Update (Monday, Mar. 15, 2021):
There are now 20 cases associated with the outbreak announced last week at Queen’s University. According to the University’s COVID-19 Case Tracker, 10 cases are in residence and 10 are in the off-campus community.
Queen’s University is responding to a COVID-19 outbreak of approximately five students in the university community, which has impacted students living on and off campus. According to a release from Queen’s University, dated Thursday, Mar. 11, 2021, all students of immediate concern have been informed, are isolating, and following proper protocols.
“This is a very concerning development, and we are working closely with KFL&A Public Health to ensure the health and safety of our community is protected,” said Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Mark Green. “The University has strict protocols in place to cope with an outbreak in residence, and we are actively executing that plan to mitigate further spread and ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, and faculty.”
The residence was identified as Watts Hall and the affected students are residents of the same floor, according to the release. Queen’s said the residence has been locked down and all students on the affected floor have been moved to an isolation residence.
All students living in residences must follow a strict protocol which involves limited interaction with others, and masks and physical distancing when not in their rooms. The University said they have enhanced cleaning protocols in place and strict rules around dining and food safety.
KFL&A Public Health continues to investigate and conduct contact tracing. Testing of the students is being done on campus today and will also determine if the outbreak is associated with a variant of concern, according to the release. It is believed the initial case may be the result of recent travel outside of the KFL&A, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, and Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark regions.
“We are asking anyone who develops symptoms (even mild symptoms) to get tested and self-isolate while waiting for test results,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “With the increased transmission risk of COVID-19 variants of concern, it is more important than ever to stay local and to avoid travel or having guests from outside our region.”
The University said they are also aware of five additional cases within the Queen’s community today that are not considered part of the outbreak. Those students are also isolating and following public health protocols, and KFL&A Public Health is conducting contact tracing, according to the release.
KFL&A Public Health has advised all students to stay at home, and to avoid gatherings with others outside their own household. If people need to interact with others they are reminded to use face coverings, physical distance, and follow all current health guidelines.
The KHSC satellite COVID-19 assessment centre located on campus is now open. Located at Mitchell Hall, the centre offers COVID-19 testing to students from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Testing is available to Queen’s students who have travelled outside the region (i.e., beyond Hastings, Prince Edward, Leeds, Grenville, or Lanark counties), have had visitors from outside the region, have moved to the region in the last 14 days, or who require testing for contact tracing purposes, even if asymptomatic. To book an appointment, call Student Wellness Services at 613-533-2506. The COVID-19 assessment centre at the Beechgrove Complex at 51 Heakes Lane, Kingston, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only.
The University reports all of its COVID-19 cases on its COVID-19 case tracker. At time of publication there were five active cases of COVID-19 in Queen’s residences, and six additional cases within the Queen’s community residing outside of residence.