SUDBURY -- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 community outbreak after six members of the Nipissing University athletic community tested positive for the disease.

Only three of those people have confirmed to have been on campus, the school said on its website on Tuesday morning.

"While the individuals who tested positive do not live on Nipissing University’s campus they have had interactions at the R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre gym and at social gatherings in the community. Other university buildings and properties are not impacted," said the health unit in a news release Tuesday morning.

"None of the known positive cases have been on campus since the R.J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre closed for a deep cleaning on Nov. 18," said Nipissing University.

Contract tracing has been completed and those who have been in close contact with the infected individuals have been notified, public health said.

"Individuals who have attended social gatherings with folks who are a part of the Nipissing University athletic community are asked to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If they develop symptoms of COVID-19 they should isolate immediately and arrange to be tested," the health unit said.

The university said it is implementing further safety measures at the athletics centre, including further reducing of the building capacity, limiting training to individual sessions and cancelling all group training.

Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health for the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts said the community is experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 illness.

"We all must act now to slow the spread. I urge you to:

  • Assume everyone outside of your home has COVID-19 and take precautions.
  • Limit travel outside the home:
  • To attending school or work - if unable to work from home;
  • For essential trips for groceries, medication and medical appointments.
  • Do not travel out of district.
  • Avoid socializing for now.
  • Limit exercise and recreation to outdoor spaces where physical distancing is possible.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or feel ill, isolate immediately and arrange to be tested for COVID-19," Dr. Chirico said.

As of Tuesday morning, there are 10 active cases of COVID-19 in the Nipissing and Parry Sound District, eight of which are in Nipissing. Two are travel-related infections and the rest are caused by being in close contact with a confirmed case.  Within the two districts, there have been 67 positive cases, 57 resolved, including one death on May 15. Currently, there are no COVID-related hospitalizations in these two districts.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Toolto see if you need to seek further care. If you need further assistance, call your health care provider or the health unit at 1-800-563-2808. If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, you should call 911 and mention your symptoms.