ELLSWORTH — Ellsworth High School canceled all practices and postponed all athletic events scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Wednesday, Oct. 21, after a positive COVID-19 test was confirmed in the school district.
In a letter distributed Tuesday evening, Ellsworth School Department Superintendent Dan Higgins informed parents and faculty members that an individual associated with Ellsworth High School and Hancock County Technical Center had tested positive for the disease. In response, the school district will go fully for a day before resuming with hybrid classes Thursday, Oct. 22.
“The individual who tested positive will remain in isolation and quarantine consistent with CDC guidelines,” Higgins wrote in the letter. “Out of an abundance of caution, we postponed all co- and extracurricular activities at EHS today.”
The announcement means the postponements of Tuesday’s seven-on-seven football opener against Mount Desert Island and girls’ soccer and volleyball contests against Bucksport. Wednesday’s postponements include junior varsity soccer games against Bucksport (boys) and George Stevens Academy (girls) as well as volleyball against GSA. The school district will reassess the situation tomorrow before resuming the season.
Ellsworth’s postponements come a day after COVID-19 brought games to a halt in neighboring Waldo County, where all events are postponed through at least Monday, Oct. 26. Administrators from Waldo County’s three high schools, Searsport, Belfast and Mount View, made that announcement Monday following a rapid increase in positive tests over the previous week.
As of Tuesday, Waldo County’s COVID-19 case count had gone from 85 to 127 in just five days, according to data from the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The county reported at least 10 new cases on three separate days last week. Hancock County, which stands at 59 cases, reported three new cases Tuesday.
The one-week hiatus means contests between Hancock County and Waldo County teams must be canceled or postponed until administrators in the latter deem it appropriate to resume interscholastic sports. Bucksport and MDI had soccer games scheduled against Searsport this week, and the Deer Isle-Stonington boys and girls have games against the Vikings scheduled for next Tuesday, Oct. 27.
The announcement also precluded Searsport from participating in Monday’s cross-country meet in Bucksport. The Vikings have competed against Hancock County cross-country teams throughout the season.
“Out of an abundance of caution with the dramatic increase in positive cases in Waldo County, Searsport District Middle/High School will not participate in athletic contests this week,” Searsport Athletic Director Chris Hart said in a statement. “There will still be practices held during this time. [Our county’s school districts] are unified in this temporary break in the athletic season and will reassess at the end of the week.”
The Ellsworth American will provide updates on canceled or rescheduled competitions once that information has been made available.