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Health Unit Declares Outbreak After Walmart Staff Tests Positive for COVID-19

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is declaring London’s third COVID-19 outbreak of the week, after receiving reports of three employees at the Hyde Park Walmart location testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The first two outbreaks have been associated with gathering involving students from Western University. MLHU case investigators have determined that transmission of the virus likely occurred at Walmart, between the staff members, whose last days of work were September 6th, September 13th and September 15th. The Health Unit is working closely with Walmart and staff at the store to ensure that any close contacts of the individuals are contacted.

Because the employees all worked in the checkout area, the Health Unit has concluded that customers may have had a low-risk exposure to the virus. The store has plexiglass barriers that separate checkout staff from customers. Public Health officials recommend that both staff and customers of the Hyde Park Walmart monitor themselves for the development of symptoms. The Health Unit is also asking that those who do not have symptoms refrain from seeking testing at an Assessment Centre.

“We have been following up directly with these individuals and continue to support not only them, but also their close contacts as we continue our investigation and take the steps necessary to reduce any further spread,” says Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health with the MLHU. “We know this news may cause concern, particularly as we’ve seen an increase in local cases this week, but it also is an important reminder of the steps we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all have to do our part.”

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 those outside your social circle.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from other people.
  • Wear a mask while in enclosed public places, or where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Visit an Assessment Centre if you have COVID-19 symptoms or 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 at least 70 percent alcohol content.
  • 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.

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit,
519-663-5317, extension 2469 of 519-617-0570 (cell)

Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit