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For the second time in the last seven days, the London-Middlesex region set a new single-day COVID-19 case record on Wednesday after local health officials reported 47 new infections from the day before.
It brings the region’s total case tally to 1,927, of which 1,546 people have recovered — 48 more than the day before. Seventy-six deaths have 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 305 known active cases in the region, a decrease of two from the record number of active cases set a day prior.
Wednesday’s case jump surpasses the previous single-day case record of 46 set on Dec. 2. It’s also the sixth time this month that the region has recorded more than 30 new cases in a single day, and the fourth time that more than 40 cases have been reported.
The region reported 16 cases on Tuesday, 45 cases on Monday, 39 on Sunday and 24 on Saturday.
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Of the 47 new cases reported on Wednesday, all are from London, health unit figures show.
Those infected span every age bracket monitored by the health unit, however, people under 30 make up nearly half of the reported cases.
Eleven are aged 19 or younger, 11 are in their 20s, five are in their 30s, four are in the 40s, six each are in their 50s and 60s, one is in their 70s and three are 80 or older.
Health unit data shows at least 20 have their exposure source listed as an outbreak, while 19 are believed to have contracted the virus through close contact with another case. Four have no known link, while another four have their source listed as pending or undetermined.
It’s unclear how many cases may be linked to outbreaks at University Hospital. Cases linked with an outbreak can also be the result of outbreaks in schools, workplaces and in other locations.
As of Wednesday, the region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 33.71, while the 14-day average stands at 29.64.
The region has reported at least 279 cases since Dec. 1, more than were reported in each of the months of March, May, June, July, August, September and October — or the months of June, July and August combined.
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Local city and health officials are urging residents to follow pandemic guidelines as the region moves into the cold, winter months.
“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,” Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said Monday.
“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.”
According to the health unit, 1,795 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 stood at 2.1 per cent as of the week of Nov. 28.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients currently in the care of London Health Sciences Centre remains the same as the day before at 57, the organization said.
It remains the highest number of concurrent COVID-19 patients the organization has seen at any one time during the pandemic.
In addition, the number of people in critical or intensive care has declined by one to six from Tuesday.
It’s not clear how many COVID-19 inpatients are being admitted to LHSC per day as such data is not readily available.
Active staff cases at LHSC number 54 as of Wednesday, an increase of two from the day before. Most are likely linked to outbreaks at University Hospital.
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St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, reported no active COVID-19 patients in its care as of Sunday, its most recent update. There was one active case among its staff.
According to the MLHU, at least 208 people have been admitted to the hospital due to the coronavirus during the pandemic, a tally six higher than the day before, including at least 43 who have needed intensive care.
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It’s not clear, however, if the increase in the MLHU tally is due to new hospitalizations, or past hospitalizations that are only now being added into the dataset after case followup.
Two new institutional outbreaks have been declared, the health unit says.
One has been declared at Country Terrace in the facility’s Westwood area, while the other has been declared at McCormick Home in its Evergreen Walk area.
Few other details have been released. It’s unclear how many cases are tied to each outbreak as such information is not made public by the health unit.
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The two outbreaks come in addition to outbreaks at University Hospital, all of which remain active as of Wednesday.
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The hospital outbreaks are being reported as follows:
- A deadly outbreak declared Nov. 10 that has spread to a total of six units of the hospital.
- A smaller outbreak declared Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology and the cardiology offices on the sixth floor that is linked to fewer than five cases.
The six units hit by the Nov. 10 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.
The Nov. 10 outbreak remains the largest outbreak to be reported in London and Middlesex during the pandemic by a large margin and is tied to at least 135 cases, judging by LHSC’s figures. Health unit officials reported Tuesday it was linked to at least 13 deaths.
How many patient and staff cases and deaths have been specifically attributed to the Nov. 10 outbreak, however, is unclear. LHSC officials are refusing to issue such a tally, citing patient privacy given the other, smaller outbreak.
Instead, the organization is providing an overall tally in relation to both the Nov. 10 and Dec. 5 outbreaks, which shows that they’re tied to a total of 14 deaths — one more than the day before — and 139 cases. Of those, 73 have been patients and 66 have been staff, an increase of one and five from Tuesday, respectively.
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As a result of the outbreaks, 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.
In the case of the Nov. 10 outbreak, the health unit has stated its investigation found breaches when it came to the implementation of personal protective equipment (PPE) among staff and physical distancing protocols.
Hundreds of staff members from several wards are currently in work quarantine, meaning they can have no social contact outside of work, according to the health unit.
University Hospital also saw a separate, since-resolved outbreak in 9IP Orthopedics that was declared on Nov. 11, linked to six cases.
Since March, the region has seen at least 58 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 42 at local seniors’ facilities.
The number of active school cases in London and Middlesex stands at 26 after a slew of school cases were reported by local school boards late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
Several cases were located at schools that already had active cases, resulting in the health unit declaring outbreaks at four local schools.
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As of late Tuesday, the health unit says outbreaks have been declared at Ashley Oaks Public School, where four cases are currently active; Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, where two cases are active; Sir Arthur Currie Public School, where four cases are active; and Westminster Secondary School, where five cases are active.
Cases are active at the following schools:
- Five cases are active at Westminster Secondary School. An outbreak has been declared.
- Four cases are active at Ashley Oaks Public School. An outbreak has been declared.
- Four cases are active at Sir Arthur Public School. An outbreak has been declared.
- Two cases are active at London Christian High, a private religious school.
- Two cases are active at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School. An outbreak has been declared.
- One case is active at C.C. Carrothers Public School.
- One case is active at London Central Secondary School.
- One case is active at Rick Hansen Public School.
- One case is active at Ryerson Public School.
- One case is active at St. John French Immersion Catholic Elementary School.
- One case is active at St Marguerite d’Youville School. An outbreak declaration remains active at the school from Nov. 30.
- One case is active at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School.
- One case is active at Stoney Creek Public School.
- One case is active at Westmount Public School.
The region has seen at least 73 schools report cases since the beginning of September.
Twenty-six school cases have been reported just this month.
Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:
- 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.
- Nov. 28 at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School involving one student.
- Nov. 28 at St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Elementary School involving one student.
At Western University, two outbreaks remain active at Perth Hall and Saugeen Maitland-Hall student residences. Late last week, health officials said they expected the outbreaks to be declared over in the near future.
At least 10,010 people were tested for the coronavirus during the week of Nov. 29, according to the most recent testing figures issued by the health unit.
The tally was a notable increase from the 8,408 reported the week prior.
The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 2.1 per cent as of the week of Nov. 28, up from 1.7 per cent the week before.
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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 a recent uptick in visits, 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 is reporting 1,890 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 28 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 517 cases are in Toronto, 471 in Peel Region and 187 in York Region.
In the province’s long-term care homes, 618 residents currently have COVID-19 and 11 new deaths have been reported Tuesday.
The province says 115 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
It also reported 207 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 174 among students.
Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 866 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
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Meanwhile, hospitals in Ontario’s York Region said they have reached a “tipping point” in COVID-19 admissions.
A joint statement from the CEOs of Mackenzie Health, Markham Stouffville Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Centre highlighted a “significant increase” in admissions due to the novel coronavirus in recent weeks.
The group said they were concerned that the trend could impact access to other health care, like scheduled surgeries, and called on residents to wear masks in public and forgo gathering over the holidays in order to protect the community.
York Region is currently in the red level of the province’s pandemic response framework — the strictest public health measures short of a lockdown.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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