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Maine lifts some tourism restrictions, announces plan to quadruple testing capacity in July

A statue of literary great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Portland, Maine.
A statue of literary great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

Out-of-state residents will soon be able to visit Maine without quarantining if they recently received a negative coronavirus test result, state officials announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Visitors will have to sign a compliance form at their lodging area stating that they’ve received a negative coronavirus test result within the past 72 hours, Governor Janet Mills said. Those who haven’t recently received a negative test result will have to quarantine for two weeks.

“There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has loomed large over our state’s tourism industry,” Mills said. “We’re trying to save the lives and livelihoods of Maine people.”

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Residents of Vermont and New Hampshire will not have to sign a compliance form upon visiting due to the relatively low number of coronavirus cases in both states, officials said.

As part of the updated tourism plan, health professionals will be stationed at heavily visited areas, such as beach access points and tourism centers, to check for symptoms and offer advice about how to stay safe, officials said. The state is working with public colleges to enlist students in these roles.

State officials also announced Monday that Maine will quadruple its coronavirus testing capacity in July, expand testing sites across the state, and allow more residents to be tested. The announcement came as Maine reported 18 new coronavirus cases and no additional deaths.

The state will be able to process an additional 25,000 tests per week at its lab in Augusta, 90 percent of residents will be able to get tested within 30 minutes of their home, and residents will no longer need an order from a health care provider to get tested, Governor Janet Mills said in a statement.

“This expansion, along with new swab and send sites, is an important step forward in allowing more people across Maine to get tested and stay healthy," Mills said in the statement. "On behalf of this Administration and on behalf of all the people of Maine, I thank IDEXX for their continued partnership and their commitment to our state.”

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Nine of the new cases were reported in Androscoggin County and four were reported in Cumberland County, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control. A total of 2,588 cases have been reported throughout the state.

Cumberland has reported the most cases throughout the state with 1,311, officials said. York and Androscoggin follow with 428 cases and 376 cases, respectively.

Cumberland County has also reported the most virus-related deaths, with 56, Waldo County trails with 14, followed by York with 11, Kennebec with nine, and Androscoggin with three. Penobscot has reported two deaths, and Knox, Franklin, Hancock, and Aroostook have each reported one. There have been 99 virus-related deaths, officials said.

Bars and tasting rooms can open for outdoor service and gyms, nail salons, and tattoo and piercing parlors can open with added safety precautions in 13 counties beginning Friday, according to a statement from Mills Thursday. The counties barred from the accelerated reopening include Cumberland, York, and Androscoggin.

“Nearly a month after many businesses in these 13 counties reopened, we continue to see low case counts in those counties,” Mills said in a statement. “As a result, we are accelerating the reopening of some additional businesses in these areas, but with added health and safety precautions."

As of Monday, 62,295 coronavirus tests have been completed, officials said.

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Twenty-seven more people have recovered since contracting the virus, with the total number of recoveries rising to 1,891, officials said.

Four additional people were hospitalized since Sunday, officials said. A total of 301 people have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. Currently, 37 people are hospitalized, with 12 in critical care and seven on ventilators.

There are 198 ICU beds and 232 ventilators available for use across the state, officials said.

Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.