WLU outbreak linked to study groups grows to 19 cases
KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 outbreak at Wilfrid Laurier University has grown to 19 students.
Officials said the cases are linked to study groups, as the number grew by three on the Region of Waterloo's Saturday dashboard update.
Students are doing what they can to stay safe.
"Just try to isolate yourself and don't go out with others outside your bubble," student Stephanie Nesbitt said.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said the number of cases may increase.
"We are in the process of investigating," she said.
It all started with study groups.
"This was a group of students trying to get ahead and got together in an off-campus environment and unfortunately this is where they caught the virus," VP of Student Affairs Ivan Joseph said.
Two floors at Clara Conrad residence were put into isolation earlier this week. A third floor was added on Thursday.
There are also cases at Waterloo College Hall, 260 Regina and a building off campus. Officials said new cases are part of a secondary link.
"They are cases that have come about as a result of spread from those original cases," Dr. Wang said.
Classes are online, but students live both on- and off-campus and some have been away for Reading Week. Officials said there is additional messaging sent out for students returning to the area.
They're also being asked to study in virtual groups.
"Reminding folks of these stringent protocols to keep everybody healthy and safe, as well as reminding people to adhere to these practices," Joseph said.
The outbreak has also raised questions from some students who want to see a testing site on-campus.
One opened earlier this month at the University of Waterloo. It's only available to students and staff.
Joseph said there is currently no plan to have a testing site because "there are a number of existing testing sites available to students within close proximity to campus."
Public health officials said they can't direct WLU to get a site, but would support the school with connecting with the region's testing partners.
There are other cases at the school not related to the outbreak. WLU's COVID-19 tracker shows a total of 24 cases at the school.