Update (Friday, Apr. 9, 2021):
As of the morning of Friday, Apr. 9, 2021, three cases have been added to the Queen’s University COVID-19 dashboard. That brings the total number of new cases on campus this week to 36, and 249 cases on campus since the pandemic began.
So far this week Queen’s University has seen 33 new cases of COVID-19 identified in their community. This is the second largest single week increase the campus community has seen since the beginning of this pandemic.
There have been no cases among students in residence since the week of Mar. 22-28, 2021, and 46 cases have been identified off campus since March 29, 2021. Despite the university taking stronger measures in mid-March, closing and restricting campus services well before the provincial lockdown, their case numbers continue to rise.
Queen’s cases comprise nearly a quarter of the total cases in KFL&A since the pandemic began in March of 2020. That’s 246 cases in a total of 1005 cases regionally. Dr. Moore spoke to the prevalence of the variants of concern during a press briefing on Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021. Sixty per cent of COVID-19 cases in our region involve variants of concern (VOCs), he disclosed.
“Younger Ontarians are ending up in hospital, our ICUs have never been fuller – we have 500 individuals in intensive care settings across Ontario, and 310 of them are currently being ventilated – So it’s threatening our healthcare system,” Dr. Moore said.
Kingston Health Science Centre is reporting 16 cases of COVID-19 being treated in hospital locally, one of which is from the KFL&A region.
Principal Patrick Deane released a statement to the Queen’s community on Mar. 24, 2021, stating that the university is encouraging asymptomatic testing for students on and off campus, and said that hundreds of students have voluntarily visited clinics for testing.
“At the same time the university is redoubling efforts to reach students in the Kingston community with a social media advertising campaign that features messages focused on the heightened transmissibility of the variants of concern and the need to limit close contacts to those in their household,” Deane said.
On Thursday, Apr 8, 2021, after large gatherings of students were seen along the waterfront in Breakwater Park, and an announcement from KFL&A Public Health declared an outbreak in Kingston’s University District, Principal Dean released another statement, reminding students that our local health care facilities are facing a critical situation.
“We must do everything we can to keep ourselves and others safe, and by that means alleviate the strain on our hospitals. I am asking you, as members of our community, to please follow all public health advisories and to take this situation extremely seriously,” he urged students.
“Although the weather is becoming more pleasant and planning is underway for a largely in-person university experience in September, we must conduct ourselves right now in a manner that recognizes the current pandemic situation is very serious indeed,” he said. “Vaccines are being distributed but are not yet widely available. Infections are at an all-time high and the virus is spreading quickly through our student population.”
He concluded the statement by asking students to stay home, not to travel unless it is essential, and to not gather with others beyond their household. “It is imperative that we listen to what our health professionals are telling us and that we follow their directions explicitly,” he said.