Live Coverage: The Latest On The Coronavirus And COVID-19 In Maine

Apr 7, 2020

Maine Public is committed to keeping you informed with reliable news, resources and guidance around the new coronavirus. Here's the latest on the the new coronavirus and the disease known as COVID-19. This guide will be updated with the most recent developments.

For more information on how the virus arose and spread, recommendations on how to best protect yourself and other information that Mainers might find useful, check out "What Mainers Need To Know About The Coronavirus."

For an archive of Maine CDC daily briefing videos, click here.

Last post update: 3:09 p.m. Sept. 2, 2020

Wednesday, September 23

  • The Mills administration is providing local schools with an additional $164 million to help them implement new health and safety procedures during the pandemic.
  • Visitors from Massachusetts can now come to Maine without having to get a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days.

Wednesday, September 16

- Top Trump administration health officials testified Wednesday that a vaccine for COVID-19 is not likely to be widely available until next spring or summer, and that wearing a mask, in the words of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, remains "the most important, powerful public health tool we have."

- The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero as expected Wednesday and pledged to keep supporting an economic recovery that appears to be losing steam.

- Two more school systems in Maine are temporarily moving to remote classes because of COVID-19.

Monday, September 14

- St. Joseph’s College President Jim Dlugos wrote a letter to the campus community saying that the school had detected nine cases of COVID-19 — most from a single residence hall — and would move to remote classes for the next two weeks. The first sign of the outbreak of the disease appeared in the school’s wastewater 

Thursday, September 10

- President Trump his decision to mislead the public about the deadliness of the coronavirus as documented in Bob Woodward's new book, declining to call his misstatements about the virus and its spread a "lie" and saying he needed to show "strength" in the face of the crisis.

- The Maine Principals' Association and state officials have agreed on a plan that would allow several interscholastic sports to be played this fall but would push football and volleyball to the spring.

Wednesday, September 2

- Gov. Janet Mills extended the state of civil emergency for thirty days through October 1, 2020.

Friday, August 28

- The state released an updated color-coded Health Advisory System to guide schools in their approach to reopening for in person classes at the moment all counties remain green. However, the state says it will reevaluate schools in Penobscot and York counties September 4  to determine if they can remain green and open for in person learning or whether they meet the threshold for a "yellow" or "red" designation that would indicate a move to hybrid or remote learning. Other counties will continue to be assessed every two weeks.

Saturday, August 22

- The Maine CDC released a statement saying that the number of cases associated with the wedding increased to 53. The Center also said that investigators had identified secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus, meaning the virus spread to individuals who did not attend the wedding but who'd interacted with attendees. 

Friday, August 21

- A patient with COVID-19 linked to the outbreak at a wedding in the Millinocket area has died.

Thursday, August 20

- The state announced it is using federal funding to launch five new swab and send sites.

- Gov. Janet Mills announced new grant opportunities for Maine small businesses.

Sunday, August 16

- Some schools in northern Maine have reopened with new social distancing measures and other precautions in place.

Friday, August 14

- The Mills Administration updated prevention checklists for several types of businesses under stage three of the state's reopening plan.

Sunday, August 9

Trump signed four executive actions to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actions amount to a stopgap measure, after failing to secure an agreement with Congress. The three memorandums and one executive order call for extending some enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments and deferring payroll taxes.

Wednesday, August 5

- Mills extended her 30-day coronavirus civil state of emergency proclamation for the fifth time since the pandemic began

Friday, July 31

- The Mills administration and the Maine Department of Education announced that schools across the state that can begin to consider reopening for in-person classes for the fall semester. 

Thursday, July 30

- Mills announced that the administration is investing $1 million in an effort to reduce racial and ethnic disparities related to COVID-19.

- The Mills administration announced that $5 million in federal coronavirus funds are being made available for those who are having trouble paying their rent due to the virus

Wednesday, July 29

The Mills Administration is loosening its limit on outdoor gatherings from 50 to 100 people. The new limit takes effect this Saturday, August 1.

Friday, July 17

- State officials outlined plans for reopening Maine schools.

Wednesday, July 15

- The Trump Administration has mandated that hospitals sidestep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment to a different federal database. The change is raising concerns about transparency. And though federal officials are touting it as a way to streamline data collection, some Maine hospitals say it's more burdensome.

Tuesday, July 14

- The Trump administration has agreed to rescind a directive that would have barred international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester.

Wednesday, July 8

- Gov. Janet Mills extended the civil state of emergency for another 30 days and issued new mandates requiring Mainers in different parts of the state to wear masks in some businesses.

Tuesday, July 7

- Bar Harbor has decided to close its ports to cruise ships for the remainder of the 2020 season as COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country.

- President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Saturday, July 4

- President Trump signed legislation Saturday extending the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, July 1

At a coronavirus briefing , Mills said beginning July 3, the administration will allow Connecticut, New York and New Jersey residents to visit Maine without having to quarantine or provide a negative COVID-19 test result, something New Hampshire and Vermont residents are already allowed to do.

Tuesday, June 30

Many Maine colleges and universities have begun their plans for the fall semester.

Monday, June 22

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said officials decided to postpone indoor service at bars "until further notice" after new outbreaks in other states were traced to similar reopenings.

Friday, June 12

— The Maine Department of Education has released its initial framework to help school districts as they look toward resuming in-classroom instruction in the fall.

— A broad coalition of hospitality, tourism and retail groups in Maine is calling for the state to spend an ambitious $800 million to prop up the teetering industry.

— A new World Bank report warns that the pandemic has plunged the global economy into a deep recession of historic proportions, and the recovery outlook is grim, particularly for developing countries.

Monday, June 8

— Gov. Janet Mills announced that instead of quarantining for two weeks, visitors to Maine seeking lodging can sign a compliance certificate indicating they've tested negative for COVID-19. Visitors from Vermont and New Hampshire, meanwhile, will be allowed to enter the state immediately without any requirements, and stay overnight begining Friday.

Thursday, June 4

— The Maine CDC released COVID-19 case data by zip code for the first time since the outbreak began in March, making it the last state in New England to do so.

Monday, June 1

—  Acadia National Park reopened to motorized traffic on Monday. 

Saturday, May 30

—  The Maine Department of Corrections announced plans to purchase surplus restaurant supplies from businesses in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties. The move comes at the direction of Gov. Janet Mills as a way to assist restaurants in those counties that were caught off guard when a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted Mills to rescind a planned-for June 1 reopening date for dine-in service.

Friday, May 29

—  The U.S. Department of Justice said Gov. Janet Mills' 14-day quarantine for people coming into Maine is unconstitutional because it discriminates against out-of-staters who want to use the state’s campgrounds

—  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects Senate Republicans will begin considering proposals for a "fourth and final" coronavirus response bill to address the needs of the country.

Wednesday, May 27

— Citing a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Janet Mills announced that she is postponing the reopening of indoor restaurant service in York, Cumberland and Androscoggin counties.

Friday, May 22

—  President Trump said Friday that state governors should allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to reopen immediately.

— Gov. Janet Mills permitted campgrounds to open over Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 21

—  More than 25,000 businesses in Maine have been approved to receive more than $2 billion in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Wednesday, May 20

—  A The first Maine Department of Corrections prisoner tested positive for coronavirus at the Windham facility. Universal testing was implemented at the facility.

Tuesday, May 19

—  Maine dentists were given the greenlight to reopen their practices.

Monday, May 18

—   Mills announced that state is dropping its system of prioritizing tests for COVID-19, and will now allow health care providers to order testing for anyone suspected of having the disease.

Friday, May 15

—  House lawmakers on Friday approved a Democratic proposal to provide $3 trillion in coronavirus relief that would include a new wave of help for state and local governments, workers and families. Maine's representatives were split on the bill.

Thursday, May 14

—  The federal scientist who was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, alleging a range of government wrongdoing by Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, and others. Thursday he testified before a congressional panel.

Wednesday, May 13

— Gov. Janet Mills extended her civil state of emergency proclamation for another month, giving her more time to access federal funding and use certain powers to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Friday, May 8

— Gov. Janet Mills accelerated her plan to restart Maine's economy for parts of the state without community transmission. Mills' Rural Reopening Plan came in the wake of a partnership with IDEXX that is expected to triple Maine's testing capacity for COVID-19.

Friday, April 29

— Gov. Janet Mills announced a phased plan to reopen businesses in Maine.

—  The state’s Department of Labor says it will open applications for special unemployment assistance to self-employed Mainers starting Friday, May 1

Thursday, April 23

—  The number of people forced out of work during the coronavirus lockdown continues to soar to historic highs. Another 4.4 million people claimed unemployment benefits last week around the country, the Labor Department said.

Wednesday April 22

— Wednesday, officals said the first U.S. death known to be from COVID-19 occurred on Feb. 6 – nearly three weeks before deaths in Washington state that were originally believed to be the country's first from the coronavirus, according to officials in Santa Clara County, Calif.

— President Trump said he plans to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States," in an attempt to protect American workers from the coronavirus' economic toll.

Tuesday, April 21

—  Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah says his agency is closely monitoring research showing that a new rapid test for COVID-19 is producing a high percentage of false negatives.

— The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to add roughly $484 billion in new funds to bolster the already record-breaking coronavirus response legislation.

Sunday, April 12

—Sunday afternoon, the Maine CDC reported an outbreak of COVID-19 at at the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation. Fourteen staff members and 41 residents tested postive for coronavirus, and one resident has died from the disease.

Friday, April 10

— Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order moving the state's primary to July 14. The order also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election.

Wednesday, April 8

— Central Maine Healthcare announced that about 300 staff will be furloughed.  

— The Maine Department of Education is recommending that school districts prepare to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, April 7

— The Maine Emergency Management Agency and Maine National Guard will establish alternative care sites at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland and Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Gov. Janet Mills announced at the daily CDC press conference. She has also announced $10 million in supplemental payments to Maine hospitals.

— Gov. Mills says she will likely push back Maine's primary election, scheduled for June 9. She is considering July 14 as the make-up date.

Monday, April 6

— The Allstate insurance company announced it would be returning $1.3 million to Maine policyholders, since the company says an unprecedented decline in driving due to shelter in place orders has translated into fewer accidents.

— The Maine Department of Labor began processing unemployment claims alphabetically, by last name, after an "unprecedented" surge in benefits calls.

— The Maine CDC is now reporting 499 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. 

Sunday, April 5

— The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maine increased to a total of 470, according to the state CDC.

Saturday, April 4

—  President Donald Trump has approved Gov. Janet Mills' request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Maine, freeing up federal assistance for state agencies and municipalities.

— The CDC is now reporting 456 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine residents. Ten Maine residents have died from the disease. 

Friday, April 3

— The federal CDC has changed its stance and now recommends that people wear cloth or fabric face coverings, which can be made at home, when entering public spaces such as grocery stores and public transit stations. It is mainly to prevent those people who have the virus — and might not know it — from spreading the infection to others.

—  Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order mandating that travelers arriving in Maine, regardless of their state of residency, self-quarantine for 14 days to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

— Portland Public Library locations have extended closures of locations until May 4.

— There are now 432 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine and 9 deaths attributed to the disease.

Thursday, April 2

— The Togus VA Medical Center said a patient died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

— The Maine CDC now reports 376 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

— Maine unemployment claims reached 45,700, breaking previous records.

Wednesday, April 1

Maine DHHS announced that a second employee in the Lewiston office tested positive for COVID-19. The office is to close until further notice.

The Maine CDC is reporting 344 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7 deaths.

Tuesday, March 31

— Gov. Janet Mills has issued a stay-at-home order for all Maine residents and visitors through the end of April. The mandate imposes strict restrictions on Maine business operations and travel for workers labeled essential. In-classroom instruction also has been required to close until at least May 1.

— The Maine CDC is reporting 303 cases of COVID-19, with five deaths.

Monday, March 30

— The City of Portland has extended its stay-at-home order — initially set to expire on today — until April 27.

— The University of Maine System has canceled traditional, in-person graduations at Maine's public universities this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each campus will instead design an alternative commencement celebration, with input from students, faculty, and staff. Final plans are expected to be in place within a few weeks.

— The Maine CDC is now reporting 275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Sunday, March 29

— The Maine CDC reported the second and third deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Maine. One of the deceased was a MaineDOT employee.

— The Maine CDC now reports 253 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Saturday, March 28

— The United States marked another grim milestone in its fight against the coronavirus on Saturday, when the number of deaths from the virus topped 2,000.

— The Maine Center for Disease Control reported Saturday morning that there are now 211 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Friday, March 27

—  A historic $2 trillion economic recovery package will be sent to the president's desk for signature after House lawmakers passed the bipartisan bill Friday afternoon.

—  The Maine Center for Disease Control is confirming the state's first COVID-19 death. On Friday, the CDC announced that the total number of confirmed cases in the state is 168.

—  The State Has Launched A New Online Resource Outlining Ways Mainers Can Help Mainers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, March 26

—  The Maine Center for Disease Control is now prioritizing COVID-19 test results for residents and employees in long-term care facilities and nursing homes. The change marks a departure from federal guidelines, which had originally ranked testing in such facilities as a lower priority. 

— The number of COVID-19 cases in Maine has grown by 13 in a day to 155

Wednesday, March 25

—  The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Concord Coach Lines announced they will suspend services beginning Saturday, March 28  

— The DHHS office in Lewiston has been closed after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.  

— The Maine CDC says there are now 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.  Director Shah also says that the state has recieved its second shipment of Personal Protection Equipment from the national stockpile, but that more is needed.

— The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced early Wednesday that the White House and Senate had reached a deal for an unprecedented $2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up individuals, businesses and the nation's health care system amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, March 24

— Gov. Janet Mills announced that she is ordering all non-essential public-facing businesses in Maine to close their physical locations. Mills said the order doesn't include businesses that engage in essential services, such as pharmacies, banks and other commercial entities.

— The City of Portland has announced an Emergency Stay at Home order for all nonessential personal and business services effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25.

— Maine now has 118 cases of COVID-19, according to new numbers posted on the state CDC website.

Monday, March 23

— The Town of York closed its beaches amid a spike in out-of-town visitors, according to York's town manager. And the tourist haven of Bar Harbor took steps to prevent visitors.

— There are now 107 cases of COVID-19 in Maine, state CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah announced Monday. Twelve people are hospitalized. Bath Iron Works confirmed one of its shipyard workers has tested positive.

— Veterans Affairs announced it was halting elective procedures and revising its visitation policies, among other changes.

Sunday, March 22

— There are now 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine, according to the Maine CDC.

Saturday, March 21

— The Maine CDC reports that there are now at 70 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the state

Friday, March 20

— No civil or criminal trials will be held until at least May 1 in Maine, and at least two county jails are releasing certain prisoners early.  

— Under new guidelines by the Maine Center for Disease Control,  health care providers must reserve COVID-19 testing for the most high-risk patients

— Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the tax filing deadline will be exended to July 15  

— The Maine CDC reports that there are now at 44 confirmed and 12 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19

Thursday, March 19

— Bates and Colby Colleges issued statements that members of their communities had tested positive for COVID-19.  

— Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC, says that the state is now at 42 confirmed and 10 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 (a total of 52)

— Several public transportation services in the state have adapted their schedules and services.

Wednesday, March 18

— The Senate approved a new round of emergency funding to address the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump signed the latest coronavirus aid package into law Wednesday evening. The economic relief bill marks the second such aid package in a matter of weeks. 

— Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order that, among other measures, prohibits dine-in service at bars and restaurants and bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

Credit Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The Maine CDC announced that the state has tested 30 confirmed cases and 12 presumptive positive cases of the new coronavirus in the state. The state has also seen its first recovered indivudal who had tested positive.

— The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced it was suspending all religious services effective immediately. In a statement, the Diocese said baptisms, funerals and weddings, including with Mass, may continue but only with immediate family present for the Mass, and Bishop Robert P. Deeley is also issuing a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for Maine Catholics.

—Bangor Healthcare Organizations and City of Bangor announced they've opened a drive-up testing site at Bass Park to screen for COVID-19.

— President Trump announced that he's closing the U.S. border with Canada to non-essential traffic. 

Tuesday, March 17

— The Maine Legislature ended the session after passing legislation that provides Gov. Janet Mills with sweeping emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced it is waiving all copays for prescriptions, office visits, emergency department visits, and other services for MaineCare recipients.

— Emergency measures the city of Bangor has imposed go into effect, including a curfew on bars, restaurants and public gathering places for a five-day period beginning on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

Monday, March 16

— The Maine Department of Corrections suspended all visits to its facilities.

—  MaineHealth announced the cancellation of elective procedures and nonurgent office visits. This includes surgeries and other procedures that can be delayed without harm to the patient as well as annual check-ups and other office visits that can be reasonably postponed.

—  The Maine Dental Association issued guidance to dental practices to suspend nonurgent procedures for at least two weeks.

— The Maine State House shared measures it will take to prevent spread of the virus, including suspending the use of honorary pages and not allowing members of the public into the State House. Tuesday, March 17, sessions of the House and Senate, along with any meetings or work sessions of the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, will continue to be livestreamed in accordance with existing policy.

— L.L. Bean announced it will close all its retail stores.

— Portland City Manager Jon Jennings announced a mandated curfew for establishments where groups gather, from 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, to 2 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, and then daily from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday, March 18-22,  to practice social distancing. The all-day curfew on Tuesday is intended to curb St. Patrick’s Day events and festivities, but take-out and delivery of food is still permitted.

 

Sunday, March 15

— The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero, and took other measures aimed at supporting the U.S. economy.

—  Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a civil emergency proclamation and announced more stringent recommendations, including ending classroom instruction in all public schools, postponing all nonurgent medical procedures, restricting access to long-term care facilities and postponing all events including 50 or more people.

 

Saturday, March 14

A sign directs patients with respiratory symptoms to a tent at the Central Maine Medical Center, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Lewiston, Maine.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / AP

— Myriad K-12 districts in Maine announced they would close for a week or longer as the number of positive cases in the state climbs.

—  Maine Medical Center implemented new visitation restrictions, including reduced visiting hours and not allowing visitors under 18. On Friday, Northern Light Health also limited visitor access to their facilities.

The United States extended its travel ban to the United Kingdom and Ireland. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores." The restrictions, he said, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

— Central Maine Healthcare announced it would postpone all elective surgeries.

— All Portland Public Library locations announced their closure, and plan to remain closed until March 30.

 

Friday, March 13

 Bates and the University of New England announced that it will largely be moving classes online, joining other Maine schools, including Bowdoin, Colby, College of the Atlantic and the UMaine system, in moving to online learning for the rest of the semester.

 Portland City Manager Jon Jennings says a man who tested positive was a Portland man and employee of India Street Clinic. The center is being closed for two weeks out of caution. Jennings says the city has been in touch with both patients and staff who may have been in touch with new COVID-19 case.

A state bicentennial event that was to be held Sunday in Portland's First Parish Church was postponed. Thursday, the Mills Administration postponed a celebration planned for Augusta.

 

Wednesday, March 11

— The World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 is officially a Pandemic.

— The Director of the Maine CDC said that operators of the statewide 211 information hotline will be trained in how to respond to coronavirus questions.