LONDON, ONT. -- The number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise at Western University following two outbreaks at a pair of residences last week.

On Monday, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Dr. Chris Mackie, said in a news conference that there are now 11 cases of the virus at Saugeen-Maitland Hall and also 11 at Ontario Hall.

This is the third outbreak on campus with 10 or more cases, following a gathering of business students.

There is at least one case of a variant of concern in each outbreak.

Essex Hall also declared an outbreak on March 2.

As a result, on Sunday Western implemented the additional safety precautions in residences:

  • All common areas in residence (floor lounges, study rooms, main lounges) will be closed
  • Students are to significantly limit their close contacts and use the ‘buddy system’ – that is, interact in person with only one other individual – either a roommate/suitemate or a person from the same floor
  • Face coverings are to be worn at all times except in their rooms
  • When eating in the dining hall, students are to place their face covering back on as soon as they’re finished eating. If they choose to stay and chat in the dining hall after their meal, they must place their mask back on.

Students are also being asked to consider limiting visits home until the end of semester and only participate in outdoor sports where physical distancing is possible.