BELFAST, Maine — A second case of COVID-19 has been detected at a Belfast elementary school and is the fourth positive case connected to Regional School Unit 71 in Waldo County in as many days.
It comes as Waldo County is grappling with a coronavirus outbreak from the Brooks Pentecostal Church and its affiliated school, Lighthouse Christian Academy. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention had linked at least 32 cases to the church on Monday.
The agency didn’t immediately confirm Monday if the new case reported at Captain Albert W. Stevens School in Belfast was related to the broader outbreak in Waldo County.
The school released students and staff early on Monday and will remain closed through Wednesday. Students and staff who are not required to quarantine could return as early as Thursday, according to RSU 71 Superintendent Mary Alice McLean.
Additionally, a positive case of coronavirus has been detected at Ames Elementary School in Searsmont, which has shifted to remote learning through Oct. 30. Another case has been detected at Troy A. Howard Middle School in Belfast, which will be closed through Tuesday for cleaning.
Across Waldo County at Regional School Unit 3, officials reported Monday that an individual associated with the Mount View Elementary School in Thorndike also tested positive for COVID-19 and could have exposed others.
A letter from the district superintendent said that Maine CDC or school officials will be reaching out to individuals who could’ve been exposed and they will be asked to quarantine.
Schools were taking different approaches to the cases based on guidance from the CDC and the agency’s definition of what constitutes close contact, McLean said.
“A person is a close contact if they have been within 6 feet of the infected individual for 15 minutes or longer,” she said. “Thus the handling of each case depends on the close contacts of the positive or presumed positive case. CDC recommends against a blanket approach that would exclude secondary contacts and swathes of buildings unrelated to a positive case.”
Waldo County has had a total of 124 cases since the pandemic began in March.
Statewide, Maine reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. There were no additional deaths.