Quarantine tourists in Vacationland? Maybe not, after all - InfoNews

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Quarantine tourists in Vacationland? Maybe not, after all

A Ferris wheel remains in off-season mode without its chairs at Palace Playland, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Reopening plans remain uncertain but the amusement park hopes to open the arcade in mid-June and possibly get the rides going a week or so later. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
June 03, 2020 - 12:53 PM

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine leaders are considering a “layered” approach instead of a 14-day quarantine for tourists who might be bringing the coronavirus to the state, its top economic official said.

Lifting the quarantine order will probably require a blend of testing, symptom checks, public education, and adherence to industry-specific guidelines and protocols, Heather Johnson, the state's commissioner of economic and community development, told the Bangor Daily News for a story Wednesday.

“When you layer all of those together, you create a mesh that is intended to capture and really mitigate that risk,” she said.

The administration of Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, is working on a plan that incorporates several elements because there is no single answer to keeping residents healthy "when you go from 1.3 million people to 10 million people in a summer in Maine."

Leaders of Maine's tourism industry have tried unsuccessfully to overturn the 14-day quarantine order in federal court and have said they plan to appeal.

In other coronavirus-related developments in Maine:

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THE NUMBERS

One person died and 41 people tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Wednesday.

That brings the total number of deaths to 95 and the number of people who contracted the virus to 2,418, the CDC said. It was the second day of a decline in hospitalizations, which numbered 44.

The cumulative “positivity” rate since the coronavirus pandemic struck in dipped slightly below 5% for the first time, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Nationally, the rate is 10%, he said. The positivity rate is usually calculated as the per cent of tests that come back positive.

Over the past week, the figure was even lower with 319 out 9,090 tests being positive, for a positivity rate of 3.5%, Shah said.

For most people, the new coronavirus 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.

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UNEMPLOYMENT LAWSUIT

A work release inmate who lost his job because of the pandemic is suing to have his unemployment benefits reinstated.

)Mills put the kibosh on unemployment benefits for inmates after learning that 53 individuals had been paid $198,767, averaging $3,750 per inmate, since mid-March.

Mills called the benefit payments to inmates “appalling" and “bad public policy” despite a finding by the attorney general's office that the payments were legal, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of an inmate at Bolduc Correctional Facility who had been working 45 hours a week at a restaurant.

“Governor Mills acted unilaterally and outside the scope of her executive authority to deprive qualified individuals of the funds to which they are legally entitled," the lawsuit read.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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