Covid cases confirmed in UCC-run student accommodation 

Covid cases confirmed in UCC-run student accommodation 

Residents around UCC, who have been highlighting their public health concerns about Covid-19 house-parties in their area since June, urged the affected students to stay put. Picture: Denis Minihane

Several cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed amongst students in UCC-run campus accommodation, prompting calls for tight controls of the apartment blocks.

Residents living around the university, who have been highlighting their public health concerns about Covid-19 house-parties in their area since June, urged the affected students to stay put.

"We are sorry to hear this news and we hope they get well but we also hope they stay where they are," Magazine Rd residents spokesperson Catherine Clancy said.

This virus is predictable. We know what to do if we don't want it to spread and we hope these students heed that advice

UCC said the HSE has conducted a public health risk assessment and contact tracing to identify and advise close contacts of the confirmed cases.

The university also said all of its student accommodation centres —  at University Hall, Victoria Lodge, Victoria Mills, Castlewhite Apartments, Arás Uí Thuama and Mardyke Hall — remain open, with enhanced cleaning protocols in place.

It added: “HSE Public Health have advised that the rate of cases is comparable to the rate of cases generally in the community. UCC has a support network in place for any students who may require assistance."

The news emerged yesterday after UCC emailed notification of the recent cases to the 1,000-plus students who are normally residents of its campus accommodation.

While UCC has decided to deliver almost all of its classes online for the first semester, a number of students have opted to take up residence in the apartment blocks.

There was controversy last week over UCC’s students’ union’s decision to go ahead with a virtual Freshers’ Week amid concerns that some of the events could encourage house parties.

The SU insisted that all of the events were in line with public health guidelines.

Disciplinary measures

UCC later confirmed that it had temporarily suspended 11 students pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

Ms Clancy said the threat of suspension or expulsion seems to have worked, with no complaints from residents about house parties in their area for over a week.

Meanwhile, Bantry-based GP, Dr Paul O’Sullivan, said there has been a marked rise in referrals and cases of Covid-19 in the region since the reopening of colleges in the city.

He put the rise down to students from West Cork, who live in the city to attend college, returning home for the weekend.

“We may be looking at a national lockdown to deal with an almost wave of infections spreading out in the community like a ripple effect,” he said.

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