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Coronavirus: 14 VOCs, 6 other COVID-19 cases associated with Queen’s University

The health unit says 20 cases of COVID-19 are now linked to the university, 14 of which are variants of concern. Matt Head / Global Kingston

As of Monday, there are now 20 cases of COVID-19 at Queen’s University on and off campus, 14 of which are variants of concern connected to an outbreak at a residence.

The health unit said of the six outlying cases at the school, five are the first-known strain of COVID-19 and one is currently under investigation.

Read more: Coronavirus: 2 Kingston elementary students test positive for variants of concern

Moore said the outbreak in Queen’s University’s Watts Hall is more or less under control, but he expects to see more propagation off-campus due to the contagious nature of the variant.

I absolutely expect more cases in that student population,” he said.

In fact, the outbreak has already moved into other areas of the community, prompting the closure of St. John XXIII Catholic School after one of its students tested positive for a variant. A student at Winston Churchill Public School has also tested positive for a variant of concern.

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Moore said there is also a teacher who has tested positive at a school in Frontenac. The Limestone District School Board is reporting that one staff member at Land O’Lakes Public School has tested positive for the virus. Moore says the health unit is still investigating that case.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 outbreak at Queen’s University just prior to St. Patrick’s Day' COVID-19 outbreak at Queen’s University just prior to St. Patrick’s Day
COVID-19 outbreak at Queen’s University just prior to St. Patrick’s Day – Mar 11, 2021

In a video update made on Sunday, Moore said the outbreak at the school stemmed from a person who had recently travelled. He clarified Monday that person had travelled to the Greater Toronto Area.

It takes several weeks to determine what exact mutation has been detected, but Moore said the Queen’s students have most likely caught the B.1.1.7 strain.

We’re seeing an upward trend across Ontario with the case counts going up and you’re also seeing variants of concern. So probably the B.1.1.7 strain that’s causing most of that movement,” he said.

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The health unit is reporting 13 new cases in the region since Friday, with a total of 32 active cases.

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