COVID-19 outbreak declared at Western University after five students test positive

Elianna Lev
·2-min read
A man in a mask sits on a bus on campus at Western University in London, Ontario on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)
A man in a mask sits on a bus on campus at Western University in London, Ontario on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)

A community outbreak of COVID-19 is being declared by the Middlesex-London Health Unit in Ontario after five Western University students tested positive for the virus. Health officials are anticipating more cases in the coming days given the number of contacts associated with the investigation.

While the first three students in question live off campus and haven’t started attending classes or other activities on campus, they’ve been frequenting bars and restaurants in the downtown area and interacted with students in neighbouring housing units.

The Health Unit is urging anyone who has visited night clubs, restaurants and bars in the area to monitor themselves for symptoms and get tested for the virus if they do develop. Staff from the medical unit are following up with the close contacts of confirmed cases, and advising them to monitor their health and get tested for the virus.

“If we ever needed evidence to show there‘s still a risk from COVID-19 in the community, this is it,” Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit said in a release. “We know the temptation to get back together with friends and party is great, but it is crucial that we all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means limiting social gatherings, sticking to our social circles, keeping two metres apart and staying home if you feel sick.”

“We know students want to be together and socialize, and we strongly encourage them to avoid parties and large gatherings and ensure their social circles include a maximum of 10 people,” said Jennifer Massey, associate vice-president of student experience, in a statement.

A mobile testing unit is available for students and employees at Western University Monday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students can also pre-schedule in-person appointments with Student Health Care.