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One person has died, 26 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 50 others have been listed as recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported on Wednesday.
It brings the region’s case total to 2,200, of which 1,826 have recovered and 81 have died. There are currently at least 293 active cases.
Health officials say Wednesday’s reported death involved a man in his 80s who was associated with a long-term care home. No further information has been released.
At least 15 deaths have been reported since the start of the month. At least 12 of them have been linked to outbreaks at University Hospital, the health unit says.
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Of the 26 new cases, all but three are from London. One is from Middlesex Centre, one is from Strathroy-Caradoc, and one case is still pending.
Those infected span every age group tracked by the health unit. Five cases each are in their 20s and 60s, three cases each are 0-19, 30s, 40s, and 50s, and two each are in their 70s, and 80+.
Health unit figures show at least 16 have their exposure source listed as outbreak, while seven are said to be due to close contact. Three cases have no known link.
It’s not clear how many, if any, are due to outbreaks reported at London Health Sciences Centre’s University and Victoria hospitals.
London and Middlesex is currently in the red-protect level of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. (Full details on what comes with a move to red-control can be found in the framework document.)
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At least 552 cases have been reported in the region since the start of December, more than any other full month of the pandemic. November saw 502 cases while April had 341 and October saw 265.
The region has seen at least three days with case jumps of 50 or more, including two just this week. At least three single-day case records have been set, most recently on Monday and again on Tuesday at 53.
The region’s seven-day average stands at 39 as of Wednesday, driven largely by the three days of 50-plus cases. The 14-day average is 36.35.
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The number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday remained unchanged from the day before at 36, LHSC reported.
Fewer than five people are in critical or intensive care.
At the same time, the organization reported that active cases among its staff have dropped by nine from Tuesday to 38. Many have been linked to outbreaks at University Hospital.
No COVID-19 patients were reported in the care of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the organization stated on its website.
At least one active case remains among its staff as of Dec. 6, the last time the organization issued an update. The organization says it will provide an update if and when case numbers change.
The health unit says at least 233 people have been admitted to hospital due to the coronavirus since the pandemic began, including 43 who have needed intensive care.
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A memo issued by the CEO of Ontario Health to provincial hospitals on Tuesday said hospitals in grey and red zones need to ensure up to 15 per cent of staffed adult acute inpatient beds will be available for COVID-19 patients.
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Matthew Anderson says Ontario will hit a “critical phase’ in the pandemic, with “widespread” community transmission of the virus.
The Ontario Hospital Association is holding an emergency meeting of its board of directors Wednesday, and in a statement Tuesday, said that the holiday season has the potential to exacerbate an already significant problem.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly worsening in Ontario and the resulting pressure on Ontario’s hospitals is deeply concerning,” the statement read.
“In late December and into January, hospitals appear increasingly likely to face a wave of seriously ill COVID patients that will almost certainly disrupt other acute care services and operations.”
The number of active institutional outbreaks in the city remained steady on Wednesday after one new outbreak was declared at Victoria Hospital while another outbreak at University Hospital was resolved.
LHSC says the Victoria Hospital outbreak is located in C5-100 ENT/Burns/Plastics. It’s the first COVID-19 outbreak to be reported at Victoria Hospital in months.
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At University Hospital, meantime, an outbreak in 8IP General Surgery has been declared over, the organization says.
The outbreak was declared on Dec. 9, and was not linked to other outbreaks at the hospital, including the large multi-unit outbreak that began on Nov. 10.
Outbreaks remain active in at least seven areas of University Hospital, including those declared on:
- Nov. 10 in 4IP General Medicine. (This outbreak later spread to 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine, and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine, resulting in outbreaks being declared in those units on Nov. 24. It also spread to 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit, which declared an outbreak on Nov. 27.)
- Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology and the sixth-floor cardiology offices.
- Dec. 11 in the 10th Floor Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
The hospital was also the scene of separate outbreaks in 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery (Nov. 27 – Dec. 11), and in 9IP Orthopaedics (Nov. 9 – 27).
In all, LHSC says outbreaks at its facilities have resulted in at least 77 patient cases and 82 staff cases, along with at least 16 deaths, reported most recently on Tuesday.
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LHSC notes that their facilities remain open, however non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries and procedures remain postponed at University Hospital.
In addition, ambulatory or outpatient activity at University Hospital has been reduced to urgent and emergent appointments, procedures, and diagnostic services.
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Elsewhere, outbreaks remain active at Chelsey Park on the second floor of its long-term care facility, at Country Terrace in its Woodcrest area, and at McCormick Home in its Evergreen Walk area.
Since March, the region has seen at least 62 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 43 at local seniors’ facilities.
Seniors’ facility outbreaks alone have been tied to 122 resident cases, 117 staff cases and 40 deaths.
At least five new school cases have been reported in London and Middlesex.
Three are located at OneSchool Global, a private religious school in Mossley (Thames Centre), while one is at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School.
The London District Catholic School Board is also reporting a new active case at St. Thomas Aquinas, however, it’s unclear when the case may have actually been confirmed as the London District Catholic School Board has stopped reporting each new case separately.
Instead, the board is providing a general active case tally for each school that has an active case or cases.
According to the health unit, at least 38 school cases were active in the region at 22 schools as of Wednesday. A full list can be found on the health unit’s website.
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Outbreak declarations remain in place at six schools, including Ashley Oaks Public School, Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, Sir Arthur Currie Public School, St. Marguerite D’Youville Secondary School, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School and Westminster Secondary School.
Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:
- Dec. 1 at St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School.
- Dec. 2 at Stoney Creek Public School.
- Dec. 3 at London Central Secondary School.
- Dec. 3 at Westminster Secondary School.
- Dec. 4 at Ashley Oaks Public School involving two people.
- Dec. 4 at Ryerson Public School.
- Dec. 4 at Sir Arthur Currie Public School involving three people.
- Dec. 6 at C.C. Carrothers Public School.
In the post-secondary setting, two student residence outbreaks also remain active at Western University. The outbreaks, declared in Perth and Saugeen-Maitland halls, were declared Nov. 21 and Nov. 19, respectively.
At least 10,435 people were tested for the coronavirus during the week of Dec. 6, new figures from the health unit show.
The tally is slightly down from the final tally of 10,767 reported the week prior, but up from the 8,408 reported the week of Nov. 22.
The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 2.3 per cent as of the week of Dec. 6, up from 2.2 the week prior, and 1.7 the week before that.
In total, the health unit says at least 115,000 people have been swabbed since April at the city’s two dedicated assessment centres, both of which are continuing to operate, both by appointment only.
Carling Heights reported an average of 445 visits between Dec. 7 and 11, up from 428 the workweek prior, health unit figures show.
At Oakridge Arena, an average of 329 visits were reported from Dec. 7 to 11, up from 319 visits from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.
Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.
Ontario reported 2,139 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 43 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 780 cases were in Toronto, 528 in Peel Region, 148 in York Region, 143 in Durham, and 111 in Windsor-Essex.
In the province’s long-term care homes, 728 residents currently have COVID-19 and 22 new deaths were reported Wednesday.
The province said 135 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
It also reported 223 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 188 among students. Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 933 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
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Ontario says it is providing $695 million to municipalities to help cover pandemic-related costs.
The funding is part of a joint provincial-federal agreement reached earlier this year to help address pandemic expenses.
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark says the new funding will ensure municipalities do not carry operating deficits into 2021.
Last week, the province’s Financial Accountability Officer said the pandemic will cost Ontario municipalities $6.8 billion over two years.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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