Rugby tournament in Kingston, Ontario. ‘spread Omicron to university communities across’ Canada, says BC health official

VICTORIA – A rugby tournament is linked to the spread of COVID-19 cases, including Omicron cases, across Canada.

BC Provincial Health Official Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a briefing Tuesday that there had been an outbreak of cases at the University of Victoria, involving the Omicron and Delta variants.

“The introduction of Omicron (was) related to a rugby tournament, which Omicron has unfortunately extended to college communities across the country,” Henry said.

Although he did not name the tournament, BC health officials said it was a tournament with Queen’s University.

The Victoria rugby team attended a national championship tournament in Kingston, Ontario, which was hosted by Queen’s University, from November 24-28. It is the most recent tournament on the University of Victoria rugby team calendar and, according to various team websites, marked the end of the rugby season for 2021.

The first cases of Omicron in Canada were detected in Ottawa No. 28.

Other college rugby teams that attended that tournament included Guelph, Calgary, Concordia, Dalhousie, the Royal Military College of Canada, and the University of British Columbia.

Contacted by the Star, a Queen’s spokesperson said an outbreak was detected among college sports players at the university on Dec. 8, but said it did not link the outbreak to any particular event.

Kingston is fast becoming a hot spot for Ontario’s Omicron spread, with the region’s health authority reporting 400 COVID-19 cases per million residents per day and implementing new restrictions limiting indoor gatherings to five. persons.

Meanwhile, BC is conducting whole genome sequencing to detect COVID-19 variants in nearly all detected cases of the coronavirus, and the province had confirmed 44 cases of Omicron as of December 12. None of the cases have resulted in hospitalizations yet, and the average age of people detected with Omicron is 33 years.

Henry said the outbreak on Vancouver Island, which includes cases from Delta and Omicron, is cause for concern and is raising the province’s R-value for COVID-19 cases above one.

“It is important that we get vaccinated as we move into the uncertainty of this new strain that is here in British Columbia and across Canada,” he said.

The University of Victoria had canceled in-person exams, as cases associated with the university rose to 124 this week. In addition to the rugby tournament, officials said in-person house parties associated with the university were contributing to the spread.

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