ELLSWORTH — With COVID-19 numbers rising across all counties in Maine, Governor Janet Mills announced on Nov. 19 a curfew for many types of businesses. The curfew is effective from today through Dec. 6 and targets all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including those currently open for outdoor service.
The curfew is designed to limit gatherings as college students return to the area and families and friends traditionally gather for holiday and social events, according to a Nov. 19 press release. Last Friday, Mills removed the quarantine exemption for travelers from Massachusetts. Now, all travelers entering Maine are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or have a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival.
Last week, Mills also announced an expansion of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests for people showing coronavirus symptoms. The tests are available at Walgreens locations throughout the state. The free, drive-through, self-administered tests are available locally at the Ellsworth and Blue Hill locations. These tests require an appointment, made through www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing, where after completing a brief symptoms survey, an appointment can be scheduled, with results emailed within 24 hours. However, the appointment must be made within three days of taking the online survey. As of the morning of Nov. 20, appointments at the Ellsworth location were booked “three days out,” an employee said, adding that cancellations do occur.
At the latest Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention briefing on Nov. 20, Executive Director Dr. Nirav Shah provided the most recent data, including 20 new outbreak investigations since Wednesday. However, none are in Hancock County.
Shah’s focus during the briefing was emphasizing that just as COVID-19 has fundamentally changed over the course of the pandemic, “we, as a state, need to update our behavior,” or each increasing day “will make it harder and harder to put a lid on things.”
Shah also reported the 171st and 172nd COVID-19 deaths in Maine, with 90 current hospitalizations, 49 of those in intensive care units. Shah noted later in his briefing that Maine is not currently in danger of a shortage of hospital beds or ventilators.
He advised anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical advice before they become severe.
“Individuals can deteriorate medically very quickly,” Shah said. “Someone can go from being OK in the morning to feeling really under the weather at noon and being in dire straits by dinnertime.”