Gov. Mills bans dine-in at restaurants and bars

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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Governor Mills escalated her coronavirus response Wednesday, shutting down all dine-in options for restaurants and bars for the next two weeks.

Takeout, delivery, and drive-through are still permitted.

This comes as the number of positive or presumptive positive coronavirus cases in the state jumps up to 42.

Mills also urged non-essential public-facing businesses like malls, gyms, movie theatres, and casinos to close for the next two weeks.

Mills said at the daily briefing Wednesday that while the mandates are aggressive, safety comes first.

"To walk down the streets of Bangor or Portland, any of our towns and cities when they look almost like a ghost town it's pretty disheartening but we know that Maine people want to be safe," said Mills. "We want our children and our elders most likely affected by this outbreak to be safe and to lead productive lives."

Just a couple of hours after the coronavirus daily briefing, Northern Light Health officials said a patient tested last week at the walk in care clinic on Union Street in Bangor has the coronavirus.

We also learned Wednesday an individual at the Kennebec County District Attorney's Office in Augusta tested positive for Covid-19.

Here's a breakdown on the numbers as of noon Wednesday:

- 42 total positive cases (30 positive, 12 presumed positive)

- 1 person recovered

- 1,670 negative tests

Cases by county:

Cumberland - 23

Androscoggin - 3

Lincoln - 3

York - 2

Kennebec - 1

Oxford - 1

Penobscot - 1

Mills also said she was prohibiting gatherings or more than 10 people when it's not work-related.

I asked CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah about the rate of spread from Southern Maine up to Penobscot.

"This has been anticipated," said Shah. "What we've seen in other parts of the world as well as other states is that when viruses like coronavirus, which has the potential to move quickly in a population -- when it has been introduced, the time between the first introduction and the finding of cases in other parts of the area is pretty short."

Dr. Shah also told me that not only are they looking at where the first cases are, but where community transmission is taking place. Right now, that's only documented in Southern Maine.

The Maine CDC doesn't share specifics about each of the cases, so no one can confirm if the one at Northern Light Health or the kennebec county D-A's office are the same ones revealed at Wednesday's daily briefing.