London, ON – The Middlesex-London Health Unit has declared a community COVID-19 outbreak after three Western University students tested positive yesterday. In addition to these three cases, the Health Unit was also notified of two additional, associated cases today who are also Western students; these two cases will be added to the Middlesex-London case count tomorrow. While the students who have tested positive all live in the community and have not attended classes or activities on campus, they have had a number of interactions at downtown bars and restaurants, and with students in neighbouring housing units.
In addition to declaring a community outbreak as part of its investigation, the Health Unit is advising anyone who may have frequented downtown clubs, bars and restaurants to monitor themselves for symptoms and to get tested should they develop. MLHU staff members are continuing to identify and follow up with close contacts of the confirmed cases, who are being advised to quarantine and seek testing. Due to the number of contacts associated with the investigation, the Health Unit is anticipating additional cases in the coming days.
“If we ever needed evidence to show there‘s still a risk from COVID-19 in the community, this is it,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “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.”
The Health Unit is working with Western University administration to support these individuals as well as any other students who may need to seek testing or quarantine as a result of contact with the cases. In addition to getting tested at one of London’s COVID-19 Assessment Centres, Western University has a mobile testing unit available for students and employees Monday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Satuday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students can also pre-schedule in-person appointments with Student Health Care.
The Health Unit recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections:
- Ensure your social circle includes a maximum of 10 people and don’t interact directly with people who are outside your social circle.
- Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from other people.
- Wear masks when in enclosed public places and physical distancing is not possible.
- Visit an Assessment Centre to get tested if you are concerned you have COVID-19 or that you may have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 15-20 seconds or use a waterless hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 70 percent.
- Cover coughs and/or sneezes with your sleeve or cough into your elbow.
- Clean high-touch areas, such as doorknobs in public spaces, frequently.
- Download the COVID Alert mobile app to be notified if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and to let others know if you test positive for the virus.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website at www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus.
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit
519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell)
Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit