[Music] [Music] hello good afternoon ladies and gentlemen my name is nirav Shah I'm the director of the Maine State the state of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention I'm joined this afternoon by Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner Heather Johnson from the Department of economic and Community Development we're here today to provide an update on the Cova 19 situation across the state of Maine I'd like to start by providing some an update on where things stand and then turn things over to Governor Mills and today's update again begins on a very sad note the Maine CDC is aware now reporting five additional individuals who have passed away from kovat 19 all five of these individuals was a resident at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough one was a gentleman in his 50s from Cumberland County another was a gentleman in his 70s also from Cumberland County the third was also a gentleman in his 70s from Cumberland County the fourth a gentleman in his 90s again from Cumberland County and the fifth again a gentleman in his 90s also from Cumberland County each of these men was a veteran each of these men served his country and we'd like to just take a moment to honor that selfless service to this country during its time of need as always everyone here at the state of Maine offers our condolences to the families of these individuals during this time of grief overall the Maine CDC is now reporting 937 cases of copán 19 an increase of 30 cases since yesterday as we'll talk about in a moment many of these cases are associated with outbreaks at long-term care facilities overall 150 individuals have been hospitalized at some point during their kovat 19 illness an increase of six since yesterday and as I noted there are now 44 deaths statewide an unfortunate increase of five 485 individuals have recovered an increase of 30 at present there are 18 individuals in the state who are in intensive care units related to their kovat 19 illness which is the same number as yesterday similarly there are 24 individuals in non intensive care unit beds also the same number as yesterday in one additional individual is now on a ventilator bringing that total to 11 all told there are currently 229 health care workers who have been infected with kovat 19 since the since we began our activation I'd like next to provide a quick update on the various outbreaks at long-term care facility and assisted living facilities that Maine CDC is working with right now the first is at the Augusta Center for health and rehabilitation where there are currently 47 residents 28 staff and unfortunately three deaths that's an increase of one staff member since yesterday for a total of 75 the next is Falmouth by the sea where there have been 8 residents 10 staff who have been infected with kovat 19 the next is the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough where there again have been 30 residents 18 staff and as I mentioned now unfortunately five additional individuals who have passed for a total of 10 at the tall pines facility in Waldo County there have been 31 residents and 11 staff who have tested positive that's an increase of one additional resident and one additional staff member for a total of 42 cases affiliated with tall pines at the Cedars facility in Portland the numbers there remain the same of seven residents and four staff members for a total of 11 and at the Edgewood rehabilitation center the numbers there again remain the same two residents and one staff member and we are awaiting test results from the universal testing that was offered yesterday and the swabs that were taken finally I'd like to just provide an update on deliveries of personal protective equipment from yesterday and today yesterday I detailed the nearly 600, 000 pieces of personal protective equipment that have been delivered to Maine health care facilities and first responders since we first began our activation yesterday alone twenty-eight thousand pieces of PPE were delivered in 52 separate shipments the vast majority of those shipments went to congregate care settings like the nursing homes that we've been talking about similarly today 35 deliveries will be made and picked today and delivered tomorrow again in the bulk of those will also be going to congregate care settings across the state and finally before I turn things over to Governor Mills a brief update on the vital medical assets that we've been tracking the first is with respect to the number of ICU beds there are a total of 306 ICU beds in the state 158 of which are available there are 333 conventional ventilators in the state 281 of which are available and there remain available 367 alternative ventilators thank you very much I'd like to turn things now over to Governor Mills thank you thank you dr.
Shaw and thank your staff for all the excellent work they've been doing day and night for the last five plus weeks your state thanks you and 1.
3 million people in this state thank every member of the CDC all the professionals the epidemiologists the public health nurses and the great leadership that you have provided to that division and to the state of Maine the state of Maine has joined all other states in confronting the most serious threat to life and safety of our people in more than a hundred years like other states Maine has seen hundreds of people fall seriously ill and dozens of people lose their lives as a result of this virus the virus has reared its ugly head in every county in Maine and too many people have died this virus does not discriminate it is not an urban or rural disease not an old person's or a young person's illness it does not care whether you are male or female old a young wealthy or poor whether you work in a mill or a diner a corner store or a back office it knows no state or county lines no international boundaries it does not care how big or small your bank account or whether you have a line of credit it is an equal opportunity killer if you have lungs it will find you and try to take your breath and your life away there is no treatment at this point there is no vaccine the virus as you know is transmitted by personal contact that's why all 50 states have invoked their emergency executive powers it is why the president has declared every state of federal disaster area it is why the overwhelming majority of all states have issued strict stay home stay healthy at home orders and orders prohibiting large gatherings and other common recreational and business activities we all want life to return to normal as soon as it's safe to do so our hearts break to see closed storefronts and people struggling to make ends meet each day people call me and write me and tell me their story and urge me to keep people safe while also doing everything we can to protect the businesses and the lives of working men and women who are the heart and soul of our state at the same time they and we know that reopening too soon and too aggressively is likely to cause a secondary surge in kovat 19 cases jeopardizing the lives of many more main people overwhelming our healthcare system and further destabilizing our economy none of us want that that's the truth and I'm not going to sugarcoat it here in Maine we are pursuing cautious reopening tailored to our state's unique demographics and economic sectors our approach will not be driven by artificial deadlines or generic guidelines or it will be driven by public health considerations fact in science and it will be done in collaboration with you in the private sector the basic principles that Maine will follow as we reopen our economy over time are one protecting the public health the state of Maine will continue to rely on epidemiological data such as case trends hospitalization rates recoveries and deaths to inform the decisions we make along with the private sector in lifting restrictions to maintaining health care readiness Maine must retain as capacity to respond to any surge in this virus to that end the state will continue to work closely with all hospitals and healthcare providers to assess system capacity including available hospital beds ICU beds ventilators and we will continue to procure and distribute personal protective equipment as needed to hospitals and nursing facilities emergency surface service personnel and other frontline responders three building reliable and accessible testing testing capacity for all people who are symptomatic and Sentinel disease surveillance our key elements of reopening various sectors of our economy while the route widespread availability of rapid testing remains a challenge the state is actively seeking to expand testing to make it more accessible to Maine people for prioritizing public-private cooperation and collaboration collaboration and leadership among businesses employees government entities and the public you those are vital to develop oversee and adapt guidelines and safe practices government alone cannot fix things government doesn't always have the answers we need the best thinking of all Maine people from every industry and every corner of the state to reimagine and reinvent how we do things in this state in a way that protects both our lives and our livelihoods all activities and businesses are important to the resurgence of our economy that's why the administration's approach will utilize criteria and measures that are currently under development by the Maine CDC that will lead to a phased reopening of the economy in its planning the Maine CDC will also develop measures to detect a resurgence in that virus anything that might necessitate a reposition of restrictions something we don't want to have to do but we've got to be keep our eyes on it on things meanwhile the Department of economic and Community Development headed by Heather Johnson over the corner will solicit from industries and various sectors of Maine's economy their ideas on how we can collaborate they can collaborate with state government we can collaborate with them to develop practical reasonable evidence-informed protocols to allow them to safely resume operations and activities once the public health benchmark benchmarks are met together we're analyzing specific business practices considering modifications to activities and consulting with public health experts to ensure that we protect the public health at every step accommodations may be as simple as closing the break room at work letting people work flexible hours installing plexiglass shields or they may be as complex as a business changing its entire sales process we are asking questions like can the activity be conducted in a manner that keeps social distancing and that minimizes close personal interaction something we all miss what is the impact of that activity or business on movement or travel this is something I'm discussing with the other New England governors will it encourage people to travel within or into our state from high incidence areas to lower incidence areas risking the spread of the virus what is the inevitable congregation effect of this business or activity does it attract crowds how social is that activity and how can we address the innate desire to gather in group settings to gather information and ideas in a robust way we're opening a public portal on our website for for business owners employees and residents to offer positive suggestions about particular industries and activities we invite main people to take part in the discussion give us your ideas on how we can do things differently within the principles outlined above how we can restart the economy and keep our people safe and healthy respecting the enormous burdens that are already endured by our selfless health care providers while we won't be able to implement everybody's suggestions we want to provide a path for members of the public to share all of their good ideas while we plan on how to reopen business and activities of all sorts and while we dream of going back to the way things were we also know things will not return to normal soon we call on each other to reimagine how we do things as members of a common society how we invent different ways of doing business shopping traveling recreative taking care not just of ourselves but of every man woman and child in Maine for whom we are now equally responsible this morning a person in recovery emailed me to say quote I worry for people that I know are in the high-risk groups and the people who do not know they're at high risk but I'm not helpless there is something I can do I can stay home I can do my part to help flatten the curve I can put others needs before my own I am part of a community now he said something I didn't have in active addiction I missed so much now but I want to do no harm another person wrote quote I have a business a shellfish farm that has been greatly affected by kovin 19 however I am willing to sacrifice in order to keep people alive and healthy and to relieve the burden on Maine's health care systems and families I am only one voice and I am NOT rich by any means but I would rather lose money then lose loved ones she said today we heard the sobering statistics from dr.
Shaw 30 new cases five deaths more than in any previous day bringing the total number of lives lost to 44 at least 10 of those individuals were veterans of the Armed Services is it is to honor their lives and out of gratitude for their service and out of concern for the health and safety of all citizens that we take measured steps that we act with compassion that we tread with caution the approach we take take is defined by flexibility practicality listening and continued communication it's not measured by hard lines or fixed timetables or dubious deadlines all people in this state are stakeholders churches coaches artists clerks teachers waiters union members community leaders homemakers retirees business owners large and small and everything we do now together affects everybody else after all we know Maine is not just a state or a way of life or a dot on the map with 1.
3 million people some place between the 42nd and 47th parallel on the globe Maine is a community of souls a state of givers and doers people with ideas courage and compassion and now is the time to let our true selves shine thank you thank you very much well I'll turn to some questions from our colleagues in the media and today's first question goes to Emily tad a lot from wabi go ahead Emily hi thanks so much dr.
Shaw and governor Mills maybe this is a question for both of you actually governor Miller stay healthy at home order is set to end a week from today will that bathe reopening begins then or will you be extending that order was a what begin then the reopening oh oh phased Ryoga I'm sorry she's asking about this stay at home order which by its terms expires a week from today will be monitoring things a day by day keeping track of the epidemiological data as I said keeping track of activities as dr.
Shah has described earlier press briefings we keep track of some travel data activity data and obviously hospitalizations so it's a day-by-day thing we have no plan yet to either renew it or to let it expire but we'll be reviewing it thanks for that question Emily we'll turn next to fill her scorn from WMTW go ahead Phil thanks hope you hear me dr.
Shaw just a fact check and they don't ask the governor questions it's short fetch it for you is that those five more deaths today can you say how many of the total 44 attributed to residents the long-term health care facilities and for the governor just following up that previous question your education commissioner already moved the goalposts so to speak from May 1st to June 15th in terms of shutting things down saying schools remain closed and immediately Portland and Lewiston and other districts complied are you in any way worried Mainers are developing some sort of false hope for saving the month of May or Memorial Day weekend or June what is your hope realistically for reopening the state and saving the summer a fill I'll do the fact-checking first governor so Phil of the of the five individuals who we reported passing away all five were residents of a long-term care facility and overall since we've begun our work there have now been 23 individuals in long-term care facilities who have passed away governor right I'm not clear on your question but I think you're saying that the Education Commissioner and our administration has basically told the schools not to expect to reopen this semester this school year before the end of the school year and that's that's accurate because schools in in classroom teaching at least involves groups of people getting together and high-potential spreading the virus that's still the case that's consistent with the other orders we have in effect right now about large gatherings Memorial Day is five weeks away at least I think I can't help you what to expect from Memorial Day and we've been through several holidays together now dealing with this virus Patriots Day and Easter and Passover and you know and Ramadan right now so I'm gonna take it one step at a time we'll turn next day the summer of course that's crucial to our state's economy save the summer oh is that what you said Phil I'm sorry save the summer yes I mean I guess the question is if it's not safe to reopen schools to mid you and why is it safe to reopen anything else at the same time we do want to save the summer economically I'd love to save the summer economically of course you know we're dealing this we're dealing with this one sector at a time one aspect of our activities at a time for instance we may look at different protocols for tennis courts there may be a way for tennis courts to open without people handling the same tennis ball it might be a lot more challenging to open basketball courts because there's a lot more physical interaction that kind of thing is what we're looking at a functional analysis it's not about the month or the day or the season it's about protecting people and preventing personal impersonal interactions same thing with regard to the beaches and amusement parks and that kind of thing we'll just step one step at a time thanks Bill we'll turn next to Amy brown at wer you go ahead Amy thank you we're getting a lot of questions about already starting a little bit early with some of the early for the summer if people from other states are still being recorded only in their own state roster I will the public knows there's an outbreak in a town here many of which see their population demographic shift significantly when people who have summer homes return many residents if there were an outbreak in a town not reported under our reporting system because they come from other state as an awesome assuming that to recording period continues for people from other other states when they get to made signs that Marilla as well we've had someone who works in the voting industry specifically about that and whether or not if we should decide to run again from some other places will they be allowed to dock in I can yeah governor I'll start if you if you don't mind so Amy asks first as we go into the summer if individuals are coming into Maine who may be full-time residents of other states how might we know how would the public know if there were an outbreak and a me and for everyone watching I want to be I want to assure everyone even though a case that may be diagnosed in Maine but say is someone who's a full-time resident of New Hampshire that case might get reported by New Hampshire but if there were an outbreak if there were a facility or if there was an outbreak associated with a particular gathering that's not something that we would outsource to another state's Health Department we would be on top of that our disease detectives would be investigating it and we would be publicly reporting it and sharing all the data with everybody so a everyone knew what was going on and B you could take steps for example our epidemiologists might call you as part of the contact tracing we've been doing for several months you may get a phone call even if the cases that started that outbreak were among residents in other states so I just want to be very clear the state that reports where a case is is completely different from how we think about report and investigate outbreaks as for cruise ships last I knew that the federal order was still in effect basically prohibiting cruise ships from docking and I've heard of the cancellation of a lot of cruise ships for this coming season that's about all I know about cruise ships we'd be putting up signs at the marina the study touches us who worked in voting to express concerns that not everyone interested state via via that's right that's a great suggestion I don't know if Heather's talked with it with many of the coastal people about that yet but she's asking about notifying people who sail in the Maine as opposed to driving in or flying in about the quarantine mandate yeah I think it's a great suggestion to to put some signage in some of these marinas that we hadn't considered that yet so we can add that to our list certainly and the federal CDC did extend the cruise ship no sale the no sail for cruise ships so that that is under under effect right now thanks we'll turn next to Eric Russell with the Portland Press Herald go ahead Eric good afternoon guys thanks for taking the time I have a couple of questions if I could based on you know I know you guys do a lot of data models and projection based on the current projections and trajectory is there any sense of when we might see a two-week decline in new cases per day that is part of the criteria for when things might reopen and the second question I have is in Waldo County and I think this is largely because of the tall pines outbreak there have been ten deaths but only three hospitalizations are people choosing not to go to the hospital and try to live on a ventilator and why do you think that might be and is it advised great I governor I can feel both of those pretty personal issue yeah that's that's I think between between the family and their and their religious counselors but so as to your first question Eric Eric's first question is around white what might any of our models show in terms of when we might reach a point of 14 days or any number of days of leveling off of cases and you know Erica it's a good question it's one that's very much on our minds it's something that we've been thinking about and the models don't really predict when we might hit that point the models are their function is to make different projections of hundreds of different types of scenarios and then enable us to plan for those so none of our models is telling us a date at which we might begin or complete a 14 day diminution in cases or anything of that nature you know I think the bottom line is that the virus does as the virus does our job is to respond to it we can't really control what the virus is doing but we can control our response and thereby hope to spread it so we don't really have any projections as much as we have planning scenarios depending on what the complexion of the outbreak looks like in terms of your second question about tall pines you're correct with respect to the numbers we can't speculate or don't have any insight into any particular facility and why any of the residents at one facility versus another may decide to stay in a facility versus go to the hospital what I can tell you though is that that site that type of advance care planning is certainly part of any discussion that any resident has when they start taking up residence in a long-term care facility and those decisions are one that are of course highly personal and very much between the resident their family member their care provider and any other spiritual counselors they might have we don't really we don't track any data on that and we do recognize that different folks make different decisions in that regard so thanks for that question Eric we'll turn next to Katelyn Andrews from the bdn hi thank you I have a question for dr.
Sean have a question for governor Mills dr.
Shaw I'm speaking to you spokesperson about releasing town by town data the virus and it told me that basically the state would have to see a certain level of cases before it could basically release that data without infringing on people's privacy do you have a number or an idea of having our cases the thing we need to see in order to feel comfortable doing that yep so Caitlin's first question is whether there's a specific threshold at which we might decide to move to release town by town data and there's there's not a specific number at which privacy becomes cushaw really again depends on the distribution of cases across the state and so that's really war what we're looking at can we release town by town data such that in the smallest of towns there are sufficient number of cases so by releasing those data we don't compromise anyone's privacy and I think when you look in states that have gone that route what you find is that they have many times more cases than we do if you take Massachusetts just as an example they have maybe six times our population but forty times the number of cases that we do so a significant difference in the concentration of cases as well as the distribution of cases that enables them to release that data at a town by town level without compromising privacy so it's not about the absolute number of cases it's more about the spread of them across the state and then I'll turn it over to the governor thanks yes thank you I just want to follow up on that quickly has the CDC ever considered releasing more tavataan data in areas where the virus is the most concentrated like in Cumberland or York County it's so Kevin's follow-up is have we considered doing the town by town release in areas where the virus is more concentrated it's something that we've looked at we've discussed it but I think the the broader point though Caitlin is that there is an assumption underlying the town by town release of data that in areas of community spread I would I would just want to be very clear about in in counties like Cumberland and York where we know there is community transmission the presence or absence of the virus in any one town should not determine the steps that people are taking in order to stay safe and so you're right in areas of higher concentration there may be more privacy protections but that assumption that underlies that that my risk might be different because there aren't cases in my town and there might be in the neighboring town in York that assumption doesn't hold true and it's actually a dangerous assumption because it can lead to people having a false sense of security that you know what there aren't cases in my town and so I don't need to practice social and physical distancing that we know in counties where community transmission is occurring is not the case and that false sense of security could actually lead to more cases and the secondary spike that we're concerned about my second question is for governor Mills is about the legislature last week your spokesperson said that you were working on a way to keep the legislature informed without violating open meeting laws have you figured out a way to do that yet well I don't think the well the open meeting laws do not prohibit caucuses or meetings or briefings such as we conducted frankly what we are doing is looking at the best ways to communicate as much information as possible to as wide an audience as possible it's why we have daily briefings with dr.
Shah it's why folks are on the radio members of the cabinet are on the calling shows and on the morning news shows and interviews shows and we're getting written information out there we are trying to involve legislators as well as the rest of the public and the media in as widespread fashion as possible turn next to Steve miss Laura main public go ahead Steve thanks for taking the call a quick question for dr.
Shah I think you mentioned this in your opening remarks also I do you have a question for the governor too but first dr.
Shah sorry you mentioned that the high percentage of the active cases seem to be in these congregate care settings or long-term care facilities do you have a number that you can pin to that and then the question for governor Mills is related to how in what ways are you coordinating with Vermont and New Hampshire specifically what industries would you be looking at to to make sure you guys are in alignment you know I think governor Sununu mentioned something about beaches he was worried that you know he didn't want to be the first open beaches in May New Hampshire because maybe people from Maine and Massachusetts would congregate there I'm just looking for some examples about how this three states the three northern New England states are and what they're focusing on and their conversations sure so Steve Esther the former question about the number of active cases just a quick definitional note what we mean by an active case is one where our our field epidemiologists the folks I've spoken about these are the ones that are doing that contact tracing that we've been doing for several for a couple months now they're the ones who are checking in on cases to see how they're doing and whether they can be deemed to be recovered these are the folks that are doing that work and right now there are roughly very roughly about 450 or so active cases and by again active that just means they haven't yet moved into the recovered box so our epidemiologists are continuing the contact tracing and continuing with keeping tabs on them we'll get the exact number for you in a bit Steve but it's roughly what I just noted about 450 how how is recovered to find is that discharge from hospital ization or that how do you how do you define it sure so Steve's question is what is meant by recovered Maine CDC here follows the US CDC's guidelines and criteria with respect to what is recovered there are two ways someone can be recovered the first is that they get multiple lab tests each of which is negative that was usually that was the definition that was used early on but nowadays the other definition is used in most cases which is a resolution of symptoms again we'll get you the exact wording of the definition Steve but basically in in big picture terms it requires someone having no symptoms for about three days without taking any medication that would suppress those symptoms so tylenol is known to suppress a fever so you can't be taking tylenol and you have to have all your symptoms resolved for at least three days for a certain number of days after your first symptom we'll get you the exact words it makes a lot more sense when you rather than when I try to walk through it and that's the definition that we follow from the US CDC for what determines when someone is recovered thanks and with your truth respect to the northern New England governors and the New England governor's we've all been having conference calls at a conference call with all the New England governors earlier this week yesterday a day before and several conference calls with just governor Scott governor Sununu and myself and on top of the all governor's calls with each other and the governor's calls with the president the governor's calls with a vice president we spent a lot of time on the phone but it's good information we share a lot of advice and information and what's going on in our state's and our regions so the governor Scott and governor Sununu and I have talked about beaches indeed and golf courses and medical facilities we're all talking to our medical providers I think a lot of people there's a lot of people who would like to open up health care providers to doing elective surgeries and elective procedures again I think we all know though if one state does it we all have to do it sort of in concert same with some of the other activities we've been talking about we don't want to be an impetus to interstate travel because there are high incidence communities like Boston right now and Rhode Island and there were lower incidence communities like many of ours in Maine we don't want to mix that up as I said one of the criteria that we're using in determining how and when to open up particular activities is does that activity invite in-state travel or in interstate into the state travel that might indeed spread the virus so we're talking about those things and I think we're in agreement on the basic principles and parameters turn next to Dan Newman from the Maine beacon go ahead Dan Thank You governor Mills there's a bipartisan effort in Washington passed 500 billion in others dicted aid to States territories and local governments is that something you're tracking do you support that relief effort and what priorities would main have four additional unrestricted federal funds thank you there's two different things he's asking about whether or not we support five hundred billion dollars money funds extra funds additional funds for the states and yes the National Governors Association which you know I rejoined a little over a year ago after I became governor the National Governors Association has taken a bipartisan position in favor of such funding and the two different things going on a bipartisan position in favor of fewer restrictions on the money that is already in the pipeline so that we can use it to in many cases backfill budget holes caused by the kovat 19 virus those are our goals I don't know the status of the 500 billion I understand Governor Cuomo had a conversation with the president this week some indication that he might be inclined to support that but I can't speak for either of those those gentlemen next to Don Kerrigan from NewsCenter go ahead Don yes good afternoon I have a question for dr.
Shaw and then one for governor Mills dr.
Shaw first it's about testing and we were and how much testing do hospitals have we were contacted by a woman took her son to a hospital last night the doctor wanted to test the son for Koba 19 but city couldn't because they only had a very limited supply of tests is that still a problem at hospitals so Don's first question is around the testing capacity within hospitals themselves and Donna I can't speak for any particular hospital if that if that child was at a hospital that had its in-house testing capacity that might be a different scenario than one in which they are sending tests to our laboratory but just to provide the numbers really quickly right now our laboratory has the capacity to conduct about 2, 500 and tests other laboratories across the state have varying capacity our laboratory team is on frequent calls with those other leaders of laboratories across the state to keep tabs on what the capacity is and what the supply of reagents are but Don you're the premise of your question is correct which is not just in Maine but across the country there remains a challenge with getting some of the chemicals the reagents that we need in order to offer testing more widely we would like to be able to do so but we know that that availability has been a challenge in fact just a few hours ago my team and I were on a call with others with the federal government to discuss how we can go about asking for more supplies and to probe the federal government on their plans for getting us those supplies so they acknowledged it's a concern and it's one that we hope that they can help us with and Governor Mills question about unemployment benefits for self-employed we have the story on today and we were told by the Department of Labor that the biggest obstacle to getting is going providing benefits for people who are self-employed are problems with the computer program that the Department uses to run this system and not a lack of guidance from the federal government have we been slow to get our computer program some other states apparently have had similar problems some have have dealt with it and some have not so looking the question on that Thank You Don questions about unemployment insurance and is is the slowness getting in getting payments out to self-employed and independent contractors due to our computers or something else and it's a combination of things I was on a call yesterday with most of our most if not all of the other governors and I asked the question is anybody has anybody had any success in processing those kinds of claims I got no positive responses that's all I can say we're all having problems processing those claims and I am extremely sympathetic extraordinarily sympathetic with people who have run their own business for years and years who have not been part of the unemployment system now now find themselves with their doors shuttered windows closed and customers not allowed in and we're trying to assess I think with the federal government right now in fact there's some kind of webinar tomorrow for all the departments of labor across the country to learn what kinds of documents we should be requesting which tax returns from what years many people didn't file tax returns for 2019 yet because hey the federal government postponed the filing deadline and then of course many most of the states did also so getting the proper paperwork to assess what income level to base their unemployment compensation on is the big hurdle I believe at the same time the $600 checks I believe they are going out the door and the normal unemployment claims are going out the door something like a hundred million dollars worth I think and the third tranche the third aspect of the cares Act is what we're stumbling with dealing with right now all states are dealing with that trying to process that I believe that Commissioner Portman told our reporter that that they will have this system I guess up and running and working by April 30th are you confident of that I I'm very hopeful and I think all the states are talking to each other about addressing this problem urgently expeditiously the other problem is the federal government that a federal Department of Labor also sent us a warning yesterday saying if you don't do it right we're gonna claw back the money the OIG is gonna come after you so they're like giving and threatening to take at the same time so we're under the gun both ways I'm gonna turn next to Joe from ABC 7 go ahead Joe thank you doctor first question I have is for Governor Mills with this new public portal you have four suggestions coming in from everyone in the public what is your plan for separating a good idea versus what Heather's here her office is going to be deeply involved in you know this is similar to the process we used in respects one is the climate change initiative of last year where Hana Pingree set up a Climate Change coalition and with subgroups dealing with different aspects of that and we used the same kind of information data gathering in that respect and then when Commissioner Johnson got the economic development plan underway she also solicited all kinds of ideas suggestions from members of the public and businesses and employees from all over the state and she can address that yeah so we appreciate and honestly every idea is a good idea at this point we really want to see the information and the ideas that people have so we look forward to reading through those Commissioner lambreaux and I have put together kind of a joint team Commissioner lambreaux with some healthcare folks focused people and obviously our folks are talking with businesses and industry it on a regular basis and putting that work together to look at business process business modifications healthcare elements that would add safety to those pieces so I think we'll look at at all of the feedback with those two lenses put together and see how we integrate all of that work thank you thanks a lot Joe we're gonna turn oh yes that's for you sure with the number of cases and you're looking around the area and we talk about the phrase flattening the curve looking at the numbers of recovery cases and the numbers of positive cases we have is this a result of flattening the curve or do you think we're still playing catch-up from the beginning of the shortage antastic we add that is a great question so Joe's question is to what extent are we now not just discovering cases from a while back and especially with respect to those who have recovered Joe it's as you can imagine it's difficult to know but what we can say is that many of the cases that have been most recently diagnosed our individuals who have been who have had symptoms and given what we know about the duration of those symptoms which is to say for a few days it suggests that the cases that we've been most recently detecting and reporting are ones that are part of ongoing infections as opposed to cases are from a while ago that are just now being detected and a lot of that has to do with the way the test works and how long the virus is known to stay in the body I think the bottom line there Joe is that again we're still in the middle of it we're still in the middle of things and this is not detecting things that happened a couple of weeks or months ago I would thanks Joe I'd like to turn to your colleague Dustin from the New England cable news network go ahead Dustin thanks doctors had the questions for the governor is there a plan with no date attached to it to open up the state in a regional way or is there a metaphoric stack of different reopening flowcharts something based on certain data like positive test rates I guess what's your process like or is this really all coming together in just the course of the next week or two boy a little a little of all the above we're developing the epidemiological measurements what we want to rely on as we go but we're also through decd and through this portal inviting people to give suggestions we're also looking at different sectors of the economy not regionally in the state of Maine regionally perhaps in northern New England but looking at different sectors and different activities and inviting people to help us develop ways where those activities can be conducted and then running those vetting them through the public health experts can it be done that way you know and it varies so much it's not just about how many days have passed it's not just about what the weather is like or anything like that it's about you know how to conduct educational classes how to conduct church services services how can you do elective services services and procedures in a safe way without inviting congregation of people how can you allow some of the hospitality sector whether it's marinas or lodging meals and lodgings places to open in some respect maybe in baby steps maybe very gradually but allow them to do business again so we're looking at the economic interest and the public health interest and trying to bring them together will turn next to you think you you are on the way there like is 80% done you're gonna get 20% public input or you don't know that yet no there's 80% of what I know you can live like how formed are these different plans or these all kind of just pieces that are all kind of scattered out in a metaphoric table there's no metaphoric table we have our guiding principles and a vision for what Maine can do and should do that's what we're following right now working side by side with the public health experts on the CDC to figure out how and when to open up different sectors of the economy in the coming weeks and months thanks Justin we'll turn next to Patrick Whittle from the AAP go ahead Patrick I have a I have a ultra specific question that I assure you we are posing to all 50 states and this is not just me being weird believe me it gets better so we've we've heard some reports that there are concerns that the virus can end up in sewage and we're wondering if states are doing anything to address that a treatment plant or with septic systems and we're also wondering if there are any cases where someone tested positive after coming in contact with to it I totally respect if you'd all the answers questions right off your head because there are many things that you're thinking of it may be sewage isn't in the top ten but if it is I would love to know so patrick has some very probing questions about sewage and and whether we have thought about the possibility of sewage as a mode of transmission Patrick also assures us that he and his team are asking that question of all 50 states so the answer Patrick is that we are thinking about that there have been some early reports around that very distinct possibility we are not aware of any single case in Maine that has been attributed to contact with sewage from say a sanitation worker nor is the concept of getting coronavirus from sewage one that has been proven but we have talked about it and the other way in which we've talked about it is working and thinking with with some academic colleagues about to what extent there could be a role for testing sewage to try to get a sense of how much of the virus is out there this is something that's done in other contexts not least of which is during the opioid crisis and so Patrick it is something we've thought about we haven't made any decisions on it but it's something we're thinking about it's something we've had discussions with academics about because of the potential research applications to try to get a sense of how much of the population at mine might already be infected by coronavirus as well as to monitor the changes in that so it's on our radar it is an ultra specific question but it turns out to be something we've thought about and are continuing to think about last question today goes to Brad Rogers from WGME go ahead Brad alright thanks very much this is for the governor you know tens of thousands of Mainers rely on summer tourists it sounds like what you're saying is tourists from Massachusetts Rhode Island maybe other states are the last thing you really want to come into Maine is there a way to open up Maine safely to tourists and you know what what sort of weight are you giving all that and your discussions how are you going about talking sure Brad it's a lively discussion we're having every day while monitoring the situation not just in Maine but in New Hampshire Vermont Massachusetts Rhode Island New York Connecticut New Jersey people who come here from those states we have got to be careful that they're not bringing the virus right now the executive order stand still stands the people coming here from other states for not for purpose that is deemed essential like health care work have to quarantine for 14 days that is still the rule that's the law basically under the executive order this is April 23rd so every day every week we are working towards reopening reinvigorating reviving our economy reopening our state I would love to see the tourists come here again in July and August I hope it can happen but again we're taking it every one step at a time watching other states and making sure that people don't come here from high-incidence areas to a to low incidence areas in our state with a result that we have a surge of the virus a surge in hospitalizations a surge in the use of ICU beds surging the use of ventilators and more deaths in this state that's what we're balancing right now yeah thank you let me just say in closing if I may these are very very hard decisions every day I'm so pleased and proud to have people like Commissioner Johnson and dr.
Shah Commissioner lamb brew and others part of this team that are listening to you the main people every day and trying to balance the concerns of the economy trying to balance the saving of lives and livelihoods at the same time we want to do that we're hoping to do that with the help of all main people somebody wrote me last night and said the success of your mitigation efforts to slow the spread of Kovan 19 virtually ensures that some people will say that never was any real need to worry in the first place the lives saved hero will never know that they would otherwise have been lost and those that love them will never begin to appreciate the benefit of our protection I thank the gentleman for his words and I want to assure the main people that again all of our decisions and considerations are based on fact science public health data and common sense and finally I want to share something with dr.
Shah because today I got in the mail I want to thank Carter and Connor from Saco Maine for sending this beautiful I'm sure it's handmade card and closing a $5 bill thank you for all your hard work and they want us to buy an ice cream cone when this is all over with Jimmy's and I'll share that ice cream cone with my friend dr.
Shaw buy you one when this is over Thank You governor thank you thank you to Carter and Connor all right thank you very much everyone we'll talk tomorrow and that was a light-hearted ending to today's kovat 19 briefing from the Maine CDC and from Governor Janet Mills in which there was some very sobering information imparted dr.
Shah announced that we've seen the biggest one-day total of deaths in the state that's been reported five deaths since yesterday all of them men who were living at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough one in his 50s a couple in their 70s a couple of them in their 90s of the 44 total deaths in Maine since this pandemic began 23 of those deaths have come in such long-term care facilities our total number of cases today is 937 that's up 30 from yesterday Governor Mills was on hand to talk about a gradual safe reopening of Maine's economy she points out if you reopen too soon and too aggressively you invite a second surge of coronavirus cases so she's talking about a cautious reopening with no artificial deadlines just public health considerations the stay at home order which is in place until April 30th remains in place the governor says she doesn't know yet whether it is going to be extended or not they're going to be looking at the data in the coming days leading up to the end of the month to find out if it can be lifted or if it needs to continue now the governor also points out that the decisions they're making about when and how to reopen are not about a month or day or season but about what is practical and safe and they'll take it one step at a time life will not return to normal anytime soon the governor said we have to come up with a new way of doing business a new way of recreative that can keep people safe they will be guided by three principles there are four principles I should say protecting public health maintaining health care readiness so we can deal with another surge if necessary building reliable and accessible testing so that they can keep track of where the disease is and prioritizing public and private cooperation in that sense they are talking about reaching out to businesses to regular citizens to offer their ideas and about to develop the industries and various sectors of the economy ideas on how they can practically and reasonably develop protocols to allow them to resume safe operations at the same time the Maine CDC is developing criteria to determine when a phased reopening of the economy can happen it will also be developing measures to detect the resurgence of the virus that may necessitate reimplementation of restrictions and the governor also talked about how she it's very important that she continues working with other governors the northern New England governor's New Hampshire and Vermont but also all across New England and across the Northeast because summer tourism season is coming and we want to make sure that we don't invite tourism when it isn't safe all of the states want to try to lift restrictions in some measured and coordinated way well he'd be hearing lots more about this tonight on News Center Maine beginning at five o'clock hope we'll see you then [Music] [Music] you [Music] you.