53 individuals are in quarantine as a result of five positive COVID-19 cases at Keene State College.
These latest five individuals were tested between October 14 and October 20. Three of the positive individuals were student-athletes, two of whom were members of the Cross Country team, and the other individual is a member of Keene State men’s soccer team. According to KSC’s Director of Strategic Communications and Community Kelly Ricaurte, four of the five individuals who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic and one individual, a student, was symptomatic.
Ricaurte added that, as a result of these new cases, 53 individuals were placed into quarantine as possible contacts of the individuals who tested positive. 49 individuals were quarantined as a result of the three positive test results from student athletes. Ricaurte said the nature of athletics led to more quarantines because athletes tend to be in close proximity with one another and they come into contact with more individuals than the average student. Four individuals were placed in quarantine because of the two students who tested positive.
KSC’s Rapid Response Team Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Nursing Kirk Sanger said that because of the large number of individuals who needed to be placed in quarantine, the Rapid Response Team had to activate eight members to work as opposed to the usual three. Sanger said the team worked from noon until 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, when the three athletes tested positive for COVID-19.
“It was about a nine-and-a-half hour process, but we were able to get things moving quickly,” Sanger said. “A majority were sent home, and the others were kept on campus.”
Ricaurte said Keene State College offers 30 beds dedicated to quarantines, and there continue to be available beds because many students chose to quarantine in their off-campus residence or their permanent home.
Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell said the number of quarantine and isolation beds being used on campus is well below the maximum capacity.
“We are well below capacity and can swell if need be with supplemental flex spaces we identified to support some limited additional needs,” Treadwell said. “So we remain at ‘green status.’”
According to the college’s cumulative COVID dashboard on keene.edu, between October 14 and October 20, an average of 1.7 isolation beds were used and an average of 10.6. The college’s positivity rate for that period was five individuals who were positive out of a total 3,219 who were tested or about 0.16 percent. The college’s average positivity rate for the whole semester sits at 0.06 percent.
Out of those that were tested for COVID-19, 672 were administered flu shots between the two clinics at Spaulding Gym.
Ricaurte said that all individuals in isolation will be released on October 26, and those in quarantine will be released on October 29.
Ricaurte added that with more cases popping up around the state and surrounding areas, the college is asking students to stay local and not host people from outside of Keene for Halloween.
“We are asking students to stay in Keene and increase vigilance,” Ricaurte said. “For the safety of the college community and Keene as a whole.”
Sanger said everyone should wear masks all the time when around other people.
“Wear a mask and distance yourselves as much as you can,” Sanger said. “I know it’s not always realistic, but just try to wear a mask even in your house when other people are present. You don’t know where they’ve been.”
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