Woods Pond Beach has been shut down by Bridgton officials because several people became ill with abdominal symptoms after swimming there between Monday and Friday, when those seeking relief from the heat descended on one of the town’s most popular swimming spots.

A statement posted on the southwestern Maine town’s Facebook page said the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention contacted the town Friday afternoon to report the illnesses. The town then shut the beach down.

Bridgton will have the water at the beach tested to diagnose the cause of the illnesses as soon as the testing facility it uses opens Monday morning. Town Manager Bob Peabody said the results should be available 24 hours later.

Officials said new information will be posted on the town’s Facebook page as it becomes available.

Town officials suggested people swim at Highland Lake Beach, Sabatis Island or Salmon Point during the shutdown.

Liston Eastman, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he does not know how many people were sickened but that some had complained of abdominal pain and contacted the Maine CDC. He said he has been unaware of any problems with water quality at the beach in the 20 years he has lived in Bridgton.

The beach is on the south end of the 462-acre Woods Pond off Route117. It includes a sandy beach and a roped-off public swimming area with a dock and two diving platforms.

Woods Pond is relatively shallow, with a depth of 29 feet. Its water quality has improved in recent years, the Environmental Lakes Association, which works to protect Maine’s lakes, watersheds and related natural resources, reported on its website.

The town reported on Facebook that the Bridgton Hospital emergency room had seen no “confirmed cases” of E. coli contamination. “All cases have been treated with hydration and released from ER,” the town reported.

A Bridgton Hospital nursing supervisor said Saturday she was not authorized to release any information.

Peabody, who was away Friday when the call came in from the Maine CDC, said someone called the town earlier that day with concerns about the beach.

Peabody, who was back in town Saturday for Bridgton’s 250th anniversary celebration, said he did not know how many people had fallen ill.

The Maine CDC did not respond Saturday to an email about the closure and phone calls were not answered.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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