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First-year student tests positive for COVID-19; College identifies 14 close contacts

November 17, 2020

A first-year student living on campus tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, informed COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen in an email to the community this evening. The student does not have symptoms and is isolating on campus.

The College has identified 14 close contacts of the first-year student who tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines close contacts as individuals who have been within six feet of a person who has tested positive for more than 15 total minutes.

The College has three active COVID-19 cases following this morning’s positive test. The other two active cases—a Dining Service employee and another first-year student— both tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning.

The College identified nine close contacts of the employee and the student who tested positive on Saturday—six of whom were on-campus students and three of whom were Dining Service employees. The 14 close contacts of today’s positive test bring the total number of students in the College’s designated quarantine housing to 20.

The Portland Press Herald reported today that Maine has 246 new COVID-19 cases—the second-highest since the pandemic began. More than a quarter of Maine’s active cases are located in Cumberland County, Maine’s most populous county which includes Brunswick and Portland.

“This is a [sic] yet another reminder of the need to follow our guidelines around social distancing, especially as cases continue to grow rapidly in Maine. I cannot stress enough that we all must observe the health and safety protocols—especially face coverings and physical distancing—as we spend the last few days on campus,” Ranen wrote in the email.

This morning’s positive test comes four days before students are required to depart campus. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to leave isolation before they test negative in accordance with Maine CDC guidelines. The College is “strongly encouraging” close contacts to complete their 14-day quarantine on campus; however, under new guidance from the Maine CDC, students in quarantine are permitted to leave campus on or before November 21. The CDC advise close contacts who choose to quarantine elsewhere to “monitor themselves daily for signs and symptoms, and seek testing if any symptom appears; refrain from participating in holiday activities; and consider issues around traveling to their home state (how to safely get home without using public transport like buses, trains, or planes).”

The College campus status remains at “yellow.”

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