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Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: 44 dead, 937 confirmed cases

The five deaths announced Thursday were all veterans living at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough.

MAINE, USA — The Maine CDC is expected to give us new updates around 11:00 a.m. Friday. The daily press briefing is expected to be around 2 p.m.

KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

LATEST CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

The Maine CDC is expected to give us new updates around 11:00 a.m. Friday. The daily press briefing is expected to be around 2 p.m.

THURSDAY APRIL 23

2 p.m. update from Governor Mills and Maine CDC

The Maine CDC announced five additional deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state total to 44.

The five new deaths announced Thursday were all residents of the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough. All were veterans from Cumberland County and ranged in age from in their 50s to in their 90s.

There are now 937 confirmed cases and 485 recoveries in Maine. 

150 people in Maine who have tested positive have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. 42 people in Maine are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 with 18 in critical care and 11 on ventilators.

Credit: NCM

Governor Janet Mills said Maine’s reopening will be driven first and foremost by public health considerations and guided by the following principles:

  1. Protecting Public Health: Mills said the state will continue to continue to rely on epidemiological data, such as case trends, hospitalization rates, recoveries and deaths, to inform decisions with the private sector regarding the appropriateness of lifting restrictions.
  1. Maintaining Health Care Readiness: Mills said Maine must maintain its capacity to respond to any surge of the virus. To that end, the state will continue to work closely with our hospitals and health systems to assess system capacity, including available hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators, and will continue to procure and distribute personal protective equipment as needed to hospitals, nursing facilities, emergency services, and other frontline responders.
  1. Building Reliable and Accessible Testing: Mills said testing capacity for all symptomatic people and sentinel disease surveillance are key elements of reopening various sectors of the economy. While the widespread availability of rapid testing remains a challenge, the State is actively seeking to expand testing to make it more accessible to Maine people.
  2. Prioritizing Public-Private Collaboration: Mills noted that collaboration and leadership among businesses, employees, government entities, and the public is vital to develop, implement, oversee, and adapt guidelines and safe practices. She said government alone cannot fix things and government doesn't have all the answers; she said we need the best thinking of Maine people from every industry and every corner of the state to reimagine and reinvent how we do things in this state in a way that protects both lives and livelihoods.

On Thursday, Mills announced the launch of a portal through the Department of Economic and Community Development to serve as an avenue for business owners, employees, and Maine residents to offer their ideas. The portal can be accessed at www.maine.gov/decd.

“We invite all Maine people to take part in the discussion,” Mills said. “Give us your specific ideas on how we can do things differently, how we can restart the economy and keep all our people safe and healthy. We want to hear from you.”

As of now, the governor’s Stay-Healthy-At-Home Order remains in effect through April 30. She said they'll be reviewing it on a daily basis and that no decisions have been made concerning whether or not to extend it.

"Trying to balance the saving of lives and livelihoods at the same time, we want to do that," Mills said. "We're hoping to do that with the help of all Maine people."

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Coronavirus, COVID-19 Background 

The official name for the coronavirus is “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is named “coronavirus disease 2019” or “COVID-19” for short. Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which can infect people and animals. The viruses can cause the common cold or more serious diseases like SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.

The CDC says symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and in some cases sore throat.

The CDC says there are simple steps to take to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home while you're sick and avoid close contact with others

The Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Tuesday, March 10 that they would be holding daily coronavirus briefings with director Dr. Nirav Shah to keep the public up to date on the situation in Maine. 

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