coronavirus in maine

More Than Half of Maine's Coronavirus Deaths Have Been at Long-Term Care Facilities

Over 100,000 Mainers have now applied for unemployment benefits in March

As of Friday, 47 people have died from coronavirus in Maine, an increase of three deaths since Thursday, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic Friday. 

In the past two days, seven people at long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, Shah said. Overall, 25 of the total deaths in Maine have been residents of long-term care facilities. 

There have been 965 total cases of coronavirus in Maine, an increase of 28 cases since Thursday, according to Shah. Two of the cases are considered “probable."

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ new definition of a probable cases is someone who is closely linked to a confirmed case and starts to display symptoms, Shah said. They are assumed to have the virus without being tested. 

The Maine CDC will now be recording and reporting all probable cases, in addition to confirmed cases, Shah said.

Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman provided an update on the number of people applying for unemployment insurance in Maine and how the state has handled in the influx in applications.

Over 100,000 people in Maine who were working at the beginning of March have since applied for unemployment benefits, according to Fortman. 

In the past week, the Maine Department of Labor has expedited 20,000 applications for unemployment insurance that would have previously required fact-finding interviews to receive benefits, according to Fortman. 

"If we took the normal course of business, we would be scheduling out interviews to July and that is just too long for people to wait," she said.

Next week, Fortman will know the timeline for the federal unemployment assistance program, she said. Unlike Maine's traditional unemployment insurance, the federal pandemic unemployment insurance program will provide benefits to self-employed individuals who have been impacted by the pandemic.

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