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Sixteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while 16 others have recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported Tuesday.
The update brings the region’s total case count to 1,881, of which 1,498 people have recovered. Seventy-six deaths have also been reported, most recently on Saturday involving a man in his 60s whose death was linked to a severe outbreak at University Hospital.
There are 307 active cases in the region, more than at any other time during the pandemic.
Tuesday marks the first time since Nov. 29 that the region has seen fewer than 20 cases reported in a single day.
At least 45 cases were reported on Monday, while 38 were reported on Sunday. The single-day case record sits at 46, recorded Dec. 1
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Of the 16 new cases, at least 15 are from London. One is still pending.
Those infected skew older compared to previous days, with more than two-thirds over the age of 50.
One is aged 19 or younger, two are in their 20s, one each are in their 30s and 40s, four are in their 50s, six are in their 60s and one is 80 or older.
Fourteen have their exposure source listed as an outbreak, while two are listed as having contracted the virus through close contact.
It’s unclear how many may be linked to outbreaks at University Hospital. Outbreak-linked cases can also be the result of outbreaks in workplaces and other locations.
The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 33.28 as of Tuesday. The 14-day average stands at 27.64.
The region has reported at least 232 cases since Dec. 1, more than were reported in each of the months of March, May, June, July, August and September — and the months of June, July and August combined.
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“If the province moves us from orange… we will then go into red, and I would say to you, the impact on individuals, recreational activities and business will be substantial,” Mayor Ed Holder said during Monday’s media briefing.
“We know that help in the form of vaccines is on the way, and gives us, I think, some optimism. They’re not here today. And for many of us, they likely won’t be here for several months… All of us know what we should be doing, but not enough are acting on that knowledge. Not enough of us are holding each other to account.”
Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said there was an irony to a vaccine being so close while the region enters the cold winter months, where increased transmission is expected through increased indoor activity.
“If you have any plans to visit with people outside of your household over the holidays, consider a voluntary self-quarantine for the two weeks prior,” Mackie said.
“Minimize any interactions with anyone to reduce the risk that you’re picking up COVID and bringing home something to a loved one. That is not the kind of gift you want to be giving at the holiday season.”
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Mackie also urged residents in London and Middlesex to continue alerting the city and health unit to violations of pandemic restrictions.
“Please do continue to let us know when there are situations that are unsafe, whether it’s in a mall, in a big store or anywhere else. The operators of those facilities have a duty to make sure they’re operating safely and we will help them do so.”
According to the health unit, 1,748 cases have been reported in London since the pandemic began, while 40 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 37 in Middlesex Centre and 33 in Thames Centre.
Lucan Biddulph has seen 10, North Middlesex eight, Southwest Middlesex two and Newbury one.
The region’s test per cent positivity rate was 1.6 per cent as of the week of Nov. 22, the most recent figures available.
London Health Sciences Centre reported Tuesday that 57 COVID-19 inpatients were in its care, an increase of one from the day before.
It’s the highest number of concurrent COVID-19 patients the organization has seen at any one time during the pandemic.
Of those, seven are in critical care or intensive care, one more than the day before.
Current staff cases at LHSC, meanwhile, number 52, an increase of six from Monday. Many of the staff cases are linked to University Hospital and outbreaks at the facility.
It’s not clear how many COVID-19 inpatients are being admitted to LHSC per day as such data is not readily available.
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St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, reported no active COVID-19 patients in its care as of Monday, and said there was one active case among its staff as of Sunday.
Data obtained from the province shows that the hospital has not recorded more than four COVID-19 patients in its care at any given time during the pandemic.
According to the health unit, at least 202 people have been admitted to the hospital due to the coronavirus during the pandemic, including 42 who have needed intensive care.
There has been no change to the number of active institutional outbreaks in the region.
University Hospital remains the scene of the only current active outbreaks in London and Middlesex.
Two separate outbreaks are currently ongoing at the hospital:
- An outbreak declared Nov. 10 that has spread to a total of six units and has killed 13 and infected more than 130.
- An outbreak declared Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology and the cardiology offices on the sixth floor that has been tied to fewer than five cases.
The Nov. 10 outbreak is the largest outbreak to be reported in London and Middlesex during the pandemic by a large margin.
As of Tuesday, LHSC said 72 patients and 61 staff had tested positive due to that outbreak, while at least 13 people had died.
The six units hit by the outbreak include 4IP General Medicine, where the outbreak originated, along with 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine.
Non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries remain postponed at the hospital, while ambulatory or outpatient activity remains reduced to only urgent matters.
COVID-19 testing of staff and patients has been ongoing at the hospital, with staff and patients in outbreak units being tested every three to four days, LHSC officials say.
University Hospital outbreaks ‘not the driver’ of COVID-19 cases in London area
The health unit’s investigation into the Nov. 10 outbreak found there had been breaches when it came to the implementation of personal protective equipment (PPE) among staff and physical distancing protocols.
Mackie said during Monday’s media briefing that “hundreds” of staff members from a number of wards were in work quarantine as a result of the outbreak, meaning they may have no social contact outside of work.
“This has been given as a letter of instruction and public health direction,” he said of the work quarantines.
“We don’t have an order in place, we’re not issuing public health orders in these circumstances, but certainly wouldn’t hesitate to do so if there was any evidence that the directives were not being followed.”
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He noted that although the outbreak has grown exponentially since it was first declared, it is not the driver of the consistently high daily case counts the region has recently seen.
Of the 45 cases reported on Monday, only 10 were linked to the Nov. 10 hospital outbreak.
“UH is contributing, but you’ve also got a couple of smaller outbreaks that are in the sort of three to six positives range. And then most of the cases that we’re able to trace at this point are related to previous cases, so somebody who’s a household contact or another close contact of a previous case, that’s the majority of our cases right now,” he said.
“And we still have in the range of a quarter to a third of cases where we’re not able to trace, so truly community-acquired with no known source.”
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University Hospital has also seen a separate, smaller outbreak in 9IP Orthopedics that was declared on Nov. 11, linked to six cases. It has since been resolved.
Since March, the region has seen at least 56 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 40 at local seniors’ facilities.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, the number of active school cases in the region stands at at least 20 after the Thames Valley District School Board reported a local case late Monday, and two cases were reported at a private school.
The TVDSB case, located at Westminster Secondary School in London, is the fifth to be reported at the school since the start of September.
The case is also among three that are currently active at the school. The previous two cases were reported Dec. 3 and Dec. 6, both involving students. It’s not clear yet if this most recent case involves a staff member or student.
Elsewhere, two cases were reported at London Christian High, a private religious high school in the city. A letter sent home to parents stated that more than a third of the school’s student population may have been exposed to the virus.
As a result, the school is being closed temporarily and will shift entirely to e-learning.
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The region has recorded at least 65 school cases since the start of September.
Not including the aforementioned cases, cases also remain at the following schools:
- One student case is active at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School.
- Two student cases are active at St. Marguerite d’Youville School. A class outbreak has since been declared by the health unit.
- One student case is active at Stoney Creek Public School.
- One student case is active at London Central Secondary School.
- Three student cases are active at Sir Arthur Currie Public School.
- Two student cases are active at Ashley Oaks Public School.
- One student case is active at Ryerson Public School.
- One student case is active at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School.
- One student case is active at C.C. Carrothers Public School.
- One student case is active at Westmount Public School.
- One staff case is active at St. Thomas Catholic Secondary School.
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At Western University, two outbreaks remain active at Perth Hall and Saugeen Maitland-Hall student residences. Late last week, health officials said the outbreaks would likely be declared over soon.
Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:
- Nov. 13 at Académie de la Tamise involving one staff member.
- Nov. 14 at Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School involving one student.
- Nov. 19 at Saunders Secondary School involving one student.
- Nov. 20 at Providence Reformed Collegiate.
- Nov. 20 at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School involving one student.
- Nov. 21 and 22 at Catholic Central High School involving two students.
- Nov. 23 at Lord Dorchester Secondary School involving one student.
At least 8,055 people were tested for the coronavirus during the week of Nov. 22, according to the most recent testing figures issued by the health unit.
The tally was slightly higher than the 7,624 reported the week prior.
The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 1.6 per cent as of the week of Nov. 22, up from 1.3 per cent the week before.
New data is expected to be released this week.
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The city’s two dedicated assessment centres, Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, continue to operate normally, both by appointment only.
Carling Heights has seen an uptick in visits over the last week, recording an average of 428 visits over five days from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, up from 381 between Nov. 23 and 27.
At Oakridge Arena, numbers have been largely stable. The centre recorded a five-day average of 319 visits from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 compared to 318 between Nov. 23 and 27.
Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.
Ontario reported 1,676 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 10 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 588 new cases are in Toronto, 349 are in Peel Region and 141 are in York Region.
It also reported 333 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 278 among students.
Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 853 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
In the province’s long-term care homes, 673 residents currently have COVID-19 and five new deaths have been reported Tuesday.
The province says 116 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
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Meanwhile, Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the province had $12 billion in unspent reserve funds by the end of September.
The financial accountability officer (FAO) says in a report today that the money was earmarked for three contingency funds, including two related to pandemic spending.
The FAO says the $12 billion is $2.7 billion more than his office said the government had unspent in reserves by Aug. 26.
The Ontario budget says that if the money remains unspent in the reserves by the end of the fiscal year it will be used to reduce the deficit and provincial debt.
The government has been criticized by opposition politicians for sitting on billions in reserve funds, which they say it has been slow to spend during the pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford’s office says the provincial budget delivered last month shows that 80 per cent of the reserve funds have been allocated.
— The Canadian Press
Elgin and Oxford
Eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 20 other cases have been listed as resolved, Southwestern Public Health said Tuesday.
That brings the region’s total case tally to 648, of which 550 people have resolved. At least eight deaths have been reported, most recently on Friday involving a man in his 80s.
As of Tuesday, 90 cases are active in the region, nearly split between Elgin and Oxford counties with 47 and 43 cases, respectively.
At least 20 cases are active in St. Thomas, while 18 are active in Aylmer and 17 in Woodstock.
The region has recorded at least 85 cases since Dec. 1. The region is currently in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s framework.
Last week, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Joyce Lock, said the numbers the health unit has been seeing recently — including a record 19-case jump on Friday — was “predictive of a move to” the red tier of the framework.
In an open letter Monday, the health unit urged residents to “conserve our energy for the long months ahead, rather than spend it in disagreement” over public health measures, such as mask mandates.
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The number of active school cases has risen by four after the Thames Valley District School Board reported cases at three of its schools in Elgin County late Monday.
The cases include two at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer, and one each at Elgin Court Public School and Parkside Collegiate Institute, both in St. Thomas.
It’s unclear yet if the cases involve students or staff of the respective schools.
The two new cases at East Elgin join a third case that had already been active at the school, reported on Dec. 1 involving a student. Previously, the school had seen a since-resolved student case on Nov. 29.
Overall, eight cases remain active in the region as of Tuesday:
- One student case at Springbank Public School in Woodstock.
- Three cases at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer, with at least one involving a student.
- One case at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in St. Thomas.
- One student case at Glendale High School in Tillsonburg.
- One case at Elgin Court Public School in St. Thomas.
- One case at Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas.
The region has seen at least 21 school cases reported since the start of September.
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One institutional outbreak is active in the region, according to the health unit.
The outbreak, declared on Saturday, is located at Terrace Lodge and is linked to one staff case.
It’s the second outbreak to be recorded at the facility, after an outbreak on July 31 involving one staff member.
At least 11 institutional outbreaks have been declared at nine facilities, linked to at least 21 cases and one death.
The death, the health unit says, involved an outbreak declared Nov. 12 at Bethany Care Home in Norwich, which saw three resident cases and one staff case.
Woodstock has seen the largest number of cases overall at 136, while Aylmer has seen 134, recording an incidence rate of 1,788 cases per 100,000 people.
Elsewhere, Bayham has seen 85 cases, St. Thomas 82, Tillsonburg 50, Norwich Township 45, Ingersoll 34, Blandford-Blenheim 15, East Zorra-Tavistock 14, Zorra 12, Dutton/Dunwich and South-West Oxford 11 apiece, and Central Elgin 10.
Three other municipalities have recorded case totals under 10.
As of the week of Nov. 22, the region had a test per cent positivity rate of 1.3 per cent. About 4,183 people were tested that week.
Huron and Perth
Eighteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 14 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported Tuesday.
The region’s total case tally now stands at 410, an increase of 17 from the day before. The health unit says one previously confirmed case has been reassigned to a different health unit.
The number of recovered cases stands at 337, while 19 deaths have been reported, most recently on Monday involving a member of the community. Further details were not provided.
Of the 18 new cases, seven are from Stratford, three each are from North Perth, Perth East and South Huron, while one each are from Howick in Huron County and West Perth.
As of Tuesday, there are at least 54 active cases of the virus in the region.
The region reported one death, 16 cases, and 13 recoveries on Monday. Huron and Perth remains in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s restrictions framework.
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The total number of school cases in the region has risen by one after the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board reported that a case had been confirmed involving St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in Listowel. It’s unclear if it involves a student or staff member.
The case is dated Dec. 5 on the school board’s website but was not present as of Monday. It joins five other cases that are currently active at the school, reported Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, involving four students and one staff member.
An outbreak declaration at the school remains active as of Tuesday.
In addition, the same board reported that two cases at St. Ambrose Catholic Elementary School in Stratford have since resolved. The cases were reported on Nov. 26.
At least 10 school cases remain active in the region.
The 10 active cases are as follows:
- Six cases at St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School involving four students and one staff member. One case is TBD. An outbreak declaration remains active.
- One case at Central Huron Secondary School.
- One case at F. E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham.
- One student case at Listowel District Secondary School.
- One case at Northside Christian School involving a staff member. An outbreak declaration remained active as of Tuesday.
One case also remains active involving a staff member of the Avon-Maitland District School Board. Including that case, at least 21 school cases have been reported since Sept. 1.
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An outbreak remains active in the medicine unit of Stratford General Hospital, with at least three staff cases reported — one more than the day before.
The outbreak was declared on Dec. 3.
Elsewhere, an outbreak has been declared at Seaforth Manor linked to one staff case, and Cedarcroft Place linked to 50 resident cases, 24 staff cases and at least 11 resident deaths.
No new cases were reported Tuesday at Cedarcroft Place. An outbreak has been active at the facility since Oct. 27.
Including the hospital outbreak, a total of 17 institutional outbreaks have been declared at 14 facilities in Huron and Perth during the pandemic, linked to 107 cases and 15 deaths, including 11 at Cedarcroft and four at Greenwood Court in the spring.
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At least 167 cases have been in Perth County, while 157 cases and at least 15 deaths have been in Stratford.
Elsewhere, 78 cases have been in Huron County, while eight cases and at least one death have been in St. Marys.
Locations for the region’s three other reported deaths were not immediately available.
As of the week of Nov. 22, the region’s test per cent positivity rate was 1.7 per cent. At least 3,529 people got tested that week.
A total of 60,839 have been tested during the pandemic.
Sarnia and Lambton
Seven people have tested positive for the coronavirus while two others have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported.
The update brings the region’s total case count to 434, of which 384 people have recovered. Twenty-five deaths have also been reported in the county, most recently in early June.
Twenty-five cases are currently active in the region. No COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized at Bluewater Health, the hospital reported.
The region has reported 22 cases since Dec. 1, about the same as had been reported in the first 18 days of November and more than were reported in all of October.
The region remains in the yellow-protect tier of the province’s restrictions framework.
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Only one outbreak is active in the region, according to the health unit.
The outbreak, declared Dec. 3, involves an unspecified workplace. The health unit is not issuing any information about the workplace, such as its name or location or what type of workplace it is, unless notifying the public will help identify additional close contacts.
A total of 14 have been declared since March — 10 at seniors’ facilities, three at workplaces and one at Bluewater Health — linked to 117 cases and 16 deaths.
Two outbreaks earlier in the pandemic at Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home, both in Sarnia, are linked to a vast majority of those cases, and all 16 deaths.
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Two school cases remain active in the county, both located at Northern Collegiate Institute & Vocational School and both involving students.
At least 10 school cases have been reported in the county, all involving students.
As of the week of Nov. 22, the most recent figures released by the health unit, the region had a weekly test per cent positivity rate of 0.49 per cent. About 2,623 people were tested that week. At least 58,284 people have been tested in total.
Close contact is listed as the source for 42 per cent of cases, followed by outbreaks for 30 per cent and an unknown source for 26 per cent.
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