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Real-time Maine coronavirus updates: Maine Department of Education recommends finishing 2019/20 school year with remote learning

Director Makin: "Recommending, with the support of the Governor, that you begin to plan to replace classroom/group instruction with remote/distance learning,"

MAINE, USA — Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 




9:15 p.m.

Maine Department of Education has issued a statewide recommendation to complete the 2019/20 school year with remote learning. 

Maine Department of Education Pender Makin said in a release Tuesday night, "As you may know, US CDC guidance recommends an 8 to 20 week timeframe for avoiding large group/in-person instruction once there is evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.  Therefore, I am recommending, with the support of the Governor, that you begin to plan to replace classroom/group instruction with remote/distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year."

"It is difficult to make such a recommendation, recognizing the profound challenge of reinventing public education and the many culminating events and rites of passage that educators and students anticipate all year long. I also realize that this recommendation will be difficult for families to hear, given the challenges of childcare and managing school expectations on top of the other significant impacts of this state and national emergency.

That said, I believe it is extremely important for school leaders to have as much information as possible in order to best prepare educators, students, and communities for a longer period of remote learning and to promote opportunities for redesigned celebrations and alternative ways to provide both continuity and closure," said Makin.

NEWS CENTER Maine will update this story.

6 p.m.

New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths Tuesday, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

2 p.m.

Governor Janet Mills, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, and Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew gave Tuesday updates in a live press conference. 

Mills announced the Maine National Guard and MEMA will assist the Maine CDC, city officials, and local hospitals to set up alternative care sites in Portland and Bangor. The effort calls for a total of 100 beds to be set up at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland and at least 50 beds to be set up at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor as additional capacity for hospitals.  

RELATED: National Guard and MEMA to help open alternative coronavirus care sites in Portland and Bangor

Mills said she hopes the sites will be set up as soon as next week. 

"I hope we never need to use these sites," Mills said in the press conference, "but we cannot not afford to wait to find out…building them now will ensure that if the need does arise, we will be prepared, and Maine people will be cared for, and Maine people will survive.”

Mills also said the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is preparing to make $10 million in supplemental payments to the hospitals of Maine.

When asked about concerns surrounding in-person voting in the upcoming June 9 primary election, Mills said she does not believe it will be possible to hold the election on June 9 and are discussing rescheduling it to July 14. She said they've been conferring regularly with Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and his team, as well as with clerks, registrars, and both major political parties.

Mills said they want to minimize person-to-person contact while also maintaining Mainers' right to vote.

11 a.m.

The Maine CDC announced on its website there are now 519 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. 

12 people in Maine who have tested positive have died. Dr. Shah said the two additional deaths announced Tuesday were a man in his 50s from Cumberland County, and a woman in her 80s, also from Cumberland County. 

99 people who have tested positive have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. 176 people in Maine have fully recovered from the virus.

There is at least one confirmed case in 15 of Maine's 16 counties.

Credit: NCM

7 a.m.

Governor Janet Mills, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, and Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. NEWS CENTER Maine will stream it on our Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages, as well as on our app and on T.V.

Tuesday Coronavirus Coverage



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.

NEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus Coverage

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NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist

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