State Says Campgrounds May Reopen To Mainers On Friday As 3 New Deaths, 28 COVID-19 Cases Reported

May 19, 2020

Gov. Janet Mills has revised the plan to reopen the state’s economy by accelerating the opening of certain businesses and delaying others.

Private campgrounds are now allowed to open to Maine residents beginning this Friday, instead of June 1.

The commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Heather Johnson, said campgrounds will have to adhere to safety guidelines.

“No gatherings larger than 10. There will be distance between campsites that maybe weren’t there before. Some of the congregate spaces will be closed,” she says. “Some of the cleaning procedures will be different.”

Meanwhile, nail salons are no longer allowed to open June 1. Gyms and fitness centers must also delay fully reopening, but are permitted to continue one-on-one training and small outdoor classes. The Mills administration says the decision was made after reviewing evidence that raises concerns about coronavirus transmission in these settings.

The changes were announced following a briefing by Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah on the coronavirus. Shah said three more Mainers infected with COVID-19 have died since Monday, and 28 new cases were diagnosed. The total number of cases now stands at 1,741 and deaths at 73. 

While three new deaths occurred, Shah said the total number of deaths grew by only two because an earlier death attributed to COVID-19 — a Cumberland County man in his 90s — has been reclassified as being due to other causes.

Shah said all three people who died overnight where from Cumberland County and included two women, one in her 90s and the other in her 80s, and a man in his 40s.

Eleven of Maine's new cases were diagnosed in Cumberland County, and another 12 occurred in Androscoggin County. Shah said 386 of Maine's cases have occurred among health care workers.

He said the CDC is investigating several outbreaks, including one at Bristol Seafood in Portland, where there are now 13 known cases, eight more since yesterday; 42 cases and two deaths at Springbrook Center in Westbrook; 100 State Street in Portland, an apartment building with at-risk tenants, where testing is planned; and 19 cases at a Cianbro Corporation worksite, where some workers are Maine residents and others are from other areas.

A total of 225 people have been hospitalized during the course of the outbreak, Shah said, and 44 remain the hospital, 19 of them in intensive care. Of those, 11 are on ventilators.

A total of 1,088 people have recovered from the disease. 

Shah also announced that the feds have notified the CDC that Maine will receive a third shipment of the antiviral drug remdesivir. Shah says eight cases of the drug are expected, enough for about 40 patients. Two previous shipments provided treatment for a total of 85 patients. 

Updated May 19, 2020 at 2:42 p.m. ET.

Maine Public digital producer Barbara Cariddi contributed to this report.