A student at Coastal Kids Preschool in Damariscotta has tested positive for COVID-19, but the school remains open and does not have an outbreak, according to school and state officials.
Coastal Kids Preschool Executive Director Lisa Conway said the student’s family, LincolnHealth, and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention all contacted the school Wednesday, Sept. 23. The student had exhibited mild symptoms Monday, Sept. 21, then tested positive.
Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long confirmed by email that Coastal Kids does not have an outbreak, which the agency defines as three or more linked cases.
“If our ongoing case investigations provide evidence that the situation meets the criteria to open an outbreak investigation, Maine CDC will do so,” Long said.
Five employees and 12 students were in the same toddler class as the student. All have tested negative, but are quarantining for two weeks as required by the Maine CDC.
Conway said no other students in the building were exposed to the infected student.
Conway said the students in the “Minnow” class are 3 years old or younger. Children under the age of 2 are not allowed to wear face masks, but children 2-3 years old are allowed to wear a mask with a parent request, according to Conway. She said employees at Coastal Kids wear face coverings.
She said that in the toddler class, it is harder to maintain physical distancing, but the school does so as much as possible. The school also sanitizes the playground after every use.
Conway said the school has all the same strict COVID-19 protocols in place as before.
“I’m feeling really good about the health and safety protocols we have in place,” she said by phone Friday, Sept. 25.
Coastal Kids Preschool has seven different classes with students from ages 1.5 to 7 and is at capacity this year, Conway said. The school is licensed to have 78 students.
The mother of the child who tested positive said a teacher at Coastal Kids noticed her child had a fever and notified the family Monday.
Per the preschool’s guidelines, the child was tested for COVID-19 so he could return to school without first isolating for 72 hours.
The student was tested Tuesday at the drive-thru facility on LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus and received results Wednesday, when LincolnHealth and the Maine CDC contacted the family.
The boy’s mother, who asked that they not be identified, said she has “no idea” where her son could have contracted the highly contagious coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.
She said the family has not traveled out of their town recently.
She said Dr. Andrew Russ, vice president of medical affairs at LincolnHealth, “provided as much guidance and support as we needed, and continues to.”
She thanked Coastal Kids, the doctors and nurses at LincolnHealth, and the community for their support.
LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins declined to comment, citing federal patient confidentiality laws.
The boy’s mother said he only had a low-grade fever for a few hours Monday and had no symptoms Friday, Sept. 25.
“He is very healthy and very happy,” she said.
The student’s household of three people is now under extended isolation, the mother said. Once the child has not had any symptoms for 10 days, they still have to quarantine for another two weeks, per the Maine CDC.
Long, from the Maine CDC, said by email that the CDC investigates every case of COVID-19 to “determine potential lines of transmission and exposure.”
“Individuals determined to be close contacts are required to quarantine for 14 days, offered social supports, and information on testing if their medical provider determines that testing is warranted,” Long wrote.
He said that, in general, contact tracing involves daily symptom checks and check-ins.