Morse High School will remain in it’s part-time in-person learning model after a student tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from RSU1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel.  File

BATH — A Morse High School student has tested positive for COVID-19, but the school will not stray from it’s part-time in-person learning plan, according to a statement from the district.

In a letter sent to families, Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent Patrick Manual said the district has been in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which decided contact tracing isn’t necessary and the school doesn’t need to close “because of the amount of time that passed between the individual being at the school and becoming symptomatic.”

“Maine CDC assures us that no individuals at Morse High School are considered to be at risk for exposure at this time,” Manuel wrote Monday. “We are committed to keeping our students and staff safe and appreciate the CDC’s guidance in this area.”

Manuel didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday as to when the student was last in school.

The school has maintained a part-time in-person plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Students are split into two groups attending school two days each week on alternating days. Students learn remotely the remaining three days.

With a total of just over 600 students, Morse High School is the only high school in RSU 1, which serves Bath, Phippsburg, Arrowsic and Woolwich. This is the district’s first reported case in the nine weeks since school started in early September. The district didn’t report any cases last spring.

Although this is RSU 1’s first reported COVID-19 case, the Morse High School boys soccer teams had a close encounter with a COVID-19 positive student from Medomak Valley High School late last month. Both the varsity and junior varsity teams played against the COVID-19-positive student, leading the teams to quarantine for 14 days.

Morse High School isn’t the first Midcoast school to have a student or staff member test positive.

In late September, someone at nearby Harriet Beecher Stowe School in Brunswick was presumed to have tested positive for COVID-19. A Mount Ararat High School staff member also tested positive for COVID-19 that month. While both schools remained open, Harpswell Coastal Academy closed temporarily in September after a faculty member tested positive for COVID-19.

Bath, with a population of about 11,000, has seen between 20 and 49 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, according to the Maine CDC.

Sagadahoc County holds a 0.5% positive test rate, the lowest in the state, the Maine CDC reported. Over the past 14 days, 1,948 people in Sagadahoc County have been tested with nine positive results. Since March, 105 people in Sagadahoc County have tested positive for COVID-19, 75 have recovered and none have died.

Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick is treating five patients for COVID-19 according to Judy Kelsh, Mid Coast­ Hospital spokeswoman. The hospital has treated 27 patients for COVID-19 since March.

Mid Coast Hospital has tested 1,135 patients for COVID-19 so far this month, with 24 positive results, according to Kelsh. Since the onset of the pandemic, Mid Coast Hospital has tested 7,488 patients for COVID-19, with 123 positive results.

Although local case numbers and positivity rates remain low, statewide cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The Maine CDC reported 172 new cases and four additional deaths on Tuesday. The seven-day average daily total of 165 cases is more than five times higher than one month ago and up from about 102 cases a week ago. The number of active cases is 1,804 and has tripled since this time last month, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Statewide, there have now been 8,060 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic reached Maine in March, and 156 Mainers have died from complications, as of Tuesday. It took fewer than three weeks for cases to go from 6,000 to 8,000.

Across the country, 9,913,553 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and 237,037 have died as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.

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