London

2 more Western University residences grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) declared the first outbreak at Ontario Hall on Thursday after four students tested positive for the virus. Then on Friday, an outbreak was declared at Saugeen-Maitland Hall following seven confirmed cases.

Outbreaks have been declared at Ontario Hall and Saugeen-Maitland Hall

Western University students can access COVID-19 testing at the Western Student Recreation Centre. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Two more Western University residences are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) declared the first outbreak at Ontario Hall on Thursday after four students tested positive for the virus. Then on Friday, an outbreak was declared at Saugeen-Maitland Hall following seven confirmed cases, according to the university.

"With positive case counts on the rise in the region, and the new variants of concern, we implore students to do everything they can to limit the spread of COVID-19," said Chris Alleyne, the university's associate vice-president of housing and ancillary services. "This includes restricting social activities to roommates and significant others only and avoiding all in-person gatherings." 

Alleyne said students who have tested positive, as well as some of their close contacts, are isolating outside of the affected residences. The university said it's supporting these students with transportation, meals, access to medical and mental health support and academic accommodations if necessary.

Meanwhile, floor lounges and study rooms in both residences have been closed and the university is providing on-site COVID-19 testing to students on affected floors.

This is the third outbreak to be declared at a university residence this month. The health unit declared an outbreak on March 2 after seven students living in Essex Hall contracted the virus. That outbreak is ongoing, according to the MLHU. 

Last fall, the university implemented several health measures to curb the spread of the virus, including reducing residence capacity to 70 per cent and banning students from brining guests or visiting other student residences. 

"We know students are missing each other, and the milder weather makes us all want to spend time with our friends even more but Ontario is in the third wave of the pandemic, and we can't let our guard down," Alleyne said, adding the school has a responsibility to take care of itself and the community. 

Earlier this month, the MLHU declared a community outbreak after a string of off campus, post-secondary student gatherings left at least 45 people infected. 

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