A College employee who works in Thorne Hall and a first-year student living on campus tested positive for COVID-19 today, wrote Mike Ranen, COVID-19 resource coordinator, in an email sent to the community at noon. The employee and student are both asymptomatic and are both isolating. The College has not had an on-campus student test positive for COVID-19 since September 5. This morning’s two positive tests bring the College to three active COVID-19 cases as two employees tested positive for COVID-19 last week, one of whom has since recovered.
Thorne Hall will remain closed until it can be thoroughly disinfected and all on-campus students will receive meals from Moulton Hall until further notice.
The first-year student may have come into contact with “several” upper-class students residing off campus on Whittier Field on Tuesday—half of whom have tested negative for COVID-19 and the other half of whom are awaiting results. Prior to visiting Whittier Field, the upper-class students attended a private gathering in Portland on Saturday, November 7, where they came into contact with a student residing off campus in York County who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. The student living in York County had visited Whittier Field on Wednesday, November 4. It is uncertain whether this student came into contact with any on-campus students during the visit.
The College announced on September 4 that off-campus students were permitted access to Bowdoin’s athletic facilities, including Whittier Field, under stipulations that they must wear a mask, maintain physical distance and limit their groups to two or three people.
On-campus students must leave campus for the semester by November 21 unless granted an exception by their deans. The Maine CDC requires individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate until they are virus-free.
In a follow-up email to the campus community later today, Ranen announced the College has identified six students who came into close contact with the student who tested positive. The six close contacts were moved to individual residences designated for quarantine. The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines close contacts as individuals who have have been within six feet of a person who has tested positive for more than 15 total minutes.
In accordance to the Maine CDC, close contacts of an infected individual must quarantine for 14 days and will not be permitted to leave campus before November 21.
The College has also identified three other Dining Services employees who were in close contact with the employee who tested positive—they will quarantine at their homes.
“As we approach the end of the on-campus portion of the semester next week, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to observe all of the health and safety protocols in place at the College, including the use of face coverings, physical distancing, and proper hygiene,” wrote Ranen in the follow-up email.
The two positive cases come after Maine reported 243 new cases on Friday— a record for daily cases.
The story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.