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Maine CDC investigating outbreak at Husson University

Halloween party is possible vector for spread
Husson outbreak
Husson outbreak(WABI)
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 5:54 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Husson University has announced to students and faculty in an email this evening that a majority of classes will be moved online for the coming week of November 16th through 20th.

The Maine CDC is investigating a coronavirus outbreak at Husson University in Bangor linked to an off campus Halloween party.

Dr. Nirav Shah said during the CDC briefing on November 13th there are 15 cases in that outbreak.

According to a statement from the school, seven students have tested positive since Thursday.

University officials say all but one of those seven were already in quarantine.

That’s because they attended a Halloween gathering off campus where a student had COVID-19.

None of the students live on campus.

Dr. Shah says increased community transmission is heightening the risk of small gatherings, like that party.

Those get-togethers in turn lead to more community transmission.

The full statement from the University is below.

Statement from Husson University - 11/13/20

Since the semester began on August 28, 2020, Husson University has had a total of 14 students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those 14 cases, seven of those students tested positive since yesterday.

It’s important to note that all but one of these seven students were already in quarantine. They were quarantined because they attended an off-campus Halloween gathering where a student was present who tested positive, and where the individuals in attendance were not wearing masks. This represents half of the total number of students who have tested positive since the fall semester began.

Once quarantined, the University decided to take extra precautions by providing testing to all of the students who attended this off-campus gathering two weekends ago. Six of the students at the Halloween gathering have tested positive. None of these six students who live off-campus has been back to Husson’s campus, since they were placed in quarantine over a week ago.

All students who have tested positive during the fall semester live off campus. No students who have tested positive reside in campus housing.

Part of the reason why the campus remains safe is because many of our students who live off campus take a combination of online and on-campus courses. Students who live off campus often only attend classes on campus once or twice a week. In addition, the campus has doubled our testing protocols since the beginning of November, tests athletes every week, and installed touchless doors and faucets over the summer.

Today’s report from the Maine CDC represents the total number of cases determined to have epidemiological links, including students and others with whom they had contact. Husson University continues to work closely with the Maine CDC on this epidemiological investigation and to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. We maintain seating charts for our classroom to assistant in the contact tracing process should it be necessary.

Our students have worked hard to help prevent COVID-19 on campus by wearing masks both indoors and outdoors on campus, maintaining physical distancing and using disinfecting wipes in classrooms. We are proud to report a 99.9% compliance rate this semester among our students for showing up to their assigned COVID-19 testing appointments.

All students at Husson University have signed a COVID-19 Pledge and as a result are held accountable for their actions. Disciplinary consequences for violations of our campus code of conduct and the Husson COVID-19 Pledge range from educational sanctions to possible suspension, depending on the circumstances in each individual case.

Husson University is fully committed to protecting the health of our students. We maintain an online dashboard that is updated daily that shows both active and fully recovered student and employee cases.

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