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Knox cases rise to five, one recovered

Governor issues stay-at-home order

By Stephen Betts | Mar 31, 2020

Gov. Janet Mills announced a statewide stay-at-home order starting Thursday, restricting movement and activities as health officials attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, April 2, Maine residents will be prohibited from traveling outside of their homes for all but “essential personal activities” such as grocery shopping, obtaining medical care or medication, providing care to another person or livestock, or commuting to and from work for an essential job.

The order will remain in place until April 30.

People will be allowed to exercise outside if they keep a 6-foot distance from other people.

Anyone who comes in to Maine must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order came hours after the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported two more Maine people died from COVID-19 as the number of cases jumped to more than 300.

The governor said police officers can enforce the order and violations are a Class E criminal offense.

"These are not normal times. This does not feel right having to do this," said Gov. Mills. She urged people to be patient and kind to their neighbors.

Large stores are limited to the number of customers they can allow in the store at one time.

Locally, the CDC latest March 31 update shows five Knox County residents contracted the virus since the outbreak began. One person has recovered of those five.

Lincoln County cases remain at eight and two cases are Waldo County residents.

On Saturday, Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport announced in a news release that two of its doctors were diagnosed with the new virus. Those doctors are self-isolating at their homes and their illnesses are mild. One of the Waldo County cases was a nurse who has since self-isolated.

Seven people in the state Corrections population have been tested. One person at the Bolduc Correctional Center in Warren was confirmed as having the virus. Four tests have come back negative with two results pending.

Statewide, 303 Mainers were confirmed to have COVID-19. Of those 303, 68 have recovered. Forty-three of the people who have been diagnosed are healthcare workers.

Five of those 303 have died from the illness. Three of those fatalities were in Cumberland County, one in Kennebec County, and one in York County.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said 6,088 people tested negative for the new virus since testing began earlier this month.

The 303 cases on Tuesday is up from 275 cases on Monday, 253 cases on Sunday, 211 on Saturday, 168 on Friday,155 cases on Thursday, 142 on Wednesday, 118 on Tuesday, 107 cases on Monday, 89 on Sunday, 70 on Saturday and 56 on Friday. The first case in Maine was not confirmed until March 12.

Cumberland County accounts for the majority of the cases with 169 residents of that county testing positive as of Monday. There are 59 York County residents confirmed with COVID-19, 12 in Penbscot County, and 12 in Kennebec County.

The statistics are classified based on the permanent state residence of the patient but where they were diagnosed. If seasonal residents were diagnosed in Maine, they would not be included in those figures.

Dr. Shah repeatedly urges people to live their lives as though COVID-19 was in their community by adhering to physical distancing, washing hands, staying home from work if ill and coughing into your sleeve.

Most cases of COVID-19 infection bring flu-like symptoms that are mild to moderate and can be treated at home, though in a percentage of cases, mostly involving older people or those with underlying health conditions, it can be serious. Patients concerned they may have contracted COVID-19 are urged to call ahead before presenting at a doctor’s office, clinic or an emergency department.

Dr. Shah said March 25 COVID-19 raises more concerns than the seasonal flu. He said that with COVID-19 the average person can spread it on average of two to three additional people rather than one to 1.5 for people with the seasonal flu.

COVID-19 also has five to 20 times greater mortality rate than the seasonal flu, the CDC director said. He said the COVID-19 outbreak is occurring as the influenza cases are near peak, adding stress to the health care system.

Dr. Shah pointed out that 80% of people with COVID-19 show slight symptoms such as having a cold. But the remaining patients have more serious symptoms and some will require intense medical care.

There are 176 intensive care hospital beds in Maine and 92 are available as of Monday, Dr. Shah said. There are 309 ventilators in Maine and 253 are available. He said there are also 87 other ventilators used in operating rooms that could be used to treat COVID-19 patients if needed.

The Maine CDC, however, is asking for 400 more ventilators to handle the potential number of cases in which people need breathing assistance.

He said the state has yet to receive an adequate amount of equipment including personal protection equipment from the federal government.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Stephen Betts | Apr 01, 2020 11:30

The dump will remain open but in Rockland city officials ask you to go no more than once a week and avoid contact with staff and others.

Posted by: Joseph W Baiungo | Apr 01, 2020 11:01

Geoff:  it's April 2nd at 12:01.  There was a typo which has been corrected.

Posted by: Geoff Facey | Apr 01, 2020 10:02

Multiple news sources are saying the order is in effect as of April 2nd, but the text of the order says April 1st, can  you please clarify?

Posted by: Stephen Sweigart | Apr 01, 2020 07:52

Can I assume the dump will remain open?

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