Parties in London, Ont., lead to coronavirus outbreak

Two novel coronavirus cases in London on Monday have been linked to an outbreak among “party-goers” at recent gatherings that have infected at least eight people in their 20s.

The cases are “associated with attending gatherings of more than 10 people,” in violation of provincial orders, the Middlesex-London Health Unit said, adding that the first case was reported on June 24.

It’s not clear how many gatherings occurred and when but health officials say they are aware of those at the gatherings travelling to Waterloo and Hamilton.

“There are a total of eight cases among a group of north of 25 people that been gathering various places and various ways,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit and London’s medical officer of health.

Mackie said the cases can be traced to at least one large barbecue in London, while they are still trying to track several other gatherings and trips outside of London.

“Since June 24, a total of eight cases have been associated with these gatherings, two of which were reported in today’s case count,” the health unit said Monday. “The cases associated with this outbreak include six females and two males.”

Mackie said the investigation into the number of people impacted and where they travelled is still ongoing.

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“It’s important for young people to know they are not immune to the virus — they can acquire it, they can have bad outcomes, and they can spread it to other people that are more vulnerable,” Mackie said during Monday’s media briefing.

“We are seeing some indication of a trend of young people taking less precautions, and we hope this outbreak in a group of people in their 20s who are otherwise healthy is a wakeup call to that generation.”

As a result of the outbreak, health officials are reminding the public that gatherings in Ontario are still limited to 10 people, and that physical distancing and mask-wearing is critical in keeping the virus from spreading.

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“While we enter new reopening phases, and start to see restrictions lift, it is important to remember that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still present in our community,” Mackie said in a statement.

“This outbreak highlights the need for ongoing caution during the reopening phases this summer.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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