CAPE ELIZABETH — A student at Cape Elizabeth Middle School has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, said Superintendent Donna Wolfrom, on Sunday, March 15, in a letter to the district.

Cape Elizabeth public schools have been shut down for the next two weeks, with updates to be provided, said Wolfrom.

Students who are food-insecure can email [email protected] to schedule a confidential breakfast and lunch item delivery or pickup time, said Peter Esposito, food service director.

Wolfrom said in an announcement that she received a letter from the CDC informing her about the positive case at Cape Elizabeth Middle School

“Staff and students may have been exposed to the virus and we are informing you out of an abundance of caution,” she wrote. “Please monitor yourself for signs and symptoms. Call a healthcare provider if you develop symptoms. It is important that you call a healthcare facility before you show up in person. Testing is not recommended if you do not have symptoms.”

Symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath, the letter said.

According to Wolfrom, Dr. Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said that Cumberland County now faces “community transmission of COVID-19.”

The virus is found to be more severe in those older than the age of 60 and anyone with “underlying” conditions, said the CDC letter, and it is spread when an uninfected person breathes in contaminated air, when an infected person either sneezes or coughs.

“Quarantine orders will be issued on a case-by-case basis and those individuals who should quarantine
will be notified by the CDC. We have been informed that there are no quarantine orders as a result of this latest positive result, now that we are in community transmission,” said Wolfrom. “Please continue to take precautions, and I will continue to distribute information as I receive it.”

The Maine CDC also recommended prevention measures, saying, “This includes proper hand washing with soap and warm water. This is especially important after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Stay home if you are sick.”

The Cape Elizabeth School District had released a pandemic plan, updated on March 4, consisting of three stages, before pandemic, during a pandemic, and following a pandemic.

“The During a Pandemic stage focuses on the details of providing food for students in school, and during a possible school closure, and identifying nutrition service staff who would be working during a closure,” said the plan. “This stage also discusses continuing education for students in grades 6-12 who will be taking their devices home to complete research and assignments as communicated by their teachers. Students in grades K-5 will be urged to take books home to read and to engage in websites on their home devices. Teachers will be meeting during the Before stage to develop plans for students to work at home should school closures occur.”

For more information from the CDC, visit www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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