Official: Virus trend 'seems to be moving in our favour' - InfoNews

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Official: Virus trend 'seems to be moving in our favour'

June 12, 2020 - 12:45 PM

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Janet Mills on Friday accelerated the date that lodging businesses can welcome out-of-state visitors, citing encouraging signs in several testing benchmarks during the pandemic.

Lodging establishments can welcome out-of-state visitors on June 26, instead of July 1, as long as they meet the 14-day quarantine requirement or the new testing alternative. New Hampshire and Vermont residents are exempt from the requirements and were allowed to book rooms effective Friday.

The Mills administration said the move allows more tourists to spend the week leading up to the Fourth of July in Maine.

“Maine looks forward to safely welcoming out of state visitors to enjoy all that Maine has to offer during the Fourth of July holiday,” Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said in a statement.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, announced Friday that there had been no deaths for three consecutive days and that the cumulative “positivity rate” for testing dipped to 4.63%.

“The trend seems to be moving in our favour," he said.

The governor defended the administration's actions in light of the encouraging test results. "It says that what we’re doing is working,” she said.

The number of positive tests for the virus grew by 54 to a total of 2,721. The number of deaths held steady at 100.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Other coronavirus-related developments in Maine:

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SCHOOL OPENING

The Maine Department of Education says it, not local school boards, will determine when students return to classrooms.

The department said it will do so in consultation with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

But local education officials will be responsible for details including classroom configurations to ensure social distancing.

The draft plan, released Thursday, would require staffers to wear masks and encourage students to do so, as well.

Maine schools closed in March to control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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NOVEL TREATMENT

The first Mainer to receive transfusions of antibody-rich blood plasma says he remembers dreams of two groups chanting while he was on a ventilator for 18 days.

Richard Stevenson said one group was chanting, “Let him die, let him die, let him die!” while the other chanted “Go Rich, go Rich, go Rich!”

Stevenson, of Vinalhaven, told the Bangor Daily News that he credits his survival to the plasma transfusions at Mid Coast Hospital. He was the first person in Maine to get the experimental therapy.

Stevenson believes he was exposed in December on an airplane long before the virus became widely known in the U.S. He never knew for sure whether he had COVID-19 then. But his symptoms returned, and he tested positive in March.

He was weaned from the ventilator little more than a week after receiving plasma donated by COVID-19 survivors.

“I’m the luckiest person on earth, is how I feel,” he said.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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