Deane warns students against large gatherings ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

University cautions about large gatherings and the risks they pose to the spread COVID-19 

Principal Patrick Deane warned students against large gatherings in wake of COVID-19 increase.
Journal File Photo
The University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) will come into effect for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend as Principal Patrick Deane recommended students not attend large gatherings. 
On Wednesday, the University’s communication staff released information about student conduct during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and the problems raised by the gathering of large crowds.  
A statement from Dr. David Walker, the physician heading Queen’s response to COVID-19, advocated the importance of protecting our health care system.
“If you’re sick, please don’t go,” Walker in a public statement. “The most important thing for anyone feeling sick to do is stay home, self-isolate, and call the appropriate medical authority.”
According to the statement, the effects of binge drinking and the need for emergency responders could impair the ability of the health care system to combat COVID-19. If an overly intoxicated person infected by coronavirus required first responders, the paramedics, nurses, and doctors treating that person would also need to be quarantined.
“If you have friends planning to come, please suggest to them that may not be a good idea,” Walker said.
From March 13 to 18, Queen’s will be operating the Campus Observation Room (COR) to alleviate the strain on emergency services. COR will be open Saturday, March 14 from 8 a.m. to Sunday March 15 at 7 a.m., and March 17 from 8 a.m. to March 18 at 8 a.m. in Leonard Hall Cafeteria and in MacGillivray-Brown Hall gym.
“Above all, please respect the first responders that are there to help students and please avoid at all costs going to the hospital,” Walker said.
The UDSI will also be in full effect over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and according to Mark Nardi, communications officer for the City of Kingston, enforcement will not be altered because of concerns surrounding coronavirus.
“We’re still going out with the approach for education before compliance until we have to eliminate education if it gets to that point,” Nardi said.
Under the UDSI, anyone who receives a ticket in the University District during Frosh Week, Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day will be required to appear in court.
“We have social media posts scheduled for Twitter and Facebook from March 10 to March 18,” Nardi told The Journal. “We’re also posting an informative graphic on City facility screens.”
Still, the University’s main focus of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, according to Walker, is to protect the health of more vulnerable populations by protecting our healthcare workers. 
“The most important thing for anyone feeling sick to do is stay home, self-isolate, and call the appropriate medical authority,” he said.

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