Update to COVID-19 cases associated with University of Victoria

Island Health and the University of Victoria are providing an update on the cluster of cases associated with people who attended off-campus events.

Lab sequencing has confirmed that at least four of the cases associated with this cluster are the Omicron variant of concern. Sequencing continues on additional positive test results and confirmation of additional Omicron cases is expected.

As of December 13, there are a total of 124 cases associated with this cluster.

It is important to note that these cases are occurring within a highly vaccinated population, and as such, we are seeing mild illness and are not aware of any hospitalizations associated with this cluster at this time. It is also important to emphasize that initial epidemiological data confirms that transmission is occurring in indoor household or social settings where few, if any COVID-19 controls are in place.

There is no evidence of transmission in on-campus classrooms or workplaces due to the many control measures that exist on campus.

Island Health continues to support the University of Victoria to protect the health and safety of all involved.

Island Health’s Medical Health Officer is confident that the current mitigation measures in place, including the university’s decision to cease offering in-person exams and limit other events, are appropriate and sufficient for the exam period and will support the university to plan for returning to normal operations in January.

Island Health is also working with the university to distribute rapid testing kits as a tool to support management of this cluster. The rapid testing kits will be available to access through the university for individuals deemed by Public Health as close contacts to confirmed cases.

The kits are expected to be available in the coming days. Until the rapid testing kits are available, or for individuals who require testing but have not been previously identified as a close contact, appointments for testing can be booked through Island Health’s call centre at 1-844-901-8442.

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 B.C. 

For further information on COVID-19, visit islandhealth.ca/COVID19.

For further information specific to on-campus events, exams and programs, visit https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2021+notice-fall-2021-exam-period+notice.