FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington President Serna announced in an email on Sunday that a resident student has contracted the coronavirus. UMF has now reported four cases of COVID-19 among students living on-campus, one case from a remote-learner student and one case from an adjunct faculty member.

UMF’s current COVID-19 case was reported on the same day that the Maine Center for Disease Control reported 204 new cases of the coronavirus, a new single-day record for Maine.

The student with COVID-19 is in isolation while their roommate has been moved into quarantine, as directed by Maine’s CDC. According to UMF Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Christine Wilson, isolation is only used for students who test positive.

“Sometimes, students “shelter in place” as a precaution if they have been in proximity to someone who has symptoms, and then they are released when the symptomatic person’s test results are returned,” Associate Director for Media Relations April Mulherin said, in an email. “If those results are positive, anyone who was in “close contact” (as defined by the CDC) is put into quarantine.  The CDC releases individuals from isolation and quarantine.”

Maine’s CDC is conducting contact tracing with UMF support to notify anyone who has been in close proximity to the student who tested positive.

The COVID-19 case was detected during Round 6 of UMF’s Phase 3 of asymptomatic random sampling testing process. During Phase 3, UMF randomly selects students and community members to be tested during 10-day rounds.

“Each round of testing will include a random sampling that requires participation of a percentage of students, faculty, and staff participating in on-campus activities in order for university statisticians to accurately model potential disease prevalence rates across the System,” the University of Maine (UMaine) System’s website explains.

According to UMaine’s testing outline, 80% of Phase 3 tests will be reserved for students with the remaining 20% for employees.  There are also 500 additional tests that are available during each round that may be administered to individuals at the discretion of UMF leadership.

The final period of testing, Round 7, will take place from Nov. 11-17, one week before Thanksgiving break when students will fully transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

“We’re nearing the in-person finish line, and I have hope that we will all continue to do our part as a community to keep one another safe and healthy,” Serna said in his email Sunday.

Serna also reminded students to take all necessary precautions, especially now that Maine is reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“As cases in Franklin County, and across Maine, continue to rise, it is important that we remain steadfast in our commitment to the health and safety guidelines,” Serna said. “You must wear your face covering even when maintaining a safe distance is possible, always keep your distance, and wash your hands well and often for at least 20 seconds.”

There is no specific number of positive cases in the UMaine System’s policy that would prompt a university’s closure. The decision to close a campus would be determined by the university’s president, the UMaine Chancellor and the Board of Trustees.

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