Ottawa

Queen's University COVID-19 outbreak spreads into community

Queen's University urges students who have been in contact with anyone outside their household to get a COVID-19 test, even if they have no symptoms, after two outbreaks, including one that's spread into the Kingston, Ont., community.

14 variants of concern related to residence outbreak, including 4 in community

There are 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases involving Queen's University students in two separate outbreaks, including one that has spread to the larger Kingston, Ont., community. (Frédéric Pepin/CBC)

Queen's University is urging students who have been in contact with anyone outside their household to get a COVID-19 test, even if they have no symptoms, after two outbreaks, including one that's spread into the Kingston, Ont., community.

One outbreak involves 10 students in residence, while the other involves eight students living off-campus, the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington Public (KFL&A) Health Unit confirmed to CBC.

Four cases in the community are linked to the residence outbreak, including one student each at Winston Churchill Public School in the Limestone District School Board, and St. John XXIII Catholic School in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, the health unit said.

It said those two cases are linked to a swimming lesson.

"Due to the increased transmissibility of the variant of concern, the university, in co-operation with KFL&A Public Health, is strongly encouraging students who have been in close contact with someone outside their household without wearing a face covering or physical distancing to get tested during the next two weeks, even if they are not experiencing symptoms," the university said in a release Monday.

Variants of concern on the rise

On Monday, the health unit reported 12 new cases of the illness and 18 confirmed cases involving variants of concern. 

Last week, the university said, Watts Hall residence had been locked down and all infected students  — who lived on the same floor — were moved to an isolation residence.

All the cases in the residence and the four in the community involve a variant of concern, the health unit said. The variant of concern the cases are linked to has not been determined.

All the cases involving variants of concern are linked to travel within Ontario and not internationally, the health unit said.

Anyone who has travelled or had visitors from outside Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington, Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark, or Prince Edward County are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

The health unit also said people should avoid gathering with anyone outside their household, and to wear a mask and physically distance if they are.

A COVID-19 satellite assessment centre is set up at Mitchell Hall on the university campus and is open with extended hours Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.

The main assessment centre in Kingston is open for appointments at the Beechgrove Complex seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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