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McMaster student tests ‘negative’ for coronavirus, says university

McMaster University

Officials at McMaster University say a student suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus during a recent trip to Italy has tested negative, according to a release.

The student — who was being tested for COVID-19 following a trip to Europe — notified the university on Monday that the test showed they do not have the virus.

“It is such good news for our student,” Roger Couldrey, vice-president of administration, said in a statement on Monday.

“But the virus continues to be a worldwide concern and the crisis team will continue to meet to ensure that McMaster is prepared and shares information and resources with our community.”

As a precaution, the university completed cleaning the first level of the Burke Science Building on the weekend in preparation for the return of students on Monday.

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READ MORE: 4 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario bring Canada’s total to 24

Couldrey says they undertook the extra cleaning efforts on the first floor of the building out of an “abundance of caution”.

“We believe this is what our students, their parents and our employees would want us to do,” he said.

The university says the undergraduate student, who lives outside Hamilton, sought medical attention after experiencing flu-like symptoms after returning from Europe during February reading week.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Canada: Here’s a timeline of cases across provinces

According to a release on McMaster’s website, the student was on campus Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Burke Science Building, located in the heart of the university.

Since news of the student’s possible infection, officials from McMaster have started a campaign urging students and staff to protect themselves and the school from viruses, including COVID-19, through handwashing.

“New handwashing posters have been placed in McMaster washrooms with reminders to wash your hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and sneeze into your elbow. If you feel ill you should remain at home, ” said the university.

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Four new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in Ontario on Sunday.

Each patient — now in self-isolation — was diagnosed at hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada .