COVID-19 – Severn Court Outbreak FAQ

Last reviewed/updated 10:21 a.m,  March 10, 2021

These Frequently Asked Questions are specific to the Outbreak at Severn Court Residence that was declared on February 27, 2021.  For information on why the outbreak was issued, please read the press release: Peterborough Public Health Declares Outbreak in Student Residence.  You can also review the Section 22 Class Order issued to Severn Court residents.

COVID-19 Severn Court Outbreak FAQ

  1. Why are residents at Severn Court allowed to leave for food or medicine? Why can’t they have these things delivered instead?
  2. Can those isolating leave for medication or food? What is your guidance for students on this?
  3. You mentioned that the COVID-19 cases were variants of concern in your press release. Why is this not reflected on the Local COVID-19 Tracker?
  4. Are they going to fine the people who had the party that caused the outbreak?
  5. Fleming is shut down for in-person classes, what about Trent? Should they not also be doing this?
  6. I live at Severn Court and work in retail. I am getting tested today, can I go to work?
  7. Are students from Fleming allowed to participate in in-person learning and/or placements that are part of their program?
  8. Did the people at Severn Court take transit? Is there a risk to the general public that uses public transit or taxi services?
  9. Should community members be concerned that some of these students may have been working in community settings before they started to isolate?
  10. I used the bank machine/ pumped gas/ etc. What if one of the students who has COVID was there right before me?
  11. Have the post-secondary schools closed in Peterborough? Should I bring my kids home?
  12. How is ride sharing being addressed from hotspot regions?
  13. I am a contact of a contact related to Severn Court.  They now have symptoms, what am I supposed to do?
  14. I work with someone who is a case related to the Severn Court outbreak.  What should I do?
  15. I was at Severn Court and am getting tested today.  Can I go to work?
  16. Are high risk contacts defined differently when VOCs are involved?
  17. I am a resident at Severn Court. I am struggling with my mental health, what supports are available for me?
  18. Why are people who have had COVID-19 permitted to leave the property but I have to stay isolating onsite?

  1. Why are residents at Severn Court allowed to leave for food or medicine? Why can’t they have these things delivered instead?

The Section 22 Class Order categorizes the residents of Severn Court into two groups.  Group A includes individuals who are cases of COVID-19, high risk contacts of those cases, and those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.  This group is required to self-isolate and cannot leave their rooms for any purpose.  Those in Group A are called frequently by a Public Health Case or Contact Manager (CM) to check in on them for compliance and monitor their symptoms. Group B consists of everyone else at Severn Court.  Individuals in Group B are required to stay at home, they cannot leave for work or school, and can only go out for groceries or prescriptions.  If and when someone from Group B is identified as a case or contact, they are added to Group A and followed up by a CM.

  1. Can those isolating leave for medication or food? What is your guidance for students on this?

Residents who have been identified as a case or a contact are not able to leave their rooms pursuant of the Section 22 Class Order issued on February 27, 2021.  Specific instructions have been shared with the residents of Severn Court.

  1. You mentioned that the COVID-19 cases were variants of concern in your press release. Why is this not reflected on the local COVID tracker?

The COVID-19 samples have been screened for variants of concern (VOCs) and considered presumed VOC cases if they screen positive.  This means that we know there is a VOC involved, however genetic sequencing to identify the precise strain of VOC can take up to 14 days.  The Local COVID Tracker shows both presumed and confirmed VOCs. Once PPH receives lab confirmation of the specific variant, the Local COVID Tracker will be updated accordingly.

  1. Are they going to fine the people who had the party that caused the outbreak?

The possibility of charges has not been ruled out, and the investigation is ongoing.  We are speaking with a large number of people and are receiving a lot of conflicting information.  If there is sufficient evidence, we will lay charges.

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  1. Fleming is shut down for in-person classes, what about Trent? Should they not also be doing this?

Contact tracing has been completed for the Trent University students who were cases or high-risk contacts. These students are in quarantine at a special supervised residence. As long as they follow the self-isolation orders, no further public health measures are required by Trent University at this time.

  1. I live at Severn Court and work in retail. I am getting tested today, can I go to work?

No, the Class Order made in pursuant of to Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act requires all the residents of Severn Court to stay at home.  Individuals who have not been identified as a case or a contact are only able to leave the premises for grocery and prescriptions.  All those who have been identified as a case or a contact are required to self-isolate in their rooms/suites for 14 days.  Public Health Nurses call and monitor their symptoms on a daily basis.

  1. Are students from Fleming allowed to participate in in-person learning and/or placements that are part of their program?

No, Fleming has suspended all in-person learning and placements from their Sutherland Campus.  Please visit their website for more information.

  1. Did the people at Severn Court take transit? Is there a risk to the general public that uses public transit or taxi services?

Public transport agencies have specific safety protocols that they must follow to protect passengers and operators.  These protocols have made public transit safe to run during the pandemic.  Passengers also have a responsibility to reduce risk by following up-to-date public health protocols.  This includes wearing a mask in public spaces, an individual responsibility to maintain 2-metres of distance from anyone outside of your household, and washing your hands often.  As long as the public health protocols are followed, risk to individuals will be low.

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  1. Should community members be concerned that some of these students may have been working in community settings before they started to isolate?

We understand that the Severn Court outbreak has many people in the community worried.  Keep in mind that public health protocols do work.  Continue to wear a mask in public spaces, maintain 2-metres of distance from anyone outside of your household, and wash your hands often.  The safest option is always to stay home and only leave for essential reasons.  Our Case and Contact Management Team is working very hard behind the scenes to reach out to anyone who may have been exposed to a case or high-risk contact associated with the Severn Court outbreak.  If you were potentially exposed, someone from PPH will be in contact with you.  It is important that everyone in Peterborough screens every day and continues to self-monitor for symptoms. If you feel ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible.

  1. I used the bank machine/ pumped gas/ etc. What if one of the students who has COVID was there right before me?

We know that public health protocols work.  Continue to practice all the public health protocols including wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing/sanitizing hands often.  It may be helpful to carry disinfectants and sanitizers in your car so that you are able to quickly clean your hands after using a bank machine or pumping gas.  As long as you continue to follow the public health protocols, your personal risk level will be low.

  1. Have the post-secondary schools closed in Peterborough? Should I bring my kids home?

At this time, Fleming College has suspended in-person learning and placements from their Sutherland Campus.  For more information, please visit their website.  PPH recommends that students remain where they are to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19.  Students who are living at Severn Court are required to stay at home (i.e. in their room/suite at Severn Court) for 14-days pursuant of the Section 22 Class Order issued on February 27, 2021.

  1. How is ride sharing being addressed from hotspot regions?

The associated post-secondary institutions are aware of the ride-sharing problem and are addressing the situation themselves.

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  1. I am a contact of a contact related to Severn Court.  They now have symptoms, what am I supposed to do?

Since your contact now has symptoms of COVID-19, they are considered a probable case.  If you met with your contact 48 hours before they started showing symptoms, you are considered a close contact.  As a close contact, you are required to self-isolate until the probable case receives their results.  If negative then you are no longer required to isolate, if they test positive continue to self-isolate, a PPH staff person will contact you as soon as possible. If you currently have symptoms seek testing, You can find testing options in Peterborough here.

  1. I work with someone who is a case related to the Severn Court outbreak.  What should I do?

Our Case and Contact Management Team is working tirelessly to identify contacts and control further spread of COVID-19.  If you are a close contact, someone from PPH will be in touch with you as soon as possible.  Please continue to screen every day and to self-monitor for symptoms.  If you develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately and seek testing.  If you are still concerned that no one has contacted you and have been exposed, self-isolate immediately and call 705-743-1000 to speak with a public health nurse who can help asses your risk as a potential close contact.

  1. I was at Severn Court and am getting tested today.  Can I go to work?

If you were at Severn Court between February 20 to February 27, 2021 and have symptoms, you are advised to self-isolate and seek testing immediately.  If you do not have symptoms, you are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from your last exposure.  Use the workplace screening tool to help self-monitor.  This tool will also be helpful in determining whether you should be going to work or not. If you currently have or develop any COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to immediately self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.  At the time of testing, reference the outbreak number 2255-2021-33973.

  1. Are high risk contacts defined differently when VOCs are involved?

PPH treats all positive cases of COVID-19 as VOCs until results indicate otherwise.  Generally, a high-risk contact is someone who was in close contact with a positive case 48 hours before they started showing symptoms or were tested.  Close contact means being less than 2-metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour time period with a confirmed case.  Due to the increased risk with VOCs, the threshold for identifying close contacts is lower.  For example, if you were wearing a mask, but did not maintain 2-metres distance from a positive COVID-19 case, you will be considered a close contact.

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  1. I am a resident at Severn Court. I am struggling with my mental health, what supports are available for me?

First, we want to thank you for staying at home and following public health measures.  The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for everyone, and it is okay to not be okay.  Several local mental health supports have moved to virtual or telephone modes of communication, these include the Canadian Mental Health Association, Community Counselling and Resource Centre, and Telecare Distress.  You can find more information on each of these resources on our webpage.  The Government of Canada has also funded an online program called Wellness Together Canada.  On this site, you can access an app called Take that step and get connected to mental health and substance use support, resources, and counselling with a mental health professional.

  1. Why are people who have had COVID-19 permitted to leave the property but I have to stay isolating onsite?

Those who had tested positive for COVID-19 have completed their self-isolation period and have been cleared by Peterborough Public Health.  As they are no longer infectious or ill they are able to leave the property.

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