Huge spike in student infections

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455 cases were recorded at the university during the 5 days ending 4th February – 24 staff and 431 students – up from just 92 cases the previous week.

The rise has caused concern among residents about the impact the outbreak will have on the town as a whole, and a suggestion that the public should be warned that cases are high and growing fast in the town.

Jane Ann Liston, Lib Dem councillor for St Andrews, said: “This spike in university cases is a warning to us all not to think that Covid has gone away, and that we can just go back to meeting lots of people cheek-by-jowl, indoors and out.

“Throughout the pandemic the university has also been quick to keep the public informed as to the measures they are taking depending on the situation at the time. As far as I can see the university has not put a foot wrong, recognising its responsibility for its community and the potential results of its interactions with the rest of the people who live and work in St Andrews.”

SNP councillor Ann Verner described the rise as “worrying”. But added “my understanding is that those who are reporting positive tests are mostly either asymptomatic or showing signs of a relatively mild illness, which is a hallmark of the Omicron variant.

“In my opinion, the university is continuing to do all it can to minimise the effects of the current spike and by also regularly issuing updates.”

In the 7 days ending on the 4th February, 338 cases of Covid were recorded in St Andrews by NHS Scotland, with the highest numbers in St Andrews Central – 136, and North and Strathkinness – 129. The corresponding rates per 100 thousand population are 2146 and 2313 – rates never seen before in the town.

In a letter to Staff and Students, University Principal Sally Mapstone made it clear that the University has no plans to change its Covid-mitigation procedures and teaching will continue as planned, in hybrid mode – part online, part in-person.

St Andrews QV (Qui Vive) is an independent not-for-profit, non-political platform for news and debates about issues that are important to the Town. It exists to hold decision makers and public services to account while its editorial policy is to accommodate all shades of opinion from all parts of the community, prioritising evidence-based arguments. St Andrews QV is a member of the Independent Community News Network and is committed to the Community Journalism Charter

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