AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — More than 30 people have tested positive for the coronavirus across seven counties in Maine, officials said Tuesday
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the number will likely grow, and he encouraged people not to panic.
“Panic is a paralytic. It can cloud your mind and cause you to focus on thing that are not your top priorities,” he said.
One of the new cases is a child under 10 in Andrscoggin County, Shah said.
For now, Shah said there's evidence of community spread only in Cumberland County.
The virus that has stricken tens of thousands around the globe causes only mild symptoms for the majority of the people who become infected but can be deadly for some, especially older adults and people with certain health conditions such as respiratory illness.
The announcement by the Maine CDC came as the state Legislature convened to consider an omnibus bill related to the coronavirus and a supplemental budget bill that includes spending to fight the virus.
Lawmakers plan to adjourn after wrapping up their work Tuesday while working under emergency rules that limit the Statehouse to lawmakers, staffers and the press. All others were banned from the building to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Legislature's appropriations committee agreed to a $73 million supplemental budget, which is $52 million less than originally proposed by Gov. Janet Mills.
The package includes $15 million for health care priorities, including rate increases for direct health care providers for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. An additional $1 million would go to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to expand testing for the coronavirus at the state’s laboratory.
The proposal is in addition to a series of bipartisan emergency bills under consideration to support the state’s response to the virus. The Legislature will be adjourning indefinitely, but lawmakers hope to reconvene later in the year.