Child tests positive for COVID-19 at children’s center

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Parents were asked to pick up their children in the Ladybug room at Harbor House Children’s Center on Friday after a child tested positive for COVID-19.

Children in the Ladybug room are between 18 months to 2 1/2 years old and don’t wear masks, according to Ingrid Kashmar, director of Harbor House Community Service Center. That classroom will remain closed through this week and will be closed next week, along with the rest of the center as regularly scheduled, to prepare for the start of the school year.

Staff and children 2 1/2 years old and older at the center began wearing masks when the state Center for Disease Control began rating counties at the end of July. Even though Hancock County has yet to make the masks mandated list, the center took the step as a precautionary measure, according to Kashmar.

“We just decided we’re going to be masking when we’re indoors and really, it’s to protect these kids,” she explained. “The kids know when they go outside they don’t have to wear them.”

The child who tested positive was exhibiting cold-like symptoms, she explained, with a runny nose and cough. According to the children’s center staff, the child has no siblings. All other children in the Ladybug room were tested for COVID and those results have all come back negative.

“The CDC was the first call we made and they guided us through what we needed to do,” Kashmar said in a conversation with the Islander on Monday.

After closing when the pandemic began last March, Harbor House was one of few places on Mount Desert Island that reopened as soon as they could, with protocol in place, to serve working families.

“I’m pretty proud we’ve gone 15 to 16 months without any cases,” said Kashmar.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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