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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 4 February 2020

Posted on 4 February 2020

Update on Coronavirus

Public Health England (PHE), as part of its ongoing investigation into coronavirus in York, has now confirmed that the diagnosed student has a tenancy at Vita Student, a private student accommodation provider located in the City.

PHE has also confirmed that the student was not in Vita Student accommodation when they came into contact with the virus, but did return to their room on one occasion and stayed overnight. During this brief period the student did not meet other residents or staff at the building or make use of the communal facilities. PHE has confirmed that they do not need to undertake any contact tracing with residents of Vita Student.

This additional information has come to light as part of PHE’s ongoing investigations and after they conducted further interviews with those affected by the virus. PHE confirms while this is new information, it does not change their risk assessment of 'low', and that there is negligible risk of onward transmission of the virus.

The accommodation is used by students from both University of York and York St John University. We recognise that this additional information from PHE may cause concern especially for students living in Vita Student.

University of York and York St John University are working with colleagues at Vita Student to provide additional advice and support for the residents. This will come in the form of a team from both universities and Vita Student, who will be at the residence this evening to answer any questions and provide other support and guidance.

We would like to reassure the students at Vita Student accommodation that PHE has stressed that they are not at risk and no further precautionary measures are necessary. There are no restrictions of any kind to students’ ability to come and go from their apartments and to attend all classes and seminars as normal.

We would also like to underline that the wellbeing, privacy and anonymity of the affected student remains paramount and we ask people to respect that.

The dedicated call centre at the University of York remains open for staff and students at both universities, and the wider York community, should they have any further concerns or questions. The number is 01904 809571 and will be open until 10pm on 4 February.

The University is continuing to liaise closely with senior staff at PHE who are taking the lead in all aspects of the management of the investigation. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular advice and updates to our students and staff as and when any new information becomes available from PHE's ongoing investigation.

Max Bielby, Managing Director of Vita Student, said: “As confirmed by Public Health England (PHE), the affected student is a resident in our city of York accommodation, and did return to their apartment for an overnight period. We are reassured that the PHE investigation has established that the student did not come into contact with any other resident in the Vita Student development, and that no additional precautionary measures are required. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our residents is Vita Student’s utmost priority and we will continue to follow and share all guidance provided by PHE with our residents. Support and advice is being provided by Vita Student in conjunction with PHE as well as the University of York and York St John University to concerned residents.”