Local public health units are responsible for declaring an outbreak within their jurisdictions. Guelph and surrounding area are covered by the Wellington Dufferin Guelph public health unit. Our Ridgetown Campus and the University of Guelph-Humber are covered by the Chatham-Kent and Toronto public health units, respectively.
What is an outbreak?
Public Health may declare an outbreak when:
- there are two or more connected cases of COVID-19 in a workplace setting, or
- there is one positive case of COVID-19 in either a student or staff member living in Student Housing
With these considerations in mind, and with COVID-19 being highly infectious, there is a significant likelihood that a COVID-19 outbreak will be declared at a U of G location at some point.
How will U of G manage COVID-19 positive cases and outbreaks?
Close and ongoing communication with local Public Health is key to the successful management and containment of COVID-19.
Student Wellness and Occupational Health and Wellness (OHW) will coordinate with local Public Health units to manage and respond to individual cases of COVID-19 at U of G locations. In close collaboration with Public Health, the University’s Outbreak Response Team will be responsible for directing the University’s management of and response to an outbreak.
A larger outbreak may require the closing of building floors, entire buildings, or the cessation of operations in certain sections of the University. It may also include shifting classes to an alternative delivery format.
Recognizing that the specifics of any given outbreak can be unique, general management responses have been created for the following scenarios:
- Positive case amongst staff or faculty
- Positive case in student not living in residence
- Positive case/outbreak in residence or family housing
These responses include:
- Outbreak assessment
- Case definition
- Outbreak control measures
- Resolution of the outbreak
In positive case scenarios or during an outbreak, collaboration will be required between many units. It is important for those involved to understand their responsibilities and to not assume the responsibilities of others.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19
- Follow all Public Health directives on self-isolation
- Support Public Health in contact tracing
- Not attend campus until cleared by Student Wellness or Occupational Health and Wellness
- inform Student Wellness and their Residence Advisor (if applicable) of their positive test
- complete the Student Self-Declaration Form
- notify their instructors that they will miss on-campus classes and may be unable to attend remote learning classes or meet deadlines
- inform Occupational Health and Wellness of their positive test
- complete the Employee Self-Declaration Form
- inform their Supervisor of their absence
Local Public Health Unit
- declare the start and resolution of an outbreak and report it on the Public Health website
- manage outbreaks on University campuses and guide the University’s response
- conduct contact tracing and communicate with those who may be at risk, including providing any directions to self-isolate
- maintain close communication with the Director of Student Wellness
- work with other public health units involved (i.e., if the affected employee or student lives outside the local public health unit’s jurisdiction)
University Outbreak Management Team
- oversee the University’s management and communication of an outbreak
- help Public Health determine high-risk contacts and identify those required to self-isolate
- confirm the risk to the University community and any further control measures needed
- inform University leadership of positive cases
- ensure students who complete the self-declaration form go for testing – support students living on-campus with transport to assessment centre if needed
- provide students with information on self-isolation, transportation to a testing centre and what to do if symptoms worsen
- ensure students have access to care and support for their mental health
- organize testing and follow up for all symptomatic students, staff and visitors during an outbreak in student housing
Occupational Health and Wellness
- direct employees with probable cases to get tested and inform individual to provide results when available
- direct those who test positive to complete the appropriate self-declaration form
- Work with Public Health to assist in assessing the risk to the University: Was the employee on campus in the previous 14 days? Who was the employee in close contact with? Were proper protocols followed? Do close contacts need to self-isolate while waiting for test results?
- maintain contact with employees who are off work due to COVID-19
- develop an employee’s return-to-work plan
- provide direct supervisors or chairs with template communications to share with team
- direct employees to resources in support of their mental health
Student housing (for cases involving students living in residence or family housing)
- inform Student Wellness upon learning of a probable or confirmed case in residence. After-hours, contact Public Health and the Director of Student Wellness
- ensure students understand the need to complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form daily
- work with Student Wellness to determine if the student needs to move to an isolation room (if not already in a single room)
- advise students of steps the student must take (see Responsibilities of Individuals who Test Positive for COVID-19 below)
- arrange for meals and other essentials to be delivered
- isolate high-risk individuals
- arrange for additional cleaning as needed
- monitor health and well-being of those in isolation
- communicate with those in student housing about need for increased vigilance in hygiene measures
Individual’s direct supervisor or chair (for cases involving employees)
- ensure the employee has contacted OHW
- confirm a self-declaration form has been completed
- inform senior manager of possible cases
- support the individual and maintain the individual’s privacy
- contact Physical Resources to arrange additional cleaning of workspace
- use communication templates from OHW to communicate a positive case to their team
Direct supervisors and chairs will not collect information on close contacts and will not communicate with close contacts unless directed to by OHW.
Communications and Public Affairs
- inform the University community of an outbreak and its resolution through news page, intranet and Positive Cases on Campus website
- provide additional communications support as needed, including with external stakeholders, parents/guardians, media, etc.
We all have a responsibility in helping protect our community and in preventing COVID-19 outbreaks. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to:
- Follow U of G’s COVID-19 safety practices
- Complete the U of G COVID-19 Screening Form daily before coming to campus and stay home if advised to do so
- Download the Government of Canada’s COVID Alert app
- Only to come to campus if needed
- Students on the Guelph campus: Student Health Services at (519-824-4120 Ext. 52131) if you test positive for or are fairly certain you have COVID-19 and have been on campus in the previous 14 days.
- Employees: Contact Occupational Health and Wellness (519-824-4120 Ext. 52647) if you test positive for or are fairly certain you have COVID-19 and have been on campus in the previous 14 days.
Occupational Health and Wellness
- 519-824-4120 Ext. 52647
Student Health Services (Guelph campus)
- 519-824-4120 Ext. 52131
Student Housing (Guelph campus)
- 519-824-4120 Ext. 58701