Student in residence among 28 and counting to test positive at Western University

Header image for the article Student in residence among 28 and counting to test positive at Western University Credit: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION PUBLICATIONS
The case count of Western students testing positive for COVID-19 continues to climb.

A student living in Western University’s residence has tested positive for COVID-19, along with 27 other students.

Western will move back to phase three of its reopening. It will shut down the Western Student Recreation Centre, limit access to libraries and suspend athletics and in-person student club events.

 “These numbers are very concerning,” said Western president Alan Shepard in a media release. “Creating community is one of Western’s strengths, and we know our students desperately want to have some on-campus experiences. But, unfortunately, this development means we will be limiting those experiences.”

Twenty-five per cent of Western’s courses have an in-person component. On-campus classes will continue, and residences will remain open.

The university said is planning to “use the full force of the code of student conduct should students risk the health and safety of the community through their actions.”

Western said it is working closely with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) to isolate and prevent further spread of the virus. The student in residence is now in isolation.

In a media conference held by the MLHU, Dr. Chris Mackie explained that the infected students had a number of close interactions in downtown bars and restaurants and with students in neighbouring housing units before developing symptoms and getting tested.

“Having seen significant high risk activity over this past weekend, we know that there will be more cases,” he said.

In the conference, London Mayor Ed Holder said he was disappointed by the rapid increase in cases seen in London since Sept. 13, when the MLHU declared a community outbreak, and 32 new cases were seen in the area in the span of five days.

“To those who are part of the problem, I cannot put it any more plainly. If this continues, you are going to kill someone,” Holder said. “If the daily case counts remain this high for a sustained period, community spread is a near certainty, and it’s a matter of when – not if – somebody dies.”

Since the outbreak, London and Western’s testing centres reached testing capacity several days in a row.

This story is ongoing.