PSA: COVID-19 cases at St. FX University and surrounding communities

Public Health is actively investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases associated with St. FX University and X Ring Celebrations. Public Health continues to closely monitor this evolving situation. We know we will see more cases over the next several days. Public Health and St. FX are working closely together to help keep the university campus and larger community safe from further spread of the virus.

We understand that having an outbreak in the community can be stressful, and you may have questions and concerns. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Monitor for symptoms
Given the current circumstances, it is especially important that students, faculty and staff continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Others in the community should continue to watch for symptoms too, as a precaution:

  • a new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following: 
    • fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
    • shortness of breath
    • sore throat
    • runny nose/nasal congestion
    • or headache

Stay home if you’re sick
If you have or develop symptoms, you are required to self-isolate, book a PCR COVID-19 test, and stay isolated until you receive a negative test result. 

The advice to stay home when you’re sick applies even after you’ve received a negative COVID test. If you’re ill (with a cold or flu or other bug), stay away from work and social activities to stop the spread of illness. Consider getting re-tested if symptoms persist or call 811 for advice.

Watch for exposure locations
St. FX has communicated with affected students, staff and faculty directly about exposure sites on campus, and will continue to do so if/as additional exposure sites are identified. 

Public exposure sites are listed at https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus-exposures Public Health only issues a public exposure notice in cases where it is not possible to identify and/or contact all close contacts directly.

Follow instructions from Public Health if you’ve been exposed

  • If you have been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, follow the instructions provided by public health for PCR testing and self-isolation, based on vaccination status. 
  • If you’ve been to an exposure location, follow the instructions outlined in this resource, I’ve been to an exposure location: Now what? for PCR testing and isolation requirements. 

NEW guidance, effective December 10 at 4 p.m.: If a person who is fully vaccinated is a close contact or has been to an exposure site, they must self-isolate, book a PCR test for 72 hours after the exposure, and remain isolated until they receive a negative result. This new guidance does not apply to precaution notices. I’ve been to an exposure location: Now what? provides guidance for precautions and exposures, based on vaccination status. 

Get tested 
As noted above, all close contacts of positive cases, and those who have been to a confirmed exposure location at the identified dates and times, require PCR testing

The Public Health Mobile Unit will be at St. FX Dec. 11 and 12 for testing. You can find more details at: https://www.nshealth.ca/news/public-health-mobile-unit-providing-covid-19-testing-st-fx-university-weekend This is in addition to testing options already available for booking at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en 

Those who have not been to an exposure site or been in close contact with a confirmed case of 
COVID-19 are not required to be tested. However, we understand some will wish to do so, out of an abundance of caution and for peace of mind. Rapid tests (limited supply) are available at our Public Health mobile unit clinics. In addition, families whose children attend public school may wish to use their test-to-protect take-home COVID-19 tests. 

*Please note* With the recent increase in cases of COVID-19 in the community, as a precautionary measure, Nova Scotia Health will open the Antigonish COVID-19 Testing Centre to asymptomatic testing for community members who do not have symptoms. The Antigonish COVID-19 Testing Centre (Antigonish Market Square, 149 Church Street, Unit 686) will be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drop-ins welcome at this time.

Be thoughtful about social gatherings
Vaccination has allowed us to be less restrictive about social gatherings this holiday season, compared to last. However, it’s important to still be mindful about social gatherings, particularly in an area where there is an outbreak. Carefully consider who you’re gathering with and how often.  

Follow masking and other public health measures
Ensure you’re following all public health measures in place in Nova Scotia, including masking. View more details at: https://novascotia.ca/reopening-plan/phase-five/ 

Get vaccinated if you’re eligible
Getting vaccinated is one of the most important and effective ways of protecting yourself, your family, and your community from COVID-19. Vaccines provide a very strong layer of protection, especially against severe disease. If you haven’t yet booked your vaccine appointment, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/book-your-vaccination-appointment or call 1-833-797-7772. If you’re eligible for a booster shot, book your dose (24 weeks after your second dose).

Support one another and be kind
One of the most powerful things we can do in response to COVID-19 is to support one another.
The Neighbours Helping Neighbours program through St. FX is one such example, helping students to self-isolate safely. You can support your community by following the steps above and helping to share accurate information about COVID-19.

Thank you for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Public Health, Nova Scotia Health

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