UVic COVID-19 cluster includes "at least four" cases of Omicron variant

Dec 14 2021, 3:46 am

Island Health has confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases at UVIC, which has at least four cases of the Omicron variant of concern associated with it.

UVic officials initially released a statement suggesting that in-person exams were being moved online in response to “rising COVID-19 numbers.” Island Health says there was a cluster of 124 COVID-19 cases as of December 13.

Island Health adds the cases are among a “highly vaccinated population,” meaning they’re seeing mostly mild illness and the health authority is not aware of any hospitalizations.

According to UVic, the four known cases of Omicron are associated with people who “attended off-campus events.”

Island Health’s initial epidemiological data confirms that transmission is occurring in indoor household or social settings, “where few, if any COVID-19 controls are in place.”

The health authority adds that there’s no evidence of transmission in on-campus classrooms or workplaces thanks to the many control measures that are in place on campus.

“Island Health’s Medical Health Officer is confident current mitigation measures in place are appropriate and sufficient for the exam period and will support us to plan for a return to normal operations in January,” said UVic in a statement.

Island Health is supporting UVic to “protect the health and safety of all involved.”

One step in that process will be distributing rapid test kits as a tool to support the management of the 124 case cluster. Test kits will be made available to individuals who may have been close contacts to confirmed cases. The kits will be available in the coming days.

“These recent events serve as a reminder to us all to take extra care this holiday season. Indoor social settings where there are few or no COVID-19 controls in place can lead to transmission of COVID-19 even among vaccinated people. It also demonstrates why the university has introduced all the prevention measures recommended by public health for post-secondary institutions in BC,” reads a statement from Island Health.

BC health officials will be providing updated modelling on COVID-19 on Tuesday, December 14 which could provide some new insights into the Omicron variant.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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