Humber COVID-19 cases triple in one week

Oct 8, 2020 | COVID-19

Chelsea Alphonso

In a single week, Humber has reported four more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of positive cases so far to six. Last week the college reported two cases of COVID-19 on campus, but did not say where exactly the cases occurred.

Despite the increase in cases, Humber has yet to release what campuses these cases are on or what it would take to close down the college.

The news comes in a week of continued high COVID-19 case numbers across Ontario. On Thursday the province reported a single-day record high of 797 new COVID-19 cases including 265 new cases in Toronto, and four new deaths.

Andrew Leopold, Director of Communications for Humber College, said that the school’s primary focus right now is to report on positive cases among Humber and Guelph Humber students and employees.

“When it comes to the release of information right now, we’re reporting based on if they were on campus within 14 days,” Leopold told Humber News.

Rob Kilfoyle, Director Public Safety and Emergency Management at the college, said that despite having some 2,000 students on campus every day there has been no need to shut down any classes or academic activity as a result.

All the classrooms get a thorough cleaning every day. If somebody hasn’t been on campus for 72 hours or more those are more or less considered low risk. But we have not as of yet, had the need to shut down any classes or any academic activity as a result,” he said.

In addition to the increased cleaning measures, Humber uses a screening process for all who arrive on campus.

“Anyone coming onto Humber College property is required to undergo screening upon entry. Our preferred method [of screening] is a self-screening app regarding students, faculty, staff, contractors,” said Kilfoyle.

To complete the screening process, anyone coming on campus can “download the Humber Guardian app. There is a COVID-19 self-screening tool in that app. It takes you through the series of screening questions that have been approved by Toronto Public Health,” said Kilfoyle.

If a person is cleared in the screening, they will receive a code permitting their entry. Alternatively, anyone coming to campus has the option of being verbally questioned on arrival.

Also this week, the Humber Faculty Union expressed concern in an email to faculty about the current reporting of cases at the college.

The union, called Local OPSEU 562, said it “has requested more transparency” on the reporting process.

“Neither the Local, nor the Joint Health & Safety Committee, has been given any additional information than what is posted on the [college] website; we feel this is inappropriate and will cause unnecessary additional stress to individuals on campus,” the statement said.

“The College has heard our concern but has not committed to any change,” the statement further noted. “Since our Sept. 9 meeting with the College, we were not notified of any changes to the [reporting] protocol.”