Posted on Wednesday 14th October 2020
Further testing of some groups of students at Keele University is taking place, as part of proactive steps to tackle an outbreak linked to 75 positive cases at the university.
Around 400 students on and off campus have already been asked to take tests and today a further 80 students without symptoms from two accommodation blocks will be encouraged to book a test.
More than 300 students have now been asked to self-isolate because they have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s Director of Health and Care, said:
“Young people are not only at very high risk of getting the virus, but are also a high risk in terms of spreading it, because of the sheer number of people they can come in contact with.
“That is why, where there are positive cases we are looking to do wider testing of asymptomatic people as this will give us a better picture of how many students have the virus without realising it and, in turn help curb the spread of infection.
“While nobody wants to self-isolate while at university, it is important we all play our part not only for the welfare of others, but to ensure students can continue to fulfil their longer terms aspirations post COVID-19.
“Sticking to the rules is the best way to do this and I would like to thank the university and the students themselves for the huge efforts they are making to help tackle this outbreak.”
Under the Government’s new COVID-19 three tiered alert system of “Medium”, “High” and “Very High”, Staffordshire is on “Medium” alert and must follow national guidance. In the borough of Newcastle cases have been continuing to rise and rates are currently just above the average rate for England.
At Keele University they have taken proactive steps to make the campus as COVID secure as possible and have been supporting all those who have tested positive or need to self-isolate.
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, said:
“The health, welfare and safety of students, staff, and the wider community is the number one priority for the University and we are committed to doing all we can to contain this outbreak and keep people safe.
“We have over 10,000 students and while the current situation is not unique to Keele, I am extremely proud of how our students have responded and how they are coping during these challenging times. We are continuing to work with the county and borough councils and Public Health England and are encouraging everyone who needs a test or who is asked to get one to do so.”