UPDATE: Reported case of COVID-19 in ILLC turns out false-positive

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By Charlize Alcaraz

A student living at Ryerson’s International Living & Learning Centre (ILLC) residence received a false positive test for COVID-19 after Housing and Residence Life disclosed the initial positive case on March 4.

According to associate director of university communications Karen Benner, the test did not detect COVID-19 in the sample. “As such, at this time, no risk has been identified for the community.”

The positive case was first reported to the university on March 3.

“The individual acted quickly and responsibly and is taking all precautions and necessary actions, including self-isolation,” according to an email addressed to ILLC residents from Housing and Residence Life.

Details about where the student might have been between when they tested positive and the time they reported their case to Housing and Residence Life were not disclosed. 

The first known case of COVID-19 among students at Ryerson was reported on Oct. 10 and also involved a student living in ILLC, as previously reported by The Eyeopener

The current risk for other students is “very low” according to Housing and Residence Life’s email. The student followed the proper protocols for physical distancing and wearing a mask, the email read.

“Our protocol…provides guidance to the university administration on a variety of considerations including supporting community members…cleaning and disinfection measures and possible building closures,” Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi previously told The Eye in October. 

He added that the protocol relies advisory “from the government or public health authorities.”

The university implemented a face mask policy in July with an updated face mask procedure approved in September. 

ILLC facilities and common spaces are also cleaned and disinfected daily, according to Housing and Residence Life. 

Students have previously called for more transparency from Ryerson about COVID-19 cases within on-campus residences. The university has stated that it will not publicly announce confirmed cases to protect the privacy and identities of those who test positive.

“If an individual has COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19, unless informed otherwise by public health, the sharing of personal health information is strictly limited to Ryerson staff,” said Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano, vice-provost, faculty affairs, in the statement. 

Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto are providing continuous updates to their community members regularly which are available to the public, not just impacted community members.  

Lachemi said impacted community members are contacted via email “so that they can assess their individual risk.”

“More than 95 per cent of courses and services are being offered virtually, we have very few students, faculty and staff on campus every day,” Lachemi added. 

Residence students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to call Housing and Residence Life at 1-888-960-1191 as soon as possible.

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