(Maine) The Maine CDC says there are now 42 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of the Coronavirus in Maine. That’s up from Tuesday’s 32 cases. Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says his agency has confirmed 30 of the cases, with another 12 awaiting confirmation but likely. Cumberland County has been hardest hit so far, with many cases there resulting from community spread rather than from travel. The other cases are confirmed in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, and York Counties.
Belfast – Teacher exposure
(Belfast) – A worker in the Belfast school system has prompted an advisory from the school superintendent for possible COVID-19 exposure. Village Soup dot-com reports the teacher took part in the planning process for remote learning. The teacher had contact with a relative who worked with someone who tested positive for the virus. The letter to teachers suggested that people who worked with the staff member stay home and self quarantine.
(Brewer) – A fire that started when a golf cart backfired spread to a Brewer garage, damaging the building and two luxury cars inside. WVII-TV reports firefighters from Brewer, Holden and Eddington responded to the North Main Street scene last evening and got the blaze out relatively quickly. No injuries are reported.
(Ellsworth) In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, Northern Light Blue Hill and Maine Coast Hospitals have suspended all routine visits until the threat of transmission is no longer a threat. Because the organization realizes the importance of having a visitor or family member present in times of illness, Northern Light has created a set of guidelines for limited visitation with patients, such as allowing one partner and one birth support person for obstetric patients and two visitors for patients who are at end-of-life stages. Visitors are not allowed for patients with a pending or positive Covid-19 test. And the Ellsworth campus has set up a tent outside the hospital for testing.
Mills Announces New Restrictions
(Augusta) Governor Janet Mills today announced the most restrictive order so far in an order to flatten the curve of the spreading Coronavirus in Maine. Effective at 6 p.m. last evening and for 14 days ending at Midnight on March 31st, all restaurants and bars in the state must close to dine-in customers. Take out, delivery, and drive-through options can still continue. Governor Mills’s Executive Order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people statewide, such as community, civic, faith-based, fitness centers and sporting events. The order does not include businesses that provide essential services, such as banks, gas stations and veterinary clinics.
Registrations and Renewals
(Augusta) Need to renew your driver’s license, liquor license, or dog licenses? With many municipalities closing their doors to in-person traffic, Governor Janet Mills’s office has passed an emergency bill, effective immediately, stating all registrations and renewals will extend the expiration until 30 days past the termination of the state of emergency.
The Ark – Adoptions
(Cherryfield) The Ark animal shelter in Cherryfield will be accepting the public by an “appointment only” basis, starting March 21st until April 1st. The shelter is currently closed, this week, but not due to coronavirus concerns. Shelter administrator Shaina Mugford tells Star 97-7 that they’ve had a few cases of kennel cough and some upper respiratory infections among the animals. There are also two cats expecting litters any time. The closure this week allows Ark staff and volunteers to care for the animals and do some deep cleaning. Mugford says folks can still view the pets online and obtain adoption applications though their website: The Ark Pets dot Org.
(Maine) Animal advocates around the country are expressing concerns about people dumping pets during the global health crisis. With the economy tightening, people may feel the need to give up their beloved animals. But Jennifer Skiff of the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action says dumping your pet should never be an option. “Pets are family members,” says Skiff, “and the best way to keep them safe is to keep them with you.” Skiff suggests taking advantage of food pantries and assistance from animal shelters. Jamie O’Keefe, President of the Hancock County SPCA, says they have a pet food pantry on site that is available to anyone in need. If you’re a shut-in and need food or pet supplies, there are people to help. Contact your local shelter for more information, and hang onto that furry source of comfort in these troubling times.
Tax Filings Delayed
(National) The federal government is providing some tax relief during the pandemic. In a press conference Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that individuals and corporations can delay their tax payments for 90 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines specify that individuals can defer up to $1 million in payments for 90 days from the April 15th deadline.
AARP Tax Aide
(Portland) AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, the nation’s largest free, volunteer-based tax preparation and assistance service, has announced it has suspended tax preparation services at all sites as of yesterday (Monday) until further notice. The action comes amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. AARP says members can still access information through their website or by calling their toll free number. AARP will be holding a Coronavirus question and answer session on health and scams on Thursday at 1 pm. AARP and federal experts will share the latest information about the pandemic, including how to protect yourself from scams. To join, call the toll free number posted on our FB page. (855-274-9507).
(National) With school and business hours cut or businesses being forced to close altogether, small business owners are being hit especially hard. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. The State of Maine is eligible for SBA loans, which must be requested by the Governor. For more information, check out sba dot gov.
(Bangor) Get out your walking shoes and pray for good weather. Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym have closed their Bangor locations, effective Tuesday night. In a letter sent to members, Planet Fitness reported they will remain closed through March 31st. Gold’s Gym is offering Facebook Live Classes. And if you just want to dance, dance legend and choreographer Debbie Allen will be teaching a free dance class via Instagram Live – tune in today at 4 pm Eastern.
Bangor Mall Hours
(Bangor) The Bangor Mall is responding to the Covid-19 crisis by reducing their hours. While many of the stores within the mall have closed, the mall will remain open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 to 6.
(Cherryfield) The Cottontail Cottage Farm Sanctuary in Cherryfield has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. The organization says local farm stores are running low on bedding, cat food, rabbit pellets, and other supplies; and life-saving medicines are becoming scarce locally and must be ordered. The Sanctuary serves more than 65 rescue animals, many of whom are disabled or from abusive situations. Although the Sanctuary is closed and gated as a safety precaution, you can donate through their website, cottontail cottage dot org.
BHHT Trails & Hiking
(Local) Folks who have been cooped up this week may enjoy a change of scenery. Blue Hill Heritage Trust spokeswoman Chrissy Allen says they have several trails with low foot-traffic so you can remain somewhat isolated while you explore nature. Allen does advise hikers to beware of ticks as they’ve started to hatch.
- The Patriots have shed a lot of salary this week and are now under the NFL’s salary cap. Besides losing Tom Brady, the Patriots have trade Safety Duron Harmon defensive tackle Danny Shelton and saw offensive lineman Ted Karras agree to a deal with the Dolphins. Linebacker Elandon Roberts is also expected to sign with the Dolphins.