Portland, but they do not appear to be a result of President Donald Trump’s suggestion Thursday that ingesting certain household cleaners can keep people from getting the disease. Rather the increase seems to stem in part from more intense home cleaning efforts aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus and the occasional mishaps that result.
— Bowdoin College in Brunswick is facing down a loss of more than $8 million from financial aid to assist low-income students with travel and other coronavirus-related costs and room-and-board refunds after the college opted to not have students return after spring break, making it one of the first Maine universities to close its campus in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Bates College in Lewiston has already taken a financial hit of up to $2 million because of the coronavirus and the college’s president, Clayton Spencer, anticipates worse to come.
— The Maine CDC’s headquarters reopened Monday after a coronavirus exposure briefly shuttered the headquarters of the agency responsible for leading the state response to the pandemic.
— The eagerly anticipated second round of federal stimulus loans aimed at helping small businesses pay employees during the coronavirus outbreak rolled out on Monday, when the system processing loans almost immediately came to a halt before it began working again sluggishly several hours later.
— The billions of dollars in coronavirus relief targeted at small businesses may not prevent many of them from ending up in bankruptcy court. Business filings under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law rose sharply in March, and attorneys who work with struggling companies are seeing signs that more owners are contemplating the possibility of bankruptcy. Companies forced to close or curtail business due to government attempts to stop the virus’ spread have mounting debts and uncertain prospects for returning to normal operations. Even those owners receiving emergency loans and grants aren’t sure that help will be enough.
— As of early Tuesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 988,469 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 56,253 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 3,003 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 2,012 in Connecticut, 233 in Rhode Island, 60 in New Hampshire and 47 in Vermont.
— Before her double-lung transplant, Joanne Mellady could barely put on a shirt without losing her breath. Afterward, she barely stopped moving. Mellady, who died of the coronavirus in March, had a bucket list that made her family blush. Mellady, a 67-year-old from New Hampshire, transformed herself from a shy person dependent on oxygen around the clock to a vivacious risk taker willing to try almost anything. Hang gliding, skiing, skateboarding and kayaking were among the thrills she took on.