Two more deaths from COVID-19 were reported by the Maine CDC Tuesday morning, bringing the total deaths in Maine from the virus to 5.

The total number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maine increased to 303 as 28 new confirmed cases were announced during the Maine CDC's press conference.

Of those cases, 57 have had to be hospitalized at some point and 68 patients have recovered.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah reported that in addition to Cumberland and York counties, Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot counties now have cases numbering 10 or greater.

Having over 10 cases is one of the criteria that the Maine CDC uses to determine if a county is seeing community transmission of the virus. That means people are able to contract the virus who had no known contact with another confirmed case or traveled from a country badly affected by the pandemic.

The second criteria used to determine community transmission is that 25 percent of cases in a county must not have a known link to another case of confirmed COVID-19, either through travel or interaction with another person.

Investigations are ongoing in those three counties to determine if community transmission is occurring there.

Here's a map of the breakdown of number of cases by county from the Maine CDC.

Maine CDC
Maine CDC

Dr. Shah also announced that there is one patient confirmed with COVID-19 that spent time at the Oxford Street Shelter in Portland. Officials have had a plan in place to deal with a case of someone experiencing homelessness and spending time in a shelter.

That plan is now going into the response phase and more information on that will be released soon.

The City of Portland voted Monday night to extend the emergency stay-at-home order until April 27. The order requires residents to stay at their homes except to run essential errands, such as picking up prescriptions and grocery shopping.

Walking your dog and going outside is allowed as long as you practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet away from others.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival.

Social distancing is the key to flattening out the curve of the spread of the coronavirus, a point Dr Shah stressed is vitally important for Mainers to practice. A low curve means that the virus is spreading slowly which gives doctors more time and resources to treat more people. The higher the curve, the most people get sick at once and medical facilities get overwhelmed.

The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.

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