Trinity tackling spread of virus cases in accommodation on and off-campus

The Director of the College Health Service has cautioned students about cases of Covid-19 in student residences

Trinity is tackling the presence of Covid-19 cases in student accommodation on and off campus, with some students unable to move into a private accommodation building due to the virus.

At a town hall meeting this evening ran by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Junior Common Room (JCR), Director of the College Health Service Dr David McGrath said an outbreak of cases in Goldsmith Hall “spilled” across campus. 

Urging students to “hold firm”, Dr McGrath said that “we’ve had a lot of cases”, with the outbreak in Goldsmith Hall coming as the result of five people from two households meeting together in the last week to ten days.

Earlier today, College confirmed it was aware of three people in Goldsmith Hall and one person on the main campus who have tested positive for Covid-19. 

However, Trinity News has learned of at least five residents living on the main campus who tested positive for the virus at the College Health Centre in recent days.

Students each received a text confirming their appointment for a test on campus, with another text from the HSE after their results returned positive.

McGrath also confirmed this evening that 160 people living in a student residence operated by Aparto, a private student accommodation provider, have been tested in Croke Park, with 25 positive cases and a “large number of close contacts”.

The building was closed to new residents, which impacted 100 students.

McGrath warned students about “Covid danger”, saying we are “all in it”.

All student residents and staff in Goldsmith Hall are being tested for Covid-19 after the confirmation of several cases.

McGrath said that 118 tests are to be conducted tomorrow in the Aviva stadium due to the outbreak at Goldsmith Hall. 

Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for College told Trinity News earlier today that the tests were being offered as a “precautionary measure”.

“People need to follow all guidelines to minimise transmission of Covid-19,” the spokesperson said.

“In addition to regular handwashing, cough etiquette, physical distancing and face coverings, it is critical that people from different apartments do not meet up socially and that no one enters an apartment where they are not residing.”

“Anyone who develops symptoms should self-isolate and contact College Health.”

The town hall was organised by the JCR and TCDSU for students to voice their concerns and questions about restrictions in Halls, where some students expressed that the treatment they experienced after breaking restrictions caused them distress.

One student said they were subjected to “verbal abuse” by a member of staff, and although they will accept repercussions for breaking Covid-19 restrictions, they would “like that kind of thing to be stopped”.

McGrath said that during the pandemic, staff are under “tremendous stress, under tremendous pressure”.

However, he said that he “sees both sides”, and that it is “normal to want to have parties”, but “the fallout can be very complicated”. 

“It’s really important to realise that this is affecting every single age group,” McGrath said. “It’s an extremely difficult situation.”

McGrath said that being urged to meet with some friends can seem like a “fantastic idea at 2 o’clock in the morning”, however, the fallout of it can be “absolutely traumatic”. 

Halls, located in Dartry, has the capacity to house around 1,000 students, which is mostly comprised of first years.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.