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Maine CDC Reports Another Death, 23 More Cases Of COVID-19 In Maine, As State Continues To Reopen

Nick Woodward
Maine Public File
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah answers a question from Steve Mistler at a coronavirus press briefing March 26, 2020.

The Maine Center for Disease Control Wednesday reported 23 additional cases of COVID-19 and one more death in the state, as the Mills administration released "prevention checklists" for businesses that will be allowed to reopen July 1. One-hundred three people with COVID-19 have now died in Maine, and there have been 3,017 total cases in the state since the outbreak began, said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah at a briefing Wednesday. 

Shah said more cases have been discovered at Sedgewood Commons in Falmouth, where testing was expanded after three cases turned up. 

"We recently discovered an additional uptick of cases among residents there," he said. "Right now, there are a total of 23 cases associated with Sedgewood Commons. Seven cases among staff and 16 cases among residents."

Shah said the total number of cases at the facility now stands at 23, seven among staff and 16 among residents.

He said the state is also testing people in the Houlton area after four members of the Houlton Ambulance Service were among nine people recently diagnosed with the disease. The state is offering free tests for those who might have come into close physical contact with members of the ambulance service from early June onward. He said 170 individuals were tested Monday and Tuesday, and more tests are being conducted Wednesday. Those who test positive will be notified, Shah said.

Meanwhile, Maine's reopening plan continues to progress, said state Economic Development Commissioner Heather Johnson. Johnson said the state is releasing prevention checklists for those businesses that can reopen July 1. 

"As we take the next steps to open Maine's economy and turn the focus to economic recovery, we will continue to monitor the health data as we take and apply feedback both from business and public health experts," Johnson said.

Johnson said the checklists detail reopening plans for spas and other personal care salons, outdoor recreation, such as overnight summer camps and charter boat excursions, as well as indoor amusements such as movie theatres and performing arts venues.  Missing from the plan are casinos and indoor service for bars and tasting rooms. Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah says those types of venues pose special challenges in regard to limiting both duration and density of people at any given time. 

Guidelines include a maximum of 50 people in a venue, plus six foot social distance between individuals or groups that have arrived together. 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, 2,490 Mainers have recovered from the disease. That's 47 more than Tuesday, leaving 424 active cases in Maine.

Twenty-six Mainers are in the hospital, 12 in intensive care, Shah said. Six are on ventilators. Health care workers account for 767 of Maine's cases. 

Updated 4:22 p.m. June 24, 2020.

Barbara grew up in Biddeford, Maine. She earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Southern Maine.