The BDN is making the most crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact in Maine free for all readers. Click here for all coronavirus stories. You can join others committed to safeguarding this vital public service by purchasing a subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.
A school-based summer lunch program that serves children in Milo, Lagrange and Brownville has been halted this week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
One food service worker was notified last Friday of a positive outcome to a coronavirus test, according to SAD 41 superintendent of schools Michael Wright.
The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted that employee and soon determined that one coworker also met the CDC’s at-risk criteria. That coworker was tested, and both that person and the employee who originally tested positive are self-quarantining for 14 days.
Wright alerted parents and guardians of children in the school district of the situation Sunday via voice message.
All other food-service employees involved in the program were contacted and voluntarily tested. Most of those workers already have gotten their results, Wright said.
“All tests received back thus far are negative,” he said. “The at-risk person is one of them.”
The summer meal program has been shut down for this week while school officials await the remaining test results.
“We will revisit it when we hear back from all the tests,” Wright said. “If all goes well we will have the lunch program back and running next week.”
The SAD 41 summer lunch program has been providing meals for area children on Wednesdays since early June.
Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah addressed the Milo situation during a news conference Monday.
“Based on what we know about the scientific transmission of COVID-19, the likelihood of transmitting it through food is very, very low,” Shah said. “Certainly if there were any individuals who were in close proximity with the individual — say in the back of the house in the kitchen — that’s who we would want to focus our efforts on in terms of testing.
“But the exposure to any particular child or parent by something like a common object or food is very, very low.”