COVID-19 outbreak declared at Western University residence

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A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a Western University residence.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Western University’s Essex Hall residence after several students living on two floors of the building have tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday.

The university says seven students tested positive for the virus.

Western’s associate vice president of housing and ancillary services, Chris Alleyne, says all of the 338 students living at the residence have been notified.

“The health and safety of our campus community remains our top priority as we follow the recommendations of the local health unit,” Alleyne said.

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This is the fourth COVID-19 outbreak at one of the university’s residences since classes started in September.

The students who have tested positive have been moved to a quarantine location outside of the residence. The university is also providing on-site testing to other students isolating in place on the affected floors in Essex.

“We are providing students who are isolating with meal delivery, as well as academic, health and well-being support,” Alleyne said. “We know this news may cause concern, and we want to assure our students we’re here to support them in every possible way.”

Public health officials stress there is no evidence to suggest any of the individuals who tested positive had attended a social gathering of any kind.

“While London and Middlesex County have recently been moved to the orange level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, it isn’t time for any of us to let our guards down,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“We know COVID-19 is still circulating and that we expect to see more of the variants of concern which can spread much more easily as we move closer to an expected third wave of the pandemic.”

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The university says more than 11,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed at the school’s testing centre.

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