Outbreak declared at Western University’s Perth Hall residency

London, Ontario, Canada - August 30, 2020: A sign saying 'Welcome to Western! Masks required indoors!' is seen at one of the gate to Western University campus in London, Ontario, Canada. JHVEPhoto via Getty Images

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has declared a second outbreak at a Western University student residence.

The Health Unit received a report Saturday that a third person at the University has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Perth Hall residence.

The three students and those who came in close contact have been moved to a quarantine location outside of the residence.

The Health Unit said it is also following up with all close contacts of the cases to ensure they get tested and are quarantining. Western University said all 327 students living in Perth Hall have been notified.

“We are asking those who live in residence to limit their contacts as much as possible,” says Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

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“In addition to the declaration of today’s outbreak, our case management team is continuing to investigate the outbreak declared earlier this week at another student residence.”

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The Health Unit also recommends that students wear a mask when they are in any indoor public space and to get tested for COVID-19 if they begin to develop symptoms.

Testing is available for students, faculty and staff at London’s two COVID-19 assessment centres and on-campus at the Western Student Recreation Centre.

“As we see COVID-19 case numbers go up across the province and the country, we know this may be causing additional anxiety for our students at an already stressful time leading into the exam period,” says Jennifer Massey, Western’s associate vice-president (student experience).

“We have extra staff on hand over the weekend to help support our students and answer any questions they or their families might have.”

The Perth outbreak is in addition to the one declared in Saugeen-Maitland Hall on Thursday.

So far, the health unit says eight residents have tested positive for the virus and they are all self-isolating “with the support of Western’s administration.”

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Last month, an outbreak was declared at Western’s London Hall following four confirmed cases among residents.

The outbreak at London Hall has since been resolved.

An outbreak tied to Western University was also declared on Sept. 13, though in that case most of the five initial cases involved students who live off-campus. Before the week was through, on Sept. 17, a total of 28 cases of COVID-19 involved Western University students, prompting tighter restrictions at the university.

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