Today is Friday. There have now been 1,877 confirmed and likely cases of the new coronavirus in all of Maine’s counties since the outbreak began here in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
No new deaths were reported Thursday, leaving the statewide death toll at 73. The Maine CDC has not confirmed any deaths since Tuesday.
So far, 235 Mainers have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while 1,145 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 659 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s up from 636 on Wednesday.
Here’s a roundup of the latest news about the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
— The Maine CDC will provide an update on the coronavirus this afternoon. The BDN will livestream the briefing.
— “The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday evening that 57 cases of coronavirus were confirmed at Cape Memory Center, a residential care facility for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As of Thursday evening, 45 residents and 12 staff at the facility had tested positive for the virus, with additional results pending.” — Jessica Piper, BDN
— “Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of Maine’s summer tourist season, which typically draws millions of visitors to Acadia National Park annually from late May through mid-October. Visitors to Mount Desert Island who expect to hike or play on Sand Beach this weekend face unprecedented restrictions because of precautions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. Access to much of the park’s facilities is expected to remain closed for the next couple of weeks — if not longer. But the park’s semi-closure is not stopping visitors from showing up.” — Bill Trotter, BDN
— Sunny weather and looser business restrictions might lead Mainers to head out over Memorial Day weekend, which typically starts the tourist season. But everyday activities are going to look different as the state cautiously moves forward in its economic reopening. … Here is your guide to planning your day, night or weekend out while abiding by current coronavirus-related public health precautions.” — Jessica Piper, BDN
— “Aaron Harris sighs as he talks about the changes afoot at the 84-year-old A1 Diner located inside a historic Worcester Lunch Car next to the bridge over the Cobbosseecontee Stream in Gardiner. Before the coronavirus hit, regular customers huddled into the tiny, renowned diner, which can seat 45 people at six booths and 16 counter stools, to enjoy cheeseburgers with local beef and more eclectic fare, including Korean barbecue sliders. … Even with takeout, revenue is down 75 percent since the coronavirus restrictions were put into place. But what worries Harris almost as much are the lost connections between customers and staff.” — Lori Valigra, BDN
— “The federal government has awarded Maine $52.7 million to help it control the coronavirus pandemic by completing an expansion of its public health laboratory in Augusta, boosting laboratory capacity in the state’s rural hospitals and opening more satellite testing sites, according to the office of Gov. Janet Mills. The funds will help the state to expand its staffing and testing capacity at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in Augusta, as well as to accelerate the construction of a new lab at the Greenlaw building of the former Augusta Mental Health Institute campus.” — Charles Eichacker, BDN
— “After record sales last year that continued into early this year, Maine home sales are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, declining 15.41 percent in April compared to the previous April, according to figures released Thursday by Maine Listings.” — Lori Valigra, BDN
— “Both of Maine’s U.S. senators rolled out different bipartisan bills on Thursday aiming to reform the Paycheck Protection Program, which has given forgivable loans to small businesses to keep workers on payroll but has been criticized by some as inflexible. The massive program, which was originally created as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package at the end of March and was later renewed, has sent more than $2.5 billion in loans to Maine businesses. … But many business owners have expressed concerns about the terms.” — Jessica Piper and Michael Shepherd, BDN
— “Reconsideration of jobless aid is fast becoming the focus of congressional debate over the next virus aid package After the Senate decided to take a “pause” on new pandemic proposals, senators faced mounting pressure to act before leaving town for a weeklong Memorial Day break. Republicans are staking out plans to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits to encourage Americans to go back to work. The Senate also began efforts to fast-track an extension of a popular small business lending program.” — Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
— As of early Friday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,577,758 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 94,729 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 6,148 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 3,583 in Connecticut, 556 in Rhode Island, 199 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.