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UPDATED: Cape Breton University student tests positive for COVID-19

The campus centre at Cape Breton University is shown in this file photo. CONTRIBUTED
The campus centre at Cape Breton University is shown in this file photo. CONTRIBUTED
SYDNEY, N.S. —

Cape Breton University has announced a student has tested positive for COVID-19. 

“This is the first case connected to Cape Breton University,” said Lenore Parsley, CBU’s communications manager. “The student has been self-isolating off-campus since arriving in Sydney on Jan. 5 and has been following all mandatory public health protocols.”

Parsley said the student continues to self-isolate with the proper health, mental health and academic supports in place.

“It’s important to note this student chose to participate in asymptomatic testing,” she added.

In a message to the campus community from CBU president David Dingwall on its website, Dingwall stated Public Health notified them of the case connected to the university late on Tuesday.

“It was during this isolation time the student chose to participate in asymptomatic testing, which we now know produced a positive result,” said Dingwall in his message. 

Dingwall further stated he would like to personally thank this student for making the good decision to engage in asymptomatic testing. 

“It is proven that this testing can help identify cases before symptoms ever arise, allowing us to better protect each other,” he said. “As a community, we must continue to watch out for each other and keep each other safe. Anyone who wishes to also participate in asymptomatic testing can do so by booking an appointment online.”

Dingwall said they will continue to take direction and work closely with Public Health. He also commended the CBU Return to Campus committee for its work in preparing in the event a positive case connected to the university was identified. 

“Because of their work, our plan was immediately mobilized, and all precautions were in place to keep the community safe,” he said.

Public Health manages contact tracing of all positive COVID-19 cases and notifies close contacts. 

In early March, Dingwall established a pandemic planning task force to focus on response and contingency planning in response to the pandemic. 

The CBU campus is currently closed to the general public. The winter semester at the university is online only. In-person classes are set to resume in May 2021, pending any changes to the current Public Health guidelines or status of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia Health and Wellness reported eight new cases of COVID-19. Three of the cases are in northern zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases. Two of the cases are in eastern zone and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. One of the cases was identified as the CBU case. The other case is a student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, who also lives off-campus.

Three of the cases are in central zone and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The people are self-isolating, as required. One of the cases is a student at Saint Mary's University in Halifax who lives on campus.

As of Wednesday, Nova Scotia has 30 active cases of COVID-19. Nova Scotia Health Authority's labs completed 1,847 Nova Scotia tests on Jan. 12.

In a news release, Premier Stephen McNeil stated the province is seeing the importance of self-isolation and asymptomatic testing, and he wants to thank returning university students for following protocols.

"We will keep our case numbers low and protect each other if we all continue following the public health measures."

Sharon Montgomery-Dupe is the breaking news reporter for the Cape Breton Post.

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