Four students in the same Western University residence building have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Middlesex-London Health Unit to declare a coronavirus outbreak.
The infected students live in London Hall, Western said in a statement Sunday night. The residence has 10 floors with 417 beds, according to an online profile.
The outbreak follows one of the largest single-day spikes of cases in London and Middlesex County, as 20 new COVID-19 infections were announced Sunday. The one-day surge was powered largely by people younger than 30.
Last month, 28 Western students were part of an outbreak linked to close contact at London bars and house parties in early September.
“This outbreak highlights the need to limit close contact to only those within your dorm room, maintain two metres physical distance, wear a mask and stay home or in your suite if you feel unwell,” Dr. Alex Summers, the associate medical officer of health, said in a statement Sunday night.
Contract tracers are alerting close contacts of the four students to the positive results to ensure they are tested and quarantined.
Western said all the students are quarantined off-campus, along with some who have been in close contact “out of abundance of caution.”
“Those students who have tested positive are isolating outside of residence. We are delivering them meals, and our staff are in regular contact to ensure students are well supported,” Chris Alleyne, associate vice-president of housing, said.
All students living at London Hall are being notified.
Post-secondary school students in London were asked by public-health officials to remain here over the Thanksgiving weekend, rather than travelling to their hometowns and risking COVID-19 transmission between communities. It’s unclear how many Western and Fanshawe College students followed that advice.
Western students and faculty can be tested at the school’s COVID-19 testing centre, in the student recreation centre, but it doesn’t re-open until Tuesday morning.