The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 24 additional cases but no new deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, the first day of phase two of Gov. Janet Mills’ plan to reopen the state’s economy.

Many of those new cases were associated with an outbreak at the city of Portland’s family homeless shelter, which has seen 15 cases over the last few days. There also were new outbreaks of five cases each at Birchwoods at Canco, an assisted living facility in Portland; and at a residence on Marshall Street in Portland for adults with developmental disabilities managed by John P. Murphy Homes of Auburn. And there have now been four cases reported at the Barron Center, a skilled nursing home and rehab facility operated by the City of Portland.

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said Monday that congregate living facilities remain problematic but the state is working to provide personal protective equipment to as many as possible. As of Monday, the state had distributed more than 1.3 million individual pieces, or about one for every person in Maine.

“We are not slowing down,” he said. “Requests continue to come and as those requests come in, we fill them almost immediately.”

Shah also said he hoped that the state’s increased testing capacity would soon allow for universal testing of all workers in congregate care facilities.

“There is an active discussion about testing all workers,” he said.

Shah said even though more outbreaks are occurring at long-term care facilities, it doesn’t mean those facilities are necessarily doing anything wrong.

“It’s like putting a pot of water on the stove and cranking up the heat,” he said. “We know bubbles will rise, but we don’t know exactly where.”

With Monday’s numbers, there have now been 2,349 cases and 89 deaths since the pandemic hit Maine in mid-March. Of those cases, 2,093 have been confirmed by testing and another 256 are probable cases; 1,586 have recovered, which puts the number of active cases at 674.

Over the last 10 days, the number of new cases has averaged 40, which is down slightly from an average of 47 cases during the previous 10-day period.

To date, 284 people have been hospitalized at some point; 52 were in the hospital on Monday, up from 49 a day earlier, including 17 in intensive care and 10 hooked up to a mechanical ventilator.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been increasing, especially in the Portland area, prompting some concerns about available beds and resources. As of Monday, there were 155 of 397 critical care beds available statewide and 242 of 317 ventilators.

Hospitalization rates and death trends are key metrics for tracking the progress of the virus and efforts to contain transmission. Intensive care beds and ventilators are critical tools for treating hospitalized patients, and epidemiologists closely monitor the demand for these resources as they study the spread of the disease.

Shah said the state is in good shape with resources as more restrictions are being lifted, but he again urged caution.

“Reopening is not the same as returning to normal,” he said. “The conditions under which business across the state are reopening are quite different than the way they operated a few months ago.”

As of Monday, the state dropped the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses, which means all retail stores can now open, with customer limits based on square footage and other restrictions. Parks, beaches, lodging places and campgrounds also may open to patrons, provided they’re Maine residents or out-of-staters who have quarantined for two weeks.

Restaurants in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin County are permitted to open for outdoor dining but will have to wait longer before allowing patrons inside. Mills has not set a date and that uncertainty has led to criticism from the restaurant industry.

Previously established restrictions on public transportation remain in place and should be used for essential purposes only. Restrictions on certain gatherings, including religious services, have increased from 10 to 50.

Gov. Mills last week urged Maine people to continue to “stay home whenever possible, not only to protect themselves but to protect others as well, like our frontline workers.”

The governor’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors remains in place, even amid legal challenges and as many in the hospitality industry have called on Mills to drop it. Mills has said she is looking at all options but has not found a safe alternative.

By the end of this week, places of business that are accessible to the public will be required to post signs notifying customers of the requirement to wear masks. Businesses also will be allowed to “deny entry or service to a person not wearing a covering or who is exempt from doing so,” per the governor’s order.

Many retailers have reported that not all customers are wearing face coverings, and businesses aren’t always enforcing the rule.

Shah, responding to a question about the protests that have been happening all over the country, including Maine, said more and more research concludes that masks work to slow the spread of the virus.

“I want to say this directly to everyone who is watching and say this with the utmost and heartfelt sincerity: “If you are going to be outside in any form and you are not able to maintain physical distancing, please wear a face covering. If you can maintain physical distancing, I ask that you still wear a face covering,” he said.

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