COVID-19 outbreak declared at men's residence on University of Alberta campus

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a men's residence on the University of Alberta campus, forcing nearly 20 people into isolation.

More than 20 people now in isolation

St. Joseph’s College, located on the University of Alberta's main campus, is contending with a COVID-19 outbreak, the university said Sunday. (University of Alberta)

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a men's residence on the University of Alberta campus, making the Edmonton university the first in the province to contend with an outbreak.

The outbreak is based at St. Joseph's College, located on the U of A's main campus in Edmonton. 

Alberta Health Services notified the post-secondary institution on Sunday that five people "connected to the campus community" tested positive for COVID-19, the university said in a statement.

Three members of St. Joseph's College Men's Residence had already been proactively self-isolating, meaning all 22 residents are now in isolation. 

More than a dozen other residents will be in quarantine for two weeks.

Since the infected individuals are involved with on-campus athletics, all varsity programs have been suspended for 14 days.

"As a precaution, the remaining 14 residents of the men's residence will be self-isolating for the next 14 days," reads the statement. 

"The other residences at the U of A are considered safe, and the risk of exposure is low." 

University officials said they are working closely with Alberta Health Services. Areas of the campus are being sanitized and the school's pandemic protocols have been enacted.

Any individuals who may have been exposed will be contacted directly by AHS or the university's Public Health Response Triage Team. 

"AHS has advised us that other regularly planned campus activities can carry forward," reads the statement.

"This means that classes, labs, and research previously scheduled will carry on as planned this week." 

St. Joseph's College is a Catholic, undergraduate, liberal arts college on the University of Alberta campus. The program is affiliated with the Archdiocese of Edmonton and its courses, housing facilities and ministry services are open to all U of A students.