Bates Experiences Uptick in COVID-19 Cases

In a campus-wide email sent by Josh McIntosh, Vice President for Campus Life, on Thursday morning, Bates confirmed that three students tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday. This is the greatest number of positive cases recorded by Bates in a single day this semester.

The three students who tested positive moved into isolation housing on Wednesday after receiving their positive results. Additionally, 20 close contacts of those who tested positive are quarantining for 14 days.

“Bates is always concerned about students testing positive,” Mary Pols, a spokeswoman for Bates, said. “Yesterday’s results were cause for concern, especially as these cases do not appear to be connected to each other, which could suggest that we may be reaching a broader community spread on campus.”

The new COVID-19 cases come with a rise in overall cases in the state of Maine, signaling the possibility of an outbreak on campus. On Friday, Maine recorded 103 new positives in one day, a record number of cases. Just last Tuesday, a rolling seven-day average of 61 new cases per day was reported, however this number is rising.

Pols said that Bates is “closely managing” campus operations while watching the spike in cases throughout the state of Maine. “[Wednesday’s] results were cause for concern,” she told The Student.

McIntosh concluded his email by reminding students to continue practicing public health standards such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and not attending large gatherings. He especially emphasized the importance of avoiding any sort of parties, especially crucial during Halloween weekend.

In preparation for this weekend, Pols told The Student that there will be one additional Campus Safety officer on duty Saturday night.

Despite the timing related to the additional COVID-19 cases, Senior Associate Dean of Students Carl Steidel confirmed that the staffing was already planned before the college knew about the positive cases.

“Halloween is typically a more active time for student social life and we normally have extra staff in case there are increased calls or concerns,” Steidel said. “I would ask all students to please be extra cautious this weekend in light of these new positive cases. We have made it this far through the diligence and help of all students. While I hope all students are able to have some fun this weekend, please be safe and smart as you do so.”