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CASS announces positive test for coronavirus

Waldo County has 11 new cases with one hospitalization
By Kendra Caruso | Oct 16, 2020
Source: File photo Capt. Albert Stevens School, where someone tested positive for the coronavirus Oct. 16.

Belfast — An individual at Capt. Albert Stevens School has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a newsletter sent out by Regional School Unit 71 Superintendent Mary Alice McLean Friday, Oct. 16.

Students were out of school when it was announced because of parent conferences, she said. Faculty and students who were in close contact with the person are being contacted and required to quarantine at home until Oct. 29. It is unclear if the infected person is a student or an employee.

McLean said students and faculty in two classrooms and students on one of the district’s bus runs were affected by the incident. The district had reached almost every individual who was in contact with this individual as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, she said in an email to The Republican Journal.

The school will contact parents of students in close contact with the individual about remote learning plans, McLean said in the newsletter. School nurse Chris Kiley is available to answer general questions and share information about the coronavirus.

Amber is the mother of a child who was in contact with the infected individual. She said she has up to seven days to have her child tested for the coronavirus.

She said she does not know how to feel about the announcement yet, but is a little angry and nervous about the situation in general. "So my head was just spinning all afternoon. I was just kind of nervous. ... I did a lot more cleaning than I usually do," she said about her reaction to getting a call from a school nurse informing her of the situation at about 2 p.m. Friday.

Amber said the district is handling the situation the best it can and sometimes people get infected even when they take precautions. But she is frustrated that there are people who refuse to wear masks to decrease the spread of the virus.

If her child tests positive for the coronavirus. she said, she will have to keep them out of school longer than two weeks, until the virus is better controlled in the school and county. But it would mean adjusting her work situation so her child could stay home to do remote learning, something she is not currently financially prepared to do.

She said she implores people to wear a mask, because it is still possible to contract the virus despite the relatively low infection rates statewide. "If they don't want to wear a mask, they should just stay home," she said. "Nobody wants to get sick or get this virus ... they think it's not going to happen to them."

Annie Cunningham has a child who attends CASS, but was not in direct contact with the infected person. She said she has been anxious thinking about the possibility of her child being exposed to the virus after Maine CDC reported an uptick in new Waldo County cases.

"It's scary for us to get the news today — the same day as 11 new cases just popped up," she said.

Maine CDC published an update Oct. 16, reporting 11 new Waldo County coronavirus cases and one hospitalization.

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