Maine Reports 2 New Coronavirus Deaths, Bringing Total to 14

There are now 537 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the state, according to the Maine CDC

The number of Maine residents who have died from the novel coronavirus stands at 14, after health officials on Wednesday announced two fatal cases from the pandemic.

The two victims were a woman in her 80s from Waldo County and a man in his 80s from Cumberland County, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a daily briefing.

In Maine, there are now 537 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to Shah.

Out of those confirmed cases, 101 patients remain hospitalized and 187 have recovered, health officials said.

Piscataquis County is the only county in Maine that has not yet had a confirmed case of coronavirus as of Monday, according to the Maine CDC. The majority of cases continue to be in Cumberland and York counties.

As part of Maine's efforts to bolster health care capacity in the face of the pandemic, Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday that the Maine National Guard and the Maine Emergency Management Agency will be setting up two alternative care sites.

The Cross Insurance Arena in Portland will hold at least 100 beds and the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will hold at least 50 beds, Mills said.

"The sites will be set up as soon as next week and to be staffed shortly thereafter," Mills said. "I hope we never use and need these sites, but we can't wait to find out."

Mills also said the state has 184 beds that can be converted for critical care use.

Wednesday's deaths also come a day after Maine's education commissioner recommended that schools plan to continue online learning programs for the remainder of the school year.

Commissioner Pender Makin said in a letter her recommendation was based on guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends avoiding in-person instruction for eight to 20 weeks once there is evidence of community spread of the new coronavirus.

"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," Makin wrote. "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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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