Western supporting students following COVID-19 outbreaks

March 26, 2021 7:00 PM

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has declared COVID-19 outbreaks in Saugeen-Maitland Hall, with seven confirmed positive cases, and Ontario Hall with four confirmed positive cases.

“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, associate vice-president, housing and ancillary services. “This includes restricting social activities to roommates and significant others only and avoiding all in-person gatherings.” 

All students living in Saugeen-Maitland Hall and Ontario Hall are being notified. Those who have tested positive and some close contacts have been moved to a quarantine location outside of residence. Contact tracing is led by the MLHU and they will notify anyone considered a close contact.

Out of an abundance of caution, floor lounges and study rooms in both affected residences have been closed. 

Based on direction from the MLHU, Western is providing on-site testing to students on affected floors as an investigative measure.

The university is supporting students who have tested positive with transportation, meals, access to medical and mental health support, and academic accommodations as necessary.

Starting last fall, Western implemented several health and safety measures in residences, including reducing capacity to about 70 per cent. Students are not allowed to bring guests to residence or to visit other residences themselves.

“We know students are missing each other, and the milder weather makes us all want to spend time with our friends even more,” said Alleyne. “But Ontario is in the third wave of the pandemic, and we can’t let our guard down. We have a responsibility to continue to take care of ourselves, each other and our community.”

Tomorrow, the City of London is encouraging residents to share messages of empathy and remembrance to mark one year since the first COVID-19 related death in London-Middlesex. Western’s flag will fly at half-mast tomorrow in honour of the 185 lives lost to the pandemic across the region.

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Western’s COVID-19 testing centre in the Western Student Recreation Centre is open Monday, March 29 to Thursday, April 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed April 2 in observance of Good Friday). Outside of those hours, students and employees can book appointments online at one of London’s COVID-19 Assessment Centres.

Western students and employees who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been notified by public health or the COVID Alert app they have been exposed to a confirmed case should self-isolate until they can be tested.

Contacts for students and families:

Contacts for employees:

  • Health-related inquiries: Please contact your family doctor, Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
  • Other inquiries: Human Resources at hrhelp@uwo.ca 

There are additional COVID-19 resources for the campus community on Western’s COVID-19 website and on the MLHU’s website.