KINGSTON, ONT. — Despite seeing numbers steadily increase over the past week, Kingston’s top doctor says he is not declaring an outbreak at Queen’s University just yet.
Fourteen cases linked to the university have been announced so far, many in the last week. Half of those are students living in residence, the university confirms.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health’s Dr. Kieran Moore said, while numbers are increasing, they don’t qualify as an outbreak.
“An outbreak would be a sudden increase, like what Western (University) experienced: 37 cases, 17 cases all secondary to an exposure, a house party, an event” he explained. “We’re seeing sporadic cases, some in residence, some off campus, not propagating.”
Moore said that many cases are linked to travel, and others are close contacts of those positive cases. He said there is no evidence of community spread.
“We are seeing person-to-person transmission, low-risk in small households, but not the propagation,” he explained. “If I see the propagation outside of what we’re expecting, that’s the true definition of an outbreak.”
While cases in residence are not connected to one another, according to Moore, he says he’s spoken with Queen’s officials and recommended tighter controls for those living on campus.
Those include not allowing students living in residence to visit other residence buildings, or even move between floors of their own. He says outside visitors should not be allowed, and that students keep their social bubbles below 10 people.
In a statement to CTV News, Queen’s University says it takes the health and safety of it’s students seriously.
“Today, Queen’s has been advised by KFL&A Public Health that a residence student has tested positive for COVID-19. The student is following appropriate protocols and is self-isolating.
“The University is working closely with KFL&A Public Health and contact tracing staff will connect with any close contacts they determine should be tested and or asked to self-isolate. Residence Facilities staff are continuing to clean shared spaces and high touch points frequently, in accordance with their COVID-19 cleaning protocols.”
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