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The London and Middlesex region once again set a new single-day coronavirus case record on Saturday after the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 87 new cases — 20 more than the previous record set just a day earlier.
The MLHU also reported four new deaths, bringing the death total to 86. Twenty-one of them have occurred just this month.
The MLHU confirmed two of the deaths are associated with the UH outbreak, one is associated with long-term care, and there’s no association for the fourth.
The region’s total case tally stands at 2,409, of which 1,898 people have recovered, 23 more than the day before.
One death Saturday is linked to the outbreak at Victoria Hospital — the first to be linked to outbreaks declared at the facility earlier this week. The previous death reported in the region was on Thursday, involving a man in his 80s. His death was tied to outbreaks at University Hospital. Thirteen deaths this month have been tied to that hospital.
Saturday marks the eighth time this month that the region has set a new single-day case record — three records have been set just this workweek — and the first time during the pandemic that more than 60 cases have been reported.
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The region has recorded at least 343 cases just since Monday, more than were recorded during the months of March, May, June, July, August and September.
December has seen at least 763 cases so far, more than was recorded during any other month of the pandemic.
As of Saturday London has 2232 cases, Middlesex Centre has 59, 47 cases are in Strathroy-Caradoc, 41 are in Tames Centre, 14 in Lucan Biddulph, 10 are in North Middlesex, and all other areas have case numbers three and bellow.
The region is currently in the red-protect level of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework.
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The record-breaking case counts seen this week, and continued outbreaks at the city’s hospitals, are prompting questions about whether additional restrictions may be coming for London and Middlesex.
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During Thursday’s COVID-19 media briefing, London, Ont., Mayor Ed Holder urged Londoners to do their part to reverse course.
“Nobody in London likes where we are right now, nobody in London wants our situation to worsen, and everybody in London wants things to improve as fast as possible,” Holder said Thursday.
“As such, we have only three options: first, we can stay where we are in red and under these current restrictions, or the province can decide to place us into full lockdown, or we can work like hell to turn this around and get back to orange.
“This begins and ends with us. Our biggest risk right now, at least in the short term, are the holiday parties and Christmas gatherings.”
“We simply can’t do it this year. It’s too risky. It’s too dangerous.”
The region’s seven-day average stands at 44.28 as of Friday, while the 14-day average is 40.42.
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.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of LHSC has declined for another day, down to 20 from 23 the day before according to the most recent update Friday.
The tally stood at 36 on Wednesday and 39 a week ago.
Fewer than five people are currently in critical or intensive care, the organization reported.
While active staff infections declined on Thursday, they rose by two on Friday to 33. It’s a notable decline from the 51 seen last Friday.
Most of the infections have likely been due to outbreaks at University and Victoria hospitals.
Meantime, no COVID-19 patients were reported to be in the care of St. Joseph’s Health Care London as of Saturday. Three staff cases are currently active, up one from the day before.
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On Friday, the province unveiled that LHSC will be among 17 hospital sites in Ontario that will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine over the next two weeks.
The news comes a day after LHSC officials unveiled that it plans to transfer a number of its patients to other health partners in the region and reduce some services, to boost its own capacity ahead of what’s expected to be an imminent surge of COVID-19 patients during the holidays.
Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, said Thursday that with admissions reduced at University Hospital due to outbreaks, capacity at Victoria Hospital has been constrained.
“We’ve reached out to regional partners and do anticipate decanting some acute patients to area hospitals in order to help with the capacity challenges at Victoria Hospital,” he said during a media briefing hosted by the health unit.
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The plans to boost capacity were announced two days after Ontario Health requested hospitals in grey lockdown and red control zones be prepared to implement surge capacity plans within two days if needed.
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Who and how many patients may be decanted is still being determined. Dukelow said anticipated service reductions would likely be at Victoria Hospital, as University Hospital is already limited to emergent and urgent matters.
One death, the first linked to this week’s outbreaks at Victoria Hospital, has been reported by LHSC, while another outbreak at University Hospital has been resolved.
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The Victoria Hospital outbreaks were declared on Dec. 15 and 16 in C5-100 ENT/Burns/Plastics and C6-400 Acute Medicine, respectively, and are not connected to each other.
The outbreaks combined have been tied to fewer than five patient and five staff cases, according to LHSC.
Few other details were made available about the deceased. The death will likely be reported by the health unit in its update Saturday.
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At the same time, for at least the third day in a row, an outbreak at University Hospital (UH) has been declared over.
LHSC announced Friday that an outbreak declared Dec. 11 in the 10th Floor Epilepsy Monitoring Unit had been resolved.
The organization declared outbreaks over in the 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit and 8IP General Surgery on Thursday and Wednesday, respectively.
The news leaves at least six separate outbreaks active the hospital, declared on:
- Nov. 10 in 4IP General Medicine. (This outbreak later spread to as many as five other units in the hospital, sickening dozens and leaving several dead. As of Friday, related outbreaks remained active in 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine, and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine.)
- Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology and the sixth-floor cardiology offices.
In total, as many as 11 separate areas of UH have been hit by outbreaks since Nov. 10, resulting in at least 76 patient cases and 77 staff cases — tallies unchanged from the day before — and 17 deaths, most recently on Thursday.
UH was also the scene of separate outbreaks in 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery (Nov. 27 to Dec. 11) and in 9IP Orthopaedics (Nov. 9 to 27).
Non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries and procedures remain postponed at University Hospital, and ambulatory and outpatient activity at University Hospital has been reduced to urgent and emergent matters.
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Elsewhere, health officials say an outbreak declared on Wednesday at Dearness Home has been expanded to include the entire facility.
Previously the outbreak had been reported in the 3 East and 3 West areas.
Outbreaks are also still active at Chelsey Park (2nd floor of long-term care), Country Terrace (Woodcrest area) and McCormick Home (Evergreen Walk).
Since March, the region has seen at least 64 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 44 at local seniors’ facilities.
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Outbreaks at seniors’ facilities alone have been linked to 129 resident cases, 129 staff cases and 41 deaths.
At least three new school cases were reported in London and Middlesex late Thursday by the Thames Valley District School Board.
One case is located at A.B. Lucas Secondary School, one case is at Saunders Secondary School and one case is at Wilton Grove Public School.
There are at least 32 active cases tied to 24 schools in London and Middlesex as of Friday, the health unit says.
A full list can be found on the health unit’s website.
Outbreak declarations also remain active at six schools: 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.
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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.
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Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:
- Dec. 6 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School.
- Dec. 6 at Westmount Public School.
- Dec. 7 and 8 at Westminster Secondary School.
- Dec. 8 at Rick Hansen Public School.
- Dec. 8 at Sir Arthur Currie Public School.
- Dec. 9 at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School.
- Dec. 9 at Sir George Etienne Cartier Public School.
- Dec. 13 at C.C. Carrothers Public School.
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 by appointment only.
The Thames Valley Family Health Team, which is operating the centres alongside London Health Sciences Centre, announced holiday hours for the centres this week.
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At least 10,435 people were tested for the coronavirus during the week of Dec. 6.
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.
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 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 27 new deaths.
It marks the second-largest single-day increase to date in the province, behind Thursday’s total of 2,432.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 665 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 174 in York Region, and 170 in Windsor-Essex.
Toronto, Peel and York regions, and Windsor-Essex are currently in the lockdown category of the province’s pandemic framework.
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Ontario’s chief medical officer of health has said the province’s COVID-19 caseload is headed in the wrong direction and he’s made new recommendations for Ford’s cabinet to consider.
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The province said as of Saturday there are 895 people hospitalized with the virus (up by 18), with 256 in intensive care (down by five) and 146 on a ventilator (down by 22)
Elgin and Oxford
Thirty-one people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 35 have recovered, Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported Saturday.
It’s the third day in a row that the region has reported a single-day case jump above 30. A record 33 cases were reported on Thursday.
As of Saturday, the region’s total case tally stands at 894, of which 727 people have recovered. At least 11 deaths have been reported, five this month, including the most recent death on Thursday involving a man in his 70s from Elgin County.
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Health unit data shows six of the reported cases Saturday were in Norwich, five were in Tilsonburg, while four each were in Aylmer and Blandford-Blenheim, three in Woodstock, and two each in St. Thomas, Ingersoll, and East Zorra-Tavistock.
Elgin and Oxford remains in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s restrictions framework.
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No new outbreaks were declared Saturday, while five remain active.
One new outbreak was declared Thursday at Seasons Retirement Home, according to the health unit, and is tied to one staff case.
One, declared Wednesday at PeopleCare Tavistock, is linked to two staff cases, while one declared on Dec. 13 at Woodingford Lodge in Tillsonburg is linked to one staff case.
Elsewhere, an outbreak declared on Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home is tied to one resident and one staff case, while an outbreak at Bethany Care Home in Norwich from Dec. 10 is tied to two staff cases.
At least 15 institutional outbreaks have been declared at 13 facilities since March.
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By location, Aylmer remains the hardest-hit municipality in the region, both by total number of cases and by number of cases per 100,000 people.
At least 172 cases have been reported in the town so far, resulting in an incidence rate of 2,242 cases per 100,000 people.
In comparison, Woodstock, which has the second-highest case total – 162 – has an incidence rate of 388.
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Elsewhere, 126 cases have been reported in St. Thomas, 105 in Bayham, 84 in Norwich, 76 in Tillsonburg, 44 in Ingersoll, 31 in Blandford-Blenheim, 26 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 15 in Zorra, 13 in Central Elgin, 12 in South-West Oxford and 11 in Dutton/Dunwich.
Three other municipalities have recorded case totals under 10.
The region had a test per cent positivity rate of 2.4 per cent as of the week of Dec. 6, up from 1.8 the week before and 1.3 the week before that. At least 4,800 people were tested the week of Dec. 6, roughly the same as the week before.
Huron and Perth
Eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another six have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported Saturday.
The update brings the region’s total case tally to 513, of which 429 people have recovered. At least 20 people have died, most recently on Dec. 10 involving a resident of Cedarcroft Place in Stratford.
The health unit says six of Saturday’s cases are from Perth County, while two are from Huron County.
As of Saturday, 64 cases are active in the region.
At least three people are currently in hospital. Twenty-four in total have been admitted to hospital during the pandemic.
The region remains in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s COVID-19 framework.
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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none have resolved, the health unit says.
Outbreaks remain in place at Cedarcroft Place, a retirement home in Stratford, at Listowel Memorial Hospital, and at Stratford General Hospital.
The outbreak at Cedarcroft Place is tied to at least 50 resident cases and 24 staff cases. Twelve residents have since died. No new cases have been reported at the facility since Dec. 7, and no cases are currently active there.
At Listowel Memorial Hospital, at least four patients and eight staff have tested positive due to an outbreak on the second-floor medicine unit. The number of staff and patients cases have each gone up by one since the day before.
The outbreak at Stratford General Hospital, meantime, appears to be under control, the health unit says. It’s tied to seven cases, a tally that has not changed since at least Dec. 10.
At least 18 institutional outbreaks have been declared at 15 facilities since March, linked to 123 cases and at least 16 deaths — 12 at Cedarcroft and four at Greenwood Court in the spring.
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At least 230 cases have been in Perth County while 167 cases and at least 16 deaths have been in Stratford.
Elsewhere, 108 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 Dec. 6, the region’s test per cent positivity rate was 1.2 per cent, down from 1.6 the week before.
Sarnia and Lambton
One person has died, 20 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while nine people have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Saturday.
The region’s total case tally now stands at 497, of which 420 people have recovered. Twenty-eight deaths have also been reported, most recently on Saturday.
At least 49 cases are currently active in the county, their locations not made public by the health unit.
More detailed information has not been updated from the day before so the following information was last updated Friday.
At least three people were in hospital, according to Bluewater Health — one fewer than the day before.
The region remains in the yellow-protect tier of the province’s restrictions framework.
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An outbreak at an unnamed workplace in the county has resolved, the health unit says. The outbreak was tied to two cases and was reported on Dec. 3.
Three other outbreaks, all at unidentified workplaces, remain active in the county.
One, declared Dec. 11, is tied to seven cases, while two, both reported on Dec. 16, are tied to two and three cases each.
A total of 17 outbreaks have been declared since March — 10 at seniors’ facilities, six at workplaces and one at Bluewater Health — linked to 126 cases and 16 deaths.
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No new school cases have been reported in the county, according to the local school boards.
There is one active school case in the county, located at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School.
At least 12 school cases have been reported in the county since the start of the school year.
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According to the health unit’s broad case map, at least 28,600 cases have been reported in Central Sarnia and Point Edward, while 27,650 have been reported in a region encompassing Petrolia, Enniskillen, Brooke-Alvinston, Oil Springs, Dawn-Euphemia and St. Clair.
Elsewhere, 24,486 have been reported in South Sarnia, 23,129 in North Sarnia and Bright’s Grove, and 21,181 in a region encompassing Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming, Warwick, and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.
As of the week of Dec. 6, the region had a weekly test per cent positivity rate of 0.86 per cent, up from 0.64 the week before.
–– With files from Matthew Trevithick, Ryan Rocca, Andrew Graham, Jake Jeffery and The Canadian Press
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