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Waterloo get-togethers lead to cluster of 23 COVID-19 cases, university outbreak

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Waterloo Public Health says a series of get-togethers held by students in early March has been connected to 23 COVID-19 cases as well as an outbreak at the University of Waterloo.

The agency says get-togethers were held between March 4 and 7 at three homes in the area.

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It says that another probable case is also connected to the events while an additional 19 people have also been identified as high-risk contacts.

One of the cases has also screened positive for a variant of concern.

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“Both the nature of the exposures and variant of concern have contributed to the high transmission rate within this cluster,” Waterloo Public Health wrote.

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The agency says the get-togethers took place inside the homes and the participants ignored proper COVID-19 protocols such as wearing face coverings or maintaining a proper level of social distancing.

Waterloo Public Health describes the group as a cluster and says people within it are connected to both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, including on-campus exposures.

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It says that on-campus transmission has occurred at the University of Waterloo and an outbreak has been declared there connected to two cases.

“Waterloo Region remains in a precarious position and we are not immune to rapid acceleration of cases seen in other communities across Ontario,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health.

“This cluster of cases illustrates that it is essential that all residents continue to limit their mobility, limit their close contacts, and avoid social gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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