The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported another three deaths from the novel coronavirus and 20 more cases.

The latest tally raises statewide totals to 32 deaths and 847 confirmed cases on a weekend where state officials said they were considering easing anti-pandemic restrictions.

On Friday, Gov. Janet Mills announced she would soon release a plan to “reopen” Maine‘s economy, though she did not immediately say how that might work. Mills has been in informal talks with her counterparts in Vermont and New Hampshire about how to coordinate that process across northern New England.

“Those decisions, of course, are driven first and foremost by the need to protect the public health,” Mills said in a statement Friday.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, also said on Friday that reopening could be on the horizon, but that it would have to happen gradually, with some areas lifting or easing restrictions before others.

Mills’ announcement came as two deaths and 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported across the state on Friday; still, the rate of increase in cases appeared to be slowing thanks to social-distancing measures backed by her office and the Maine CDC.

The discussion about reopening the state economy came as the Trump administration released guidance this past week on how to do so. Shah said Maine officials were taking the White House’s recommendations as a “skeleton” or framework to work off as they come to their own decisions about what’s best for Maine’s economy and health.

As of Saturday afternoon, there were 2.3 million COVID-19 cases around the world, with nearly 160,000 deaths. The United States leads in both statistics, with 728,000 cases and 38,000 deaths.

Much of Maine has seen the curve of coronavirus hospitalizations flatten or even dip downward over the past week. For public health officials, this raises hopes that the state will avoid overburdening its health system and exhausting its supply of ventilators and personal protective equipment for health care workers, as happened in Italy and New York City.

Hospital cases are still climbing in eastern Maine, where the outbreak took longer to arrive, though from a lower base.

But the hospital data does not take into account long-term care facilities around the state, which have seen a surge in cases, and deaths, despite stringent social-distancing measures around Maine and within the communities themselves.

Shah said Friday a total of 112 residents and 52 staff members have tested positive at five long-term care facilities across the state where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred: Falmouth by the Sea, the Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation, the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough, Tall Pines in Belfast and The Cedars in Portland. Nine deaths have been recorded at the five facilities.

On Friday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced a temporary increase of $10.1 million in payments to congregate care facilities to support their pandemic response.

On Saturday, the Ashton Gardens retirement community on Ocean Avenue in Portland confirmed four COVID-19 cases among its residents. All symptomatic residents and staff are receiving tests, and the facility has enacted strict virus-control measures that include asking residents to shelter in their apartments, spokesman Adam Bryan said in a statement.

“Our heartfelt wishes go out to all members of our community and their families who have been affected by this virus,” Bryan said.

Cumberland County had 369 confirmed cases as of Saturday, and York County had 175. Kennebec County now has 96 confirmed cases.

These are cumulative totals, meaning they include people who have recovered, died, or are still fighting the disease. The state had 433 active cases as of Saturday.

County by county, there were 35 cases in Androscoggin County on Saturday, two in Aroostook, 11 in Franklin, six in Hancock, 12 each in Knox and Lincoln, 13 in Oxford, 41 in Penobscot, 15 each in Sagadahoc and Somerset, 42 in Waldo, two in Washington and none in Piscataquis.

Over the course of the outbreak in Maine, 136 people had been hospitalized with COVID-19. A total of 382 had the disease and recovered.

By age, only 2.2 percent of patients were under the age of 20. 9.4 percent were in their 20s, 10.5 percent were in their 30s, 13.3 percent were in their 40s, 19.1 percent were in their 50s, 17.4 percent were in their 60s, 14.6 percent were in their 70s, and 13.3 percent were 80 or older.

Infection rates have begun to sway toward females after remaining roughly equal between the sexes. On Saturday, 53.5 percent of patients were identified as female by the Maine CDC.

At last count on April 15, 14,076 people had tested negative for COVID-19. The Maine CDC says it can’t update totals of negative tests every day because of the difficulty of assembling data from outside labs.

On Saturday afternoon, the Maine CDC reported that there were 49 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 20 of whom are in critical care and 12 on ventilators, which help breathe for people undergoing respiratory distress.

There were 318 total intensive care unit beds around the state, and 165 were available. Of 339 total ventilators, 289 were available. Maine also has 367 alternative ventilators approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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