COVID-19 outbreak declared at Wilfrid Laurier University residence
KITCHENER -- Public health officials have declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Wilfrid Laurier University residence after at least three cases were identified in one building.
According to a news release, the outbreak was declared on two floors of the Clara Conrad Hall residence building after at least three cases were reported there over the weekend.
But the Region of Waterloo's online COVID-19 dashboard shows seven cases attributed to the outbreak. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said during a media briefing on Tuesday that these seven cases were linked to study groups, and said that four of the cases live in the residence. The other three cases live off-campus.
Laurier's website shows 15 cases of COVID-19 to date, with the most recent being reported on Oct. 11.
The school's news release said that some individuals are being isolated in a specialized quarantine residence building that was established in case of outbreak. All residents on the two floors of the residence building will need to isolate for the next two weeks, the school said.
"We know this is a time of concern for students and their families and we want to remind them of the supports that are available through our Student Wellness Centres," said vice-president of Student Affairs Ivan Joseph.
"The majority of our students are following health and safety protocols including wearing masks, physically distancing and avoiding gatherings. COVID fatigue is wearing on all of us, but we all have a role to play in keeping our community safe and we must remain vigilant."
The outbreak comes days after London's public health unit declared an outbreak at Western University over the weekend. That outbreak was declared as a result of four cases of COVID-19 identified in one residence building there.
One resident in that building said there were parties every night in the residence, and that she wasn't surprised to hear an outbreak had been declared. It's not yet clear how the cases at Wilfrid Laurier University are linked.
"I am not ready at this time to think about shutting down residence halls," Joseph said. "I think we would limit the academic progress and the ability for many students to complete their degree."
Another student who tested positive lives at Waterloo College Hall. At least two of the seven cases are in students who live in off-campus housing run by Ezra Bricker Apartments.
"They've been compliant and cooperative," Joseph said. "Not only do they want to keep their peers safe, but also the people of Waterloo Region as well."
Public health is encouraging students to study in virtual groups, rather than in person.
With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Leighanne Evans