Colleges' reopening plans could have bigger impact in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — There's going to be a ripple effect through the Maine economy as colleges decide whether to reopen this fall.

A report issued in June by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that Maine leads the region in terms of the number of municipalities that are heavily dependent on colleges and universities for their local economies.

All told, 19 of the 57 New England communities that are highly dependent on a college or university for employment are in Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported. In Penobscot County, home to the University of Maine in Orono, for example, more than 10% of the local jobs were in higher education as of 2018.

The University of Maine System and Bates College in Lewiston are reopening campuses this fall, but Unity College and Bowdoin College plan to stick with remote learning.

In other coronavirus-related news:

THE NUMBERS

Another eight confirmed cases of the new coronavirus were detected in Maine, the smallest daily figures recorded over the past month, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Monday.

There were no new deaths over the past 24 hours, the agency said. All told, more than 3,420 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, the agency said.

For most people, the 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 and death.