Queen’s prepares for an outbreak with new Incident Command Structure

Special protocol focuses on virus prevention in residences

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green will lead the Incident Command Team Executive.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Just days after a Queen’s student tested positive for COVID-19, the University shared its plans for managing an outbreak of the virus in the community.

Principal Patrick Deane asked Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green to lead the University’s Incident Command Structure, which is designed to further protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students, as well as the greater Kingston community.

The Incident Command Team Executive includes Green, Dr. David Walker, special advisor to the Principal on COVID-19, and other members of the senior administration.

READ MORE: We have active cases in this population now in our community’: University confirms Queen’s student tested positive for COVID-19

Members of the Incident Command Team Executive meet three times a week to review the status of COVID-19 cases in the Queen’s community and adjust campus operations and communications accordingly.

Supported by the Executive, the Provost will act as the University Incident Commander in the event of an outbreak. If there is a specific area on campus impacted by the outbreak, the relevant Dean or portfolio lead will be included on the team.

According to Green, the Incident Command Team has collaborated with local public health officials to walk through several different scenario planning exercises in preparation for making decisions in emergency situations. 

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Green noted clear and fast communication is one of the most important factors identified through these exercises. 

This communication will begin with Public Health informing the University of confirmed cases within the Queen’s community as necessary—for example, the University will be contacted if a student or staff member in residence tests positive because of special protocol for preventing the spread of the virus in these buildings.

For other members of the Queen’s community, including faculty, staff, and students living off-campus, Public Health will only notify the University with the permission of those involved, or if sharing the information is essential for contact tracing.

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Regarding the legal restrictions to sharing personal health information under the Personal Health Information Privacy Act, the University said all identifying personal information will be removed from emails discussing the case.

Individuals who learn of a confirmed case on campus are asked to inform Dan Langham by emailing dan.langham@queensu.ca or by calling 613-533-6000 x 74980. Langham will confirm the information with Public Health and alert the Incident Command Team.

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