University College Cork (UCC) has confirmed that it has notified the Health Service Executive (HSE) of a number of cases of Covid-19 among students in campus accommodation. The university said the appropriate protocols have been put in place.
Three cases of Covid-19 in a university run accommodation block were reported on social media earlier this week and UCC has now confirmed to The Irish Times that a number of cases of the disease have been reported.
“Following the increase in confirmed cases across Cork in recent weeks, some confirmed cases have occurred in certain households in UCC Campus Accommodation,” UCC said in a statement.
“The HSE has undertaken a public health risk assessment of the situation, and those who would have been deemed close contacts are being contacted and advised accordingly.
“UCC Campus Accommodation remains open, enhanced cleaning protocols will continue and UCC will continue to work closely with HSE public health and implement any precautionary measures advised.”
The university said due to patient confidentiality, they could not disclose details of individual cases or particular locations.
“HSE Public Health have advised that the rate of cases is comparable to the rate of cases generally in the community.”
UCC, which has some 22,000 students and almost 3,000 staff but has opted to deliver almost all classes on line for the first semester, said in its statement it has a support network in place for any students who may need assistance.
Local residents living near UCC have been to the fore inhighlighting concerns that they have about students having Covid-19 partiesin privately owned rented accommodation during the summer and outside the academic term.
According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) figures on the 14 day incidence of confirmed cases of Covid-19, the Cork South Central Ward has the highest incidence of coronavirus in the city between September 22nd and October 5th with 240.5 per 100,000.
This compares with the adjacent Cork South West Ward, which includes Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and has a 14 day incidence rate of 191.3 per 100,000, while Cork North East Ward has an incidence rate of 173.1 per 100,000.
The Cork North West Ward is next highest with an incidence rate of 126.9 cases per 100,000 while the South East Ward has the lowest in the city with an incidence rate of 93.5 cases per 100,000 people.
It should be noted many UCC and CIT students from outside Cork city who would usually stay in rented accommodation near both institutions have remained at home since September as most classes are being delivered remotely.
Hotel shuts down
Meanwhile, a hotel in east Cork has closed after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19. Garryvoe Hotel confirmed the closure in a Facebook post.
“Unfortunately, a member of our team has tested positive for Covid-19. As a precautionary measure and in the interest of the safety of our staff and guests, we have taken the decision to close the hotel from Friday, October 9th for a period of time.”
The owners of the hotel have spoken of their hope to reopen as soon as possible.
“We are a team here in Garryvoe and we have always looked after and supported each other in every way we can, we have stuck together and we will now. We will be back up and running very soon so don’t worry we will all be together sooner rather than later.
“To our Guests – We would also like to thank you for your support, understanding and patience at this time. We will be directed by the HSE to follow all necessary protocols.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused and we look forward to welcoming you back to East Cork & the Garryvoe Hotel very soon.”
The reservation team at the hotel will continue working in the coming days.
In a separate development, a pub in Midleton in Co Cork has also closed following the detection of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in a staff member.
Niall Mac’s pub in the town issued a statement on Facebook.
“Unfortunately a member a staff has tested positive for Covid-19. We only got confirmation from the HSE yesterday evening. We are working with the ‘HSE contact tracing’ team and all staff members are being tested.
“While no customers are identified as close contacts, we would advise that anyone who visited the pub from, Friday, 2nd October to Monday, 5th October, to look out for any symptoms and contact your GP with any concerns.
“We will be in contact with our customers who attended the pub on these days, who are not on Facebook.
“We have decided not to open under the level 3 restrictions and the pub will undergo an extreme deep clean before the re opening at the end of the month.”