Colby College has put up some students who returned from a recent trip to China at a Waterville hotel, isolating the students as a precautionary measure against coronavirus even though none has shown symptoms, according to the college and Waterville police.
State public health officials said the students pose no added public health risk, and they never required that Colby isolate the students, said Robert Long, a spokesman for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection in Maine, and the risk of contracting the infection is low, Long said. No one in Maine has been tested for the novel coronavirus because no one in the state has met the criteria to be tested, he said.
“None of the individuals in isolation have any symptoms of the virus, and they are being monitored per CDC guidelines,” a statement from the college said. “They were isolated based on public health guidance for those returning from mainland China and out of an abundance of caution for the safety and wellbeing of the Colby and local communities.”
Maine CDC is aware of the students being housed in the hotel, Long said.
“We have assessed the situation and determined that the students pose no added public health risk,” he said. “Maine CDC did not mandate this decision and was not consulted before the alternative housing was provided.”
However, the public health agency has been in touch with the college to provide guidance and answer questions since learning of the situation.
The Waterville police and fire departments are working with Colby to keep an eye on the situation, according to a statement from police Chief Joseph Massey.
The death toll from the respiratory illness that originated in Wuhan, China, is at least 636, and the total number of confirmed cases is 31,161, The New York Times reported Friday. The World Health Organization has declared the illness a global health emergency.