University says students attended PDAC conference but risk remains low

A Sudbury man who attended later tested positive for the coronavirus

Risk to campus remains low.
Journal File Photo

Queen’s students who attended a geology conference in Toronto over the weekend where an attendee later tested positive for the coronavirus have a low risk of contracting COVID-19, the University said Wednesday afternoon.

David Walker, Queen’s COVID-19 response lead, told The Journal one person who felt unwell at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference returned home to Sudbury and tested positive for the virus. He said the students who attended are encouraged to self-monitor.

Walker said the University consulted Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health at Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, to confirm risk for community members was low. 

Queen’s also announced Wednesday that the Faculty of Health Sciences has cancelled all in-person conferences and events effective immediately. Walker said the move is isolated to the health sciences faculty, and unless there’s community spread of the virus, other faculties will continue as normal.

He added that students in the Faculty of Health Sciences are in constant contact with local hospital patients, prompting the move to cancel events and conferences.

“They’re in contact with patients and you need to protect those patients,” he said.

In an online statement, Associate Dean of Professional Development Richard van Wylick said the decision was not taken lightly

“The protection of the healthcare workforce is of paramount importance, and this decision was taken with the advice and direction of the local public health authority.”

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