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Man in his 80s is Maine’s 1st coronavirus-related death

Maine Governor Janet Mills announced that one person has tested positive for coronavirus in Maine.
Maine Governor Janet Mills announced that one person has tested positive for coronavirus in Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man in his 80s who lives in the southern part of Maine is the state's first coronavirus-related death, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

The man was a resident of Cumberland County, the most populous county in the state and the center of the outbreak in Maine so far, according to the agency.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills called it “a sad day for the state of Maine” and called on state residents to support each other.

“Our state is a family. And while we mourn the loss of a member of our Maine family today, I find strength and solace in knowing that we will support one another and that, together, we will get through this,” she said.

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State officials, citing privacy laws, declined to release the man's name or hometown.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

The state had more than 160 cases of the virus through Friday. Mills has declared a state of civil emergency, and schools and businesses throughout Maine are closed to the public.

State officials announced Thursday that Maine was closing numerous state parks to the public to prevent people from gathering in groups that could spread the virus. Community transmission of the disease is apparent in Cumberland and York counties, state CDC director Nirav Shah has said.