News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 3, 2020
Four cases of COVID-19 at MMA
Nine students placed in quarantine

by Leslie Landrigan

Four people at the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) have tested positive for COVID-19 as of September 2, according to the school’s website.

MMA is testing every student, faculty and staff returning to campus after it was closed at the start of the pandemic, the website said. Testing began on June 22, and since then the school has received test results for 1,400 people, with four testing positive. Only three of the four have active cases of the disease, the website said.

Two who tested positive were students returning to school from out of state, MMA President William Brennan announced in an email on August 31.

The school found through contact tracing that the students, who showed no symptoms, had limited contact with other students, Brennan wrote. A total of nine students have been placed in quarantine or isolation for two weeks, he said.

The names of the affected individuals can’t be disclosed because of privacy laws, Brennan said.

“Our screening testing worked as we had hoped. By catching these asymptomatic cases early, we limit the spread of the virus,” wrote Brennan.

CDC investigation

Maine CDC has opened an epidemiological investigation at MMA, according to Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a September 1 virtual news conference.

The investigation, Shah said, had just gotten under way. Another investigation has been opened at the University of New England, which also had three confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Brennan, in his email, said the investigation would “provide proactive guidance and support.”

He urged students, faculty and staff to remember to cover their faces, distance socially and sanitize properly. “If these procedures are not followed, you risk exposure to the virus and jeopardize our plans for a successful semester on campus,” he said.