Keene State College’s latest positive COVID-19 case is the school’s first symptomatic case.
As Keene State crosses the halfway point in the fall semester, the school has been able to limit the amount of COVID-19 cases to eight since opening in August. The eighth case was a student who was tested on October 1 at the college’s universal testing site in the Spaulding Gymnasium.
According to Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell, the student showed up to testing with COVID-19 symptoms and when that was revealed, they were escorted outside to be tested away from everyone in the gymnasium. President Treadwell added that the student received a rapid test from Convenient MD and tested positive, and was placed in isolation, awaiting the official test result from Quest Diagnostics which confirmed the result.
KSC’s Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations Kelly Ricaurte said that four individuals were quarantined in relation to the latest case. These individuals were in contact with the student within two days prior to the day the student was tested.
Ricaurte said that students, faculty and staff who feel symptoms should not go to universal testing on Thursdays and Fridays.
“Students who are not feeling well or have symptoms should stay home,” Ricaurte said. “Do not go to testing. Call the Wellness Center and they will give you instructions on what to do next.”
The Wellness Center will instruct students to first isolate themselves, and then they will be tested. If the test result is negative, then the person can return to normal activities once they’ve been without fever and off of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are improving.
Keene State’s Wellness Center staff can be reached at
Rapid Response Team Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Nursing Kirk Sanger said that faculty and employees who are feeling symptomatic should call their personal care provider, or the Rapid Response Team can be contacted through Campus Safety. Campus Safety can be reached at (603) 358-2228.
Sanger added that they do not want individuals with symptoms going to mass testing, so that if that individual were positive for COVID-19 there is less chance of contagion.
“We want to be as careful as we possibly can,” Sanger said.
President Treadwell said she continues to be impressed with the college’s low incident rate for COVID-19.
“Students are doing an exceptional job masking and distancing themselves,” Treadwell said. “Only two students have arrived on campus without wearing a mask this semester. Even if [positive] rates go up around us, we will be okay because of our mask usage and distancing.”
According to the Keene State COVID Dashboard, the college has an average positivity rate of just 0.05 percent. Since the beginning of the fall semester, the weekly rate has not exceeded 0.11 percent. According to wbur.org, the average positivity rate among New England Colleges is one in 1000, or about 0.1 percent.
Until the latest case, Keene State had seven positive cases, all of them asymptomatic. This means that those individuals had COVID-19 and could spread it, but they did not display any symptoms. This latest case ends Keene’s asymptomatic streak.
Sanger said that someone who is symptomatic could have many symptoms for COVID-19, or they could have as few as one.
“A symptom could just be a cough or trouble getting around,” Sanger said. “Or it could be a fever and shortness of breath.”
President Treadwell added that the college will be playing it safe with COVID-19 with flu season on the horizon. She said that individuals who have the flu will be placed in isolation until it is confirmed they do not have the virus.
“They could just have the flu, but we must assume they have COVID-19 to be safe,” Treadwell said. “Everyone is assumed to be potentially positive, and they will be placed in isolation until they get a clinically diagnosed result.”
According to Treadwell, that isolation period could be 12-18 hours if one receives a negative result, but it could be as long as 10 days if they test positive.
Ricaurte said that with flu season coming, symptoms with the flu may overlap with COVID-19, but the difference between the two will be easily determined with a test result. Ricaurte added that the college is urging students to get their flu shot so that symptoms are decreased this season and there are less sick individuals on campus. Keene State will be holding a flu shot clinic on October 15 and 16.
Hunter Oberst can be contacted at: