Coronavirus: 1 death, 33 cases in London-Middlesex as province moves region to red-control tier – London

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The region’s total coronavirus case tally eclipsed the 2,000 mark on Friday as the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported one death, 33 new cases and 32 recoveries.

At least 2,013 cases have been reported in London and Middlesex since the pandemic began, of which 1,619 people have recovered and 78 have died.

The health unit says the deceased was a woman in her 70s whose death was linked to the outbreak at University Hospital. At least 11 of the 12 deaths reported so far this month have been tied to the hospital.

There are at least 316 active cases in the region, the most there have been at any time so far.

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Friday’s update caps off a workweek that has seen at least two deaths and 194 cases reported, and two consecutive days of record case increases — 47 on Wednesday and 52 on Thursday.

It also comes the same day the province announced that the region will be moving from orange-restrict to red-control in its COVID-19 Response Framework effective next week.

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Of the 33 new cases reported Friday, 30 are from London and one each are from Lucan Biddulph, Middlesex Centre and Strathroy-Caradoc.

Those infected span every age group tracked by the health unit, with people in their 20s and 30s appearing the most.

Three people are aged 19 or younger, nine are in their 20s, seven are in their 30s, three are in their 40s, two each are in their 50s and 60s, five are in their 70s and two are aged 80 or older.

Fifteen cases have their exposure source listed as an outbreak, while 14 are due to close contact with another positive case. Two cases have no known link, while two have their source listed as pending or undetermined.

It’s also unclear how many, if any, are among the large number of cases linked to outbreaks at University Hospital. Some cases may not be confirmed associated with the hospital until days later with case followup.

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The region has reported at least 364 cases since Dec. 1, more than were reported in every month during the pandemic except for November. It’s also more than what was reported in May, June, July and August put together.

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The steady influx of new cases, coupled with numerous outbreak declarations, including at University Hospital and several area schools, has prompted the province to shift the London-Middlesex region into the more restrictive red-control tier of its COVID-19 Response Framework.

The change will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

With the move come stricter size limits for social gatherings and increased restrictions on businesses.

Social gatherings and organized public events where physical distancing can be maintained are now limited to five people indoors — unless everyone is from the same household. — and 25 outdoors.

Gathering limits for religious services, weddings, and funerals are capped at 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors.

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Bars and restaurants will now only be able to seat a maximum of 10 patrons indoors, and dancing, singing and live music will be prohibited. The province says outdoor dining, takeout, drive-thru and delivery is permitted, including alcohol.

Gyms and fitness studios will only be allowed to have a maximum of 10 people indoors or 25 outdoors in classes, and 10 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment.

In addition, team sports must not be practised or played (except for training), and activities that may result in people coming within two metres of each other are prohibited.

The province says movie theatres must be closed, except drive-ins, and performing arts facilities must be closed to spectators. Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcast event, however, is still permitted, it says.

Full details on what comes with a move to red-control can be found in the framework document itself.

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As of Friday, the region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 36.57, up from 35.28 on Thursday. The 14-day average stands at 33.42, up from 32.21 Thursday.

According to the health unit, 1,873 cases have been reported in London since the pandemic began, while 41 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 40 in Middlesex Centre and 34 in Thames Centre.

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Lucan Biddulph has seen 12, North Middlesex eight, Southwest Middlesex two and Newbury one.

Hospitalizations

The number of active COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre has declined for a second day to 39 from 44 on Thursday. A 57 patient high was reported Wednesday.

Fewer than five people are in critical or intensive care, according to LHSC.

Current staff infections have also declined, down to 51 from 57 the day prior. Most of those are linked to outbreaks at University Hospital.

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No COVID-19 inpatients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Health Care London as of Sunday, its most recent update. The organization says it will post an update when and if numbers change. Only one active COVID-19 case is counted among its workforce as of that last update.

According to the MLHU, at least 413 people have been admitted to the hospital due to the coronavirus during the pandemic.

At least 43 people have been admitted to intensive care during the pandemic, the health unit says.

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Institutional outbreaks

The number of outbreaks at University Hospital has grown again, after officials with London Health Sciences Centre reported a new outbreak at the facility on Friday.

It’s one of two outbreaks that were declared in the region on Friday. The other was located at Chelsey Park on the second floor of its long-term care facility.

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The new University Hospital outbreak is located in the 10th Floor Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, and is separate from previous outbreaks declared on Dec. 9 in 8IP General Surgery, and on Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology and the cardiology offices.

Those three outbreaks are also all separate from an outbreak declared on Nov. 10 in 4IP General Medicine — an outbreak which has since spread to five other units: 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine.

As of Friday, LHSC says at least 76 patient cases and 77 staff cases — 153 in total — have been reported as a result of the aforementioned outbreaks, which have hit a total of nine units and one office area. The staff tally is six higher from Thursday, while the patient tally is three higher.

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LHSC won’t say how many cases or deaths may be attributed to each unit, however at least 110 cases and 12 deaths had been associated with the large Nov. 10 outbreak as of Dec. 4.

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Non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries remain postponed at the hospital, while ambulatory or outpatient activity remains reduced to only urgent matters.

Previously, the hospital experienced a smaller outbreak in 9IP Orthopedics. That outbreak, declared Nov. 11, was tied to six cases and was later declared over.

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Elsewhere, outbreaks also remain active at two other seniors’ facilities — Country Terrace (Woodcrest area) and McCormick Home (Evergreen Walk area).

Since March, the region has seen at least 61 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 43 at local seniors’ facilities.

Schools

The number of school cases in the region rose late Thursday after the London District Catholic School Board reported new cases at its schools.

The cases were reported at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Elementary School and at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Elementary School, which already had an active case, reported Dec. 6.

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As a result, the health unit says it has declared an outbreak at the school. Few other details are known, but the health unit says the school will remain open.

“Only staff and students in classrooms identified as having had close contact with the cases will be excluded from attending school,” the health unit said in a statement.

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The outbreak joins several others that remain active at schools as of Friday, including at Ashley Oaks Public School, Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, Sir Arthur Currie Public School and Westminster Secondary School. Those schools remain open as well.

An outbreak is also still active at St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School, despite the last active case at the school being declared resolved as of Friday.

School-linked cases have been reported the last 10 days in a row. Any cases reported Friday will come later in the day from the school boards themselves and will be posted to the health unit’s online database on Saturday.

As of Friday, at least 29 cases are active involving schools in the region:

  • Five cases are active at Westminster Secondary School. An outbreak declaration is active.
  • Four cases are active at Ashley Oaks Public School. An outbreak declaration is active.
  • Four cases are active at Sir Arthur Public School. An outbreak declaration is active.
  • Two cases are active at London Christian High, a private religious school.
  • Two cases are active at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School. An outbreak declaration is active.
  • Two cases are active at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School. An outbreak declaration is active.
  • 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 Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School.
  • One case is active at Sir George Etienne Cartier Public School.
  • One case is active at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Elementary School.
  • One case is active at St. John French Immersion Catholic Elementary School.
  • One case is active at Stoney Creek Public School.
  • One case is active at Westmount Public School.

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The region has seen at least 77 school cases reported since the beginning of September. Thirty of them have been reported just this month.

Meantime, in the post-secondary setting, two student residence outbreaks declared three weeks ago at Western University remain active, according to the health unit.

The outbreaks are located at Perth Hall and Saugeen-Maitland Hall, and were declared active on Nov. 21 and Nov. 19, respectively.

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.
  • Dec. 1 at St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School involving one student.

Testing

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.

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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.

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Ontario is reporting 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, and 45 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 469 cases are in Toronto, 386 in Peel Region, 205 in York Region, and 106 in Windsor-Essex.

In the province’s long-term care homes, 604 residents currently have COVID-19 and 29 new deaths have been reported Friday.

The province says 131 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.

It also reported 151 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 125 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 878 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools.

Meanwhile, Ontario is expected to provide an update later Friday on its plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine.

The province has said it will begin immunizations with its first shipment of 6,000 doses on Tuesday.

Retired general Rick Hiller says the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital will administer the first shots to health-care workers.

An additional 90,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected later this month in the province are to be provided to 13 hospitals across Ontario.

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Hillier says the province also expects to receive between 30,000 and 85,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the new year, pending its approval by Health Canada.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Elgin and Oxford

30 new cases and 16 new recoveries were reported Friday by Southwestern Public Health in what is now the largest single-day case jump seen in the region during the pandemic.

It brings the region’s total case count to 709, of which 593 have recovered. Eight deaths have been reported, most recently Dec. 4 involving a man in his 80s.

At least 108 cases are currently active in the region, with at least 26 in St. Thomas, 18 in Aylmer, 14 in Woodstock, and 13 in Norwich Township.

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Since Dec. 1, the Elgin-Oxford region has posted 146 new cases and has set two new single-day case increases. A record 19 were reported on both Dec. 4 and on Thursday.

Despite the steadily high number of new cases, the region will remain in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework into next week.

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The total number of school cases in the region has risen after the Thames Valley District School Board reported two cases late Thursday.

Both cases were reported at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer, which now has a total of four active cases. Details about the new cases remain limited.

The school has seen a total of six cases since Nov. 29, with two marked as resolved.

The following school cases are active as of Friday:

  • Four cases at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer.
  • Two cases at Elgin Court Public School in St. Thomas.
  • Two cases at Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas.
  • One student case at Glendale High School in Tillsonburg.
  • One case at New Sarum Public School in St. Thomas.
  • One case at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in St. Thomas.
  • One case at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Woodstock.
  • One case at Summers’ Corners Public School in Aylmer.

The region has seen at least 28 school cases reported since the start of September.

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The region has recorded a new institutional outbreak, according to the health unit.

The most recent outbreak was declared on Thursday at Bethany Care Home in Norwich, linked to one staff case. It’s the second outbreak to be seen at the facility, following one declared Nov. 12 involving three residents and one staff member.

Elsewhere, an outbreak also remains active at Terrace Lodge involving one staff member.

At least 12 institutional outbreaks have been declared at nine facilities, linked to at least 21 cases, since the pandemic began.

One outbreak-related death has been reported, the health unit says. It was linked to the first outbreak at Bethany Care Home.

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By location, Aylmer has seen the largest number of cases during the pandemic: 145. Given its small population, the town has an incidence rate equivalent to 1,935 cases per 100,000 people.

Woodstock, which has seen the second-largest number of cases overall, 143, has an incidence rate of 349 per 100,000.

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Elsewhere, St. Thomas has seen 94 cases, Bayham has seen 91, Norwich Township 57, Tillsonburg 55, Ingersoll 34, Blandford-Blenheim 18, East Zorra-Tavistock 17, Zorra 13, Dutton/Dunwich and South-West Oxford 11 apiece, and Central Elgin 10.

Three other municipalities have recorded case totals under 10.

The region had a test per cent positivity rate of 1.8 per cent as of the week of Nov. 29, up from 1.3 the week before.

Huron and Perth

Ten people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 10 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health said Friday.

The region’s total case tally stands at 423, an increase of only seven compared to Thursday. The health unit says three previously confirmed cases have been reassigned to a different health unit.

At least 372 cases have recovered while 20 deaths have been reported, most recently on Thursday involving a resident of Cedarcroft Place, a retirement home in Stratford that has recorded 12 resident deaths since an outbreak was declared there in late October.

Of Friday’s cases, the health unit says four are from North Perth, two each are from West Perth and Stratford, while one each is from Goderich and Perth East.

At least 31 cases are active in the region, the health unit says. Five are listed as health-care workers.

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At least three people are currently in hospital. At least 22 have been hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Huron and Perth will remain in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s restrictions framework next week.

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No new school cases have been reported in the region, however several previously unreported cases have been posted online by the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

The school board says two cases confirmed Dec. 5 involved Listowel District Secondary School, while one case confirmed Dec. 7 involved North Perth Westfield Elementary School.

The board notes that in all three cases the infections were deemed “non-school exposure” by the health unit as the individual was not in the school when they were potentially infectious.

At least 13 school cases remain active in the region, two with outbreak declarations:

  • Six cases at St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School involving five students and one staff member. An outbreak declaration remains active at the school as of Friday.
  • Two cases at Listowel District Secondary School.
  • One case at Central Huron Secondary School in Clinton.
  • One case at F. E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham.
  • One case at Listowel District Secondary School.
  • One case at North Perth Westfield Elementary School.
  • One case at Northside Christian School involving a staff member. An outbreak declaration remained active as of Friday and the school remains closed as a result.

One case also remains active involving a staff member of the Avon-Maitland District School Board, according to the province.

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Including that case, at least 25 school cases have been reported since Sept. 1.

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared.

Two still remain active, including at Cedarcroft Place in Stratford, linked to 50 resident cases, 24 staff cases, and 12 deaths.

The outbreak was first declared Oct. 27. One resident case remained active and was in hospital as of Thursday, while one staff member case was active.

Elsewhere, an outbreak is also active at Stratford General Hospital in its medicine unit.

At least seven staff members have tested positive in relation to the outbreak since Dec. 9. The outbreak itself was declared on Dec. 3.

An outbreak at Seaforth Manor was declared over as of Thursday, the health unit said in a briefing. It was linked to one staff case.

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At least 176 cases have been in Perth County, while 159 cases and at least 16 deaths have been in Stratford.

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Elsewhere, 80 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. 29, the region’s test per cent positivity rate was 1.6 per cent.

Sarnia and Lambton

Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus while one person has recovered, Lambton Public Health reported on Friday.

It brings the region’s total case tally to 445, of which 387 have recovered. Twenty-six deaths have been reported, most recently on Thursday — the first the region had seen since early June.

At least 32 cases remained active as of Friday, their locations not released by the health unit.

Two people are in hospital at Bluewater Health, an increase of two from the day before, according to the organization. A total of at least 63 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic.

The region will remain in the yellow-protect tier of the province’s restrictions framework into next week, according to the province.

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One school case remained active in the county as of Thursday, located at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Sarnia.

It’s unclear if any additional cases were reported by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board as the board’s website was having technical issues Friday afternoon.

At least 11 school cases have been reported in the county.

Elsewhere, one outbreak remains active in the region, located at an unnamed workplace in an unspecified location. It is linked to at least two cases and was declared on Dec. 3.

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.

Nearly all of the cases, and all 16 deaths, are linked to outbreaks earlier in the pandemic at Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home.

As of the week of Nov. 29 the region had a weekly test per cent positivity rate of 0.64 per cent. About 2,624 people were tested that week.

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