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

9 hours ago

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: 11:09 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday, March 28

—  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.