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Maine COVID-19 projections cut again as other states look to restart economies

Governor Janet Mills speaks to the people of Maine near the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

AUGUSTA – Maine’s projected deaths and hospitalizations have once again been revised downward in a prominent model being used by the federal government and many others. The model from IMHE now says Maine should now expect just 63 total deaths. The revision comes as other northeastern states, but not Maine, look to restart their economies through a regional compact. The federal government is also looking to begin reopening parts of the country.

The IMHE model, a central piece of planning and forecasting for the federal government and many state and local governments, initially projected hundreds of deaths in Maine and hundreds of thousands of deaths nationally. It has been revised downward repeatedly over the past two weeks. New projections now show a flattened curve in Maine with more than enough ICU beds and resources available for patients.

Other states are now looking to begin reopening and restarting their economies and taking steps back to normalcy. On the west coast, California, Oregon and Washington announced a three-state compact to begin slowly moving forward with reopening their states.

In the northeast, a group of seven states stretching from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania announced a similar compact to begin moving forward according to WBUR out of Boston.

Maine is not among those seven states, despite having a lower number of confirmed cases of coronavirus and deaths than any of the northeastern states in the compact.

President Donald Trump is also planning to roll out a task force charged with putting together a plan to being restarting the country’s economy. That announcement could come at any time.

In recent days, Maine has announced a significant number of confirmed cases, but about one-third of those cases were located at the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation, where 41 residents and 14 staff were infected. The day before, Maine CDC announced 9 confirmed cases at a veterans home in Scarborough.

As of Wednesday, Maine had 734 total confirmed cases. Of those, 20 people had died and 292 had recovered. 124 people were hospitalized, according to Maine CDC.

Piscataquis County is the only county without a confirmed case, although several other rural counties still have five or fewer confirmed cases. Cumberland and York County, Maine’s two southern, more densely populated counties have the largest number of cases with 483 of the more than 700 total confirmed cases.

The Maine CDC says it has confirmed community transmission of COVID-19 in Cumberland, York and Penobscot County.

Maine has already announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year and postponed the primary election until July. Some community-based events and festivals, such as the Yarmouth Clam Festival in the third week of July have also been canceled.

A study from Oxford Economics recently declared Maine’s economy the most vulnerable among the fifty states and Washington D.C. Factors included reliance on the tourism industry, the number of small businesses and the age of Maine’s population.

Governor Janet Mills’ “stay healthy at home” order is in effect through at least April 30, 2020.

Following are the states in the northeastern compact, compared to Maine.

State – Confirmed Cases / Deaths

Maine – 734 / 20

Connecticut – 12,035 / 554

Delaware – 1,761 / 41

Massachusetts – 26,867 / 844

Rhode Island – 2,665 / 63

New York – 195,031 / 10,056

New Jersey – 64,584 / 2,443

Pennsylvania – 22,833 / 507

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