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Colby College reportedly sends students to local hotel as precaution against coronavirus

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there are no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Maine, nor are there any suspected cases.

MAINE, USA — Colby College has reportedly rented out a number of rooms at a local hotel and moved a number of students there reportedly as a precaution against the coronavirus, a source told NEWS CENTER Maine on Thursday.

In an email sent out to Colby students on Saturday, Dean Karlene A.P. Burrell-McRae wrote, "any member of our community who was in China in January is required to stay in isolation until the 14-day incubation period has concluded. Students will be provided with accommodations, meals, and support."

"Colby College is not aware of any cases of the Coronavirus in the Colby community or anywhere in Maine," the college said in a statement Thursday.

"None of the individuals in isolation have any symptoms of the virus, and they are being monitored per CDC guidelines. 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."

"Colby is offering a high level of support for anyone who is impacted, including allowing students to continue their coursework without interruption."

Maine Center for Disease Control said it  "did not mandate this decision and was not consulted before the alternative housing was provided." Since then, the Maine CDC has been in contact with Colby College officials to answer questions and provide guidance.

In addition, no one in Maine had been identified by the U.S. Center for Disease Control as a "person under investigation."

According to the U.S. CDC, as of midday Thursday, 12 people in seven states have been confirmed to have the coronavirus.


NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to both Bowdoin College, Bates College and Thomas College to find out whether the schools have students who come from China or have recently visited there, as well as if the schools have any other coronavirus precautions in place.

Bowdoin representatives replied with the following statement:

Bowdoin is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and other locations around the world. There are no reported cases of coronavirus on campus, nor do we know of any Bowdoin students, faculty, or staff who are currently in China.

We have reached out across the campus community with guidelines and best practices toward identifying and preventing transmission of influenza-like illness (ILI), as recommended by the CDC.

Bates also replied:

There are no Bates programs or Bates students studying in China this semester, nor are there any members of our campus community under treatment or in isolation. Medical staff at Bates Health Services will continue to monitor the overall situation and follow all available clinical guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maine Department of Health.

Thomas said:

Our Director of Health Services is working with national and local authorities to monitor the situation and get the latest updates and recommendations on handling any issues. We will be proceeding with the best interest of our students, faculty, staff, and greater Waterville community in mind.

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