UVic students self-isolating after COVID-19 exposure at off-campus party

University of Victoria students who attended an off-campus house party over the weekend — despite a provincial health order restricting social gatherings — were exposed to COVID-19 and are isolating, school officials say.

No transmission of the virus on campus had been detected as of Wednesday, said Karen Johnston, associate director of public affairs for the university.

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A UVic student in residence, who asked not to be identified, contacted the Times Colonist to say he knows two people who attended a party on the weekend and tested positive as well as others who are self-isolating. His concern is that he and others hadn’t been made aware of this by either the university or Island Health.

“I was expecting the school, when something like this happened, to contact us, but I haven’t heard a single thing from the school,” he said Wednesday.“I haven’t gotten an email or call, or anything like that.”

A notice about the exposure was posted on the university’s website on Wednesday.

Johnston said the university is aware that some students living in residence were exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 at an off-campus location and that this is of “great concern not only to those affected but to the broader community.”

Island Health confirmed there is no evidence of on-campus transmission, Johnston said.

The students self-isolated after learning of their exposure on the weekend of Feb. 27-28 and are receiving guidance from Island Health and support from the university, she said. The students are all enrolled in online classes.

While the exposure took place in a private home, the incident serves as a “strong reminder to the entire UVic community” about the importance of adhering to orders and recommendations from the provincial health officer, Johnston said.

“Be assured that we are working closely with Island Health and the medical health officer under established notification protocols regarding exposures and any positive cases.”

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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