LEWISTON — A Bates College student who tested positive this week for COVID-19 has been moved into isolation housing to try to keep the disease from spreading.

The case marks the fifth time this semester that someone on the heavily tested campus has contracted the highly contagious virus.

Three of the earlier cases involved students, while one was an employee. All of them have recovered, according to an online dashboard where the college reports its testing results.

The new positive case was reported Friday, the only one of 848 tests that did not come back negative.

The college reported the student has been moved to isolation housing set up before the semester began to ensure that anybody who comes down with the coronavirus will have little chance of passing it to someone else.

In addition to isolating positive cases, Bates also has trackers who try to find anybody who might have been in close quarters with the infected person.

The case marks the second student to come down with COVID-19 this month despite twice-weekly testing of all students and strict rules about social distancing, wearing masks and other protective measures established to allow the campus to reopen this semester. Bates shut down its campus between March and August.

According to a tracking site for colleges in the New England Small College Athletic Association, only Middlebury and Bowdoin colleges have fewer positive cases than Bates. Trinity College in Hartford has had the toughest time, with at least 85 positive cases, many of them from an outbreak that is over.

It is looking ever more likely that all of the college in the conference, including Bates, will be able to remain on campus until Thanksgiving break, when all of them are switching to remote learning for the last few weeks of the semester, as planned.

Bates hopes to begin its next semester in early January. It intends to eliminate any long breaks and plunge right into its monthlong short term in April after the spring semester ends.

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