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Maine schools, college campuses face increased spread of COVID-19

Bates College, Portland High School, and interstate youth hockey are combating an increase in coronavirus cases this week as the virus surges on in Maine.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MAINE, Maine — As the coronavirus spreads across Maine, it is also spreading across Maine schools and college campuses.

At Bates College, there were five new cases of COVID-19 this week. It brings the number of active student cases up to eight. As of Tuesday, 62 students were in quarantine. Sophomore Gabriel Coffey is one of them.

"I went into quarantine I think about a week ago today. I was notified, called in the morning I think 8 or 9 a.m., woke up to a call along with my roommate," Coffey said.

He is getting his meals delivered and being tested twice a week.

"It's inevitable if you have eight kids test positive," Coffey said.

The college has tested more than 37,000 students since August.

RELATED: Despite strict guidelines and testing, Bates College sees COVID spike as students begin to leave campus

Meanwhile, Portland High School has canceled in-person learning for Thursday and Friday, after a person associated with the school tested positive for the virus.

A spokesperson said the exposure was outside of school and there is no exposure within the school community. This is the third positive case at the school within 14 days.

RELATED: Portland High School moves to 100% remote learning after positive COVID-19 case

The spike in cases is straining InterMed's capacity to meet patients' needs for testing. It is only reserving tests for patients who have COVID-19 symptoms meaning a patient can't get a test if they are not showing symptoms.

The governors of the six New England states and New Jersey are suspending interstate youth hockey competition for public and private schools. It goes into effect on November 14 and will last until at least the end of the year.

RELATED: New England and New Jersey suspend interstate hockey competition for youth leagues and public, private schools

Maine has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, and seven additional deaths of people with COVID-19 have been reported in Maine just this week. According to data, the virus is spreading in Maine faster than any other state in the country. 

"This pattern of an increased number of cases day upon day is one that is obviously concerning to us," Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Thursday. "For me, it serves as a call to action for everyone who's watching today. Now more than ever, doing things like wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance are more important than they've ever been."

"The virus is here. It is all around us. And it is spreading with ferocity."

RELATED: Maine CDC: Outbreaks in western Maine serve as a reminder that 'the virus is everywhere'