Despite a generally quiet St. Patrick’s Day, Queen’s University reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 within its student population on Friday.
At 36 new cases this week alone, this is the highest weekly number of new cases recorded so far at the University, 32 of which are students living off-campus. Previously, the highest case count was the week of December 7, 2020, when the school accounted for 27 new cases.
“Obviously it’s concerning,” Queen’s University’s Dr. David walker said. “The third wave was anticipated in most countries, and certainly most parts of most countries.”
“So it’s not like it’s a surprise,” he added.
“I am urging everyone to stay home as much as possible, stay local, do not gather with those outside of your household, screen for symptoms practice physical distancing, and wear your face covering to stay safe,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health said in a press release on Thursday, Mar. 18, 2021.
Dr. Walker echoed sentiments of his counterpart at KFL&A Public Health, Dr. Kieran Moore and said they’re ‘blitzing’ students on all forms of media including some he’s never heard of.
Currently, Queen’s cases comprise 19.6% of the total cases in the region with 61 total active cases at the school alone.
“It’s worrisome,” Dr. Walker said. “We worry about the health of our students and particularly the health of the community.”
Last week Queen’s University’s Watts Hall residence saw an outbreak of the virus, in which 10 cases were reported – those students were all placed under isolation according to local health guidelines. Since then cases have spread, and one cluster of cases involves a variant of concern, which has an increased transmission rate and therefore spreads more quickly among individuals
The university has asked asymptomatic students who have been in close contact with someone outside their household without wearing a face covering or physical distancing to get tested for COVID-19 during the next two weeks.
The KHSC satellite COVID-19 assessment centre located in Mitchell Hall, is regularly open to test students from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be running extended hours until 8:30 p.m., now through Friday, Mar. 19, 2021 inclusive. Appointments can be booked by calling Student Wellness Services at 613-533-2506. Evening appointments (4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) can also be booked online.
The COVID-19 assessment centre at the Beechgrove Complex at 51 Heakes Lane, Kingston, is also available. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only.