On Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at approximately 5:20 p.m., Queen’s University confirmed that there are suspected cases of COVID-19 involving the Omicron variant among those cases reported from campus.
The same day, students from the University submitted a letter to the editor alleging COVID-19 cases involving the variant of concern (VOC) were present on campus – those students are pressuring Queen’s to halt in-person exams for the current fall term.
“KFL&A Public Health has indicated there are suspected cases involving the Omicron variant among the current cases reported at Queen’s, though at this time confirmation of the Variant of Concern is pending,” the University said in a statement.
“The university is continuing to work closely with KFL&A Public Health on measures to address the Queen’s situation as part of an overall rise in COVID-19 cases in the region.”
According to KFL&A Public Health, 32 positive COVID-19 cases from the KFL&A region were sent to a laboratory for genome sequencing to detect the Omicron variant on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. A further 150 positive tests were sent to a lab for the same genome sequencing today, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. It will take approximately one week for the results of the tests to be returned.
The first case of the Omicron variant – which is shown to be far more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus and subsequent variants and VOCs since – was detected in KFL&A on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.
According to the Queen’s University Active COVID-19 Case Tracker, 35 cases of the virus have been reported at Queen’s for the week beginning on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. An outbreak was declared within the University’s varsity sports community earlier this week, which currently has 11 active cases, and five residence buildings at Queen’s are currently experiencing outbreaks, as well.