EDMONTON — An outbreak of COVID-19 in a University of Alberta student residence means there will be no varsity athletics on the campus for two weeks.
The university in Edmonton said Sunday that five members of the men's residence of St. Joseph's College have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. They, and 14 other residents of the building, are isolating.
The website for the residence says, along with spiritual direction and daily mass, it is also a leader of the university's intramural sports program.
Because some athletes live in the residence, the virus could have spread to four teams in three sports, Andrew Sharman, the university's vice president of facilities and operations, said Monday.
Sharman, who is also executive lead of the university's public health response team, said he could not elaborate on which teams and sports for privacy reasons.
All varsity athletics have been suspended as a precaution to ensure the health and wellness of athletes, coaches, instructors and anyone they may have come into contact with.
"Until we can confirm the contact tracing, we just don't want this to explode ahead of actually being able to pin it down," Sharman said.
"It may be that we've already caught it, but we'd rather be preventative."
One of the people that tested positive was asymptomatic, Sharman said, and no one is in hospital. The university is working with Alberta Health Services to determine whether it makes sense to bring testing to campus.
The school is providing no-contact meal delivery as well as health and counselling supports. Accommodations will be made so students don't miss out on their studies, Sharman said.
In order to stop the spread, the university has stepped up its cleaning, moved students into residences with dedicated bathrooms and ensured masks are worn.
The university said all of its other residences are safe and the risk of exposure is low. Other regularly planned campus activities including classes, labs and research can carry on as planned this week.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 21, 2020.
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
The Canadian Press