MAINE, USA — Two students at the University of Maine have been released from Maine CDC isolation and, according to the University of Maine System, there are now no known active cases within the system.
14,712 tests done in the system's asymptomatic screening program have yielded 13 positive results thus far. However, all of those cases are no longer active.
The schools within the UMaine System are:
- University of Maine (Orono)
- University of Maine at Augusta
- University of Maine Farmington
- University of Maine at Fort Kent
- University of Maine at Machias
- University of Maine at Presque Isle
- University of Southern Maine
- Maine Law
Despite the low number of active cases, the System said Monday in response to epidemiological concerns in York County, UMS is amplifying steps to identify and limit the spread of COVID-19.
The temporary steps will include additional asymptomatic screening focused on select University facilities, enhanced outreach, support, and safety measures, and messaging for students and employees throughout Southern Maine. The University will also be emphasizing the use of communication and support protocols established to assist community members impacted by the pandemic.
According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the York County positivity rate is approximately four times the state average and new cases-per-capita significantly exceed other regions of the state.
The University of Southern Maine with campuses in Gorham and Portland, the University of Maine at Augusta with a center in Saco, the University of Maine with a Cooperative Extension office in Springvale, and the University of Maine School of Law in Portland are all contributing to the amplified effort.
“Throughout the pandemic Maine’s public universities have put the interests and safety of our students and community members first,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “We will be conducting additional screening at our facilities and stepping up our support and safety efforts for students and employees to help public health officials and Southern Maine communities limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The University System’s amplified containment and support efforts including the following:
Amplified Screening — Testing Approximately 700 Students and Employees: The University of Maine System will coordinate amplified asymptomatic screening of community members utilizing three university facilities or campuses in Southern Maine over the next several days as follows:
- University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine School of Law: Round one random sampling of more than 400 individuals selected at random for screening from the USM and Maine Law communities begins Monday, September 14. Amplified screening is scheduled for Monday, September 21, and will include all residential hall students at USM’s Gorham campus.
- At Maine Law: Amplified testing for staff, faculty, and students with residences in York County who come to the Maine Law building will begin this week;
- University of Maine at Augusta Center in Saco: Will conduct asymptomatic tests for several individuals who frequently visit the University Center in Saco; and,
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office in Springvale: Several individuals working through the cooperative extension office in Springvale will be tested.
Students and employees from York County are also being encouraged to access testing provided by state-sponsored sites if they believe they may have COVID-19 or could have been exposed to the virus.
Enhanced Safety Measures and Messaging: Southern Maine facilities and campuses are coordinating efforts to ensure existing safe return plans and practices are followed and safety supplies such as hand sanitizer stations are properly stocked. Members of the facilities teams will be conducting site inspections to ensure that furniture placement and other measures taken at the start of the semester are still in place.
At the University of Southern Maine, there will be a communication campaign that re-emphasizes the importance of face coverings, physical distancing, encouraging a flu shot, the merits of the Healthy Husky Promise, and the value of the #campusclear symptom-checker app.
Outreach and Support for Students and Employees: Academic leaders, student life, and faculty are being urged to consider the potential impact heightened epidemiological concerns in York County may have on students and provide accommodations and support as needed.
UMS implemented a three-phased asymptomatic screening and public health monitoring strategy made possible through a partnership with Jackson Laboratory and CovenientMD. Phase one arrival screening is currently underway.