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Employee tests positive for COVID-19, bringing College to four active cases

November 18, 2020

An employee of the College who works at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center tested positive for COVID-19 late last evening informed COVID-19 Resource Director Mike Ranen in an email to the community this afternoon. The employee is isolating at home, but the College did not disclose whether the employee is showing symptoms. Ranen also wrote that “out of an abundance of caution” the Schiller Coastal Studies Center will be closed until noon on Monday.

The College has identified one employee who came into close contact with the employee who tested positive. That person is quarantining at their home.

The College now has four active cases—this is the second case announced within 24 hours. Yesterday morning, a first-year student living on campus tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ranen in an email sent to the campus community last evening. The student does not have symptoms and is isolating on campus.

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 has 20 students in the College’s designated quarantine housing after 14 close contacts were traced to the first-year student who tested positive yesterday morning and six close contacts were traced to the student who tested positive on Saturday. 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 Portland Press Herald reported today that Maine has 156 new COVID-19 cases. More than a quarter of Maine’s active cases are located in Cumberland County, Maine’s most populous county which includes Brunswick and Portland.

“Each day we are seeing more COVID-19 cases around the country and here in Maine, including among our faculty, staff, and students both on and off campus. It is clear that COVID-19 is everywhere and that we need to be extremely careful and vigilant in all of our interactions,” wrote Ranen in today’s email.

On-campus students are expected to depart campus for the semester by November 21—three days away. 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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