COVID-19 outbreak declared at London coffee shop

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a London Starbucks location.

According to the health unit, three staff members at the 1164 Highbury Avenue North location tested positive for the virus.

Health officials were notified of an initial case a week ago and received reports on Friday of two additional cases amongst staff before declaring the outbreak on Saturday morning.

The store has been closed since October 11, after the first staff member tested positive. Case investigators have determined that two of the three staff members worked while they were infectious, while the store was closed while the third employee was infectious.

After investigating the new cases, the health unit determined that transmission of COVID-19  occurred at the store. Although the employees worked behind the counter and wore masks, health officials are informing customers that there may have been a low-risk exposure.

“We know many people visit Starbucks frequently and that this news may cause concern, but I want to be clear that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in a situation like this is very low. Any interactions would have been brief and there was a physical barrier that would have reduced the possibility for COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Our priority now is to follow up with these three people directly, determine who their close contacts are and provide the support they need to help navigate this situation.”

It’s recommended that anyone who visited the location on October 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 monitor themselves for the development of symptoms. The health unit is also asking that anyone who does not have symptoms of COVID-19 not seek testing at an assessment centre.