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Omicron variant confirmed in COVID-19 cases linked to UVic parties

Students on the University of Victoria campus on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. (CTV News) Students on the University of Victoria campus on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. (CTV News)

Island Health says several cases of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, have been detected in cases linked to University of Victoria students.

As of Monday, 124 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to clusters that were identified after UVic students attended off-campus parties last week.

Of those cases, four have been confirmed to be the Omicron variant, and Island Health expects more positive results will be identified in the days to come.

"It is important to note that these cases are occurring within a highly vaccinated population, and as such, we are seeing mild illness and are not aware of any hospitalizations associated with this cluster at this time," reads a joint statement from Island Health and the University of Victoria released Monday.

"It is also important to emphasize that initial epidemiological data confirms that transmission is occurring in indoor household or social settings where few, if any COVID-19 controls are in place," adds the statement.

The university says that roughly 90 per cent of its students are vaccinated against COVID-19, and Island Health adds that there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission at UVic classrooms or workplaces.


On Sunday, UVic announced that it would cancel all in-person exams for the rest of the semester, with instructors told to transition to take-home exams or online tests.

Island Health says that the university's current safety measures should be sufficient for the remainder of the semester, and create an environment that is safe to return to in January.

The health authority is also gearing up to distribute rapid testing kits at UVic for those who are close contacts with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The tests are expected to arrive within the next several days.

"These recent events serve as a reminder to us all to take extra care this holiday season," reads the joint statement.

"Indoor social settings where there are few or no COVID-19 controls in place can lead to transmission of COVID-19 even among vaccinated people," adds Island Health and UVic. "It also demonstrates why the university has introduced all the prevention measures recommended by public health for post-secondary institutions in B.C." Top Stories

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