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The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting another record for new coronavirus cases with 88 reported Wednesday.
The update brings the region’s total case count to 2,696, of which 2,106 people have recovered — 29 more than the day before — and 93 have died.
At least 1,048 of those cases and 27 of those deaths — 36.7 and 29 per cent, respectively — have occurred just since Dec. 1, the result of a still-ongoing surge in cases that health officials worry will only accelerate with the holidays.
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The Ford government announced Monday that all of Ontario would go into lockdown effective Boxing Day in a bid to bring similar surges seen provincewide under control.
Health officials said Tuesday’s reported deaths involved a man in his 60s who was not linked to a seniors’ facility and a man 80 or older who was associated with a long-term care home.
Whether the one death is linked to outbreaks at University Hospital is unclear. At least 16 of the 27 deaths reported this month have been tied to the facility.
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As was the case on Monday, a vast majority of cases have their exposure sources listed as pending or undetermined, a sign that the recent rise in cases is having an impact on contact tracing efforts.
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During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said the health unit was continuing to follow up with cases and contacts to make sure they are isolating and quarantining.
“However, as the case volumes go up, our ability to spend more and more time with each and every single case to investigate where they may have gotten it will inevitably go down,” he said.
“This is one reason why the more broad public health measures will become necessary, because across the province, public health capacity to investigate each and every single case will be stretched.”
The 1,048 cases reported so far this month are more than has been seen during any full month of the pandemic up to this point, and more than what was seen between March 1 and Oct. 1, according to the health unit.
The tally is also nearly double the cases seen during all of November, which stands as the second-worst month for cases in the region.
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London-Middlesex has set nine new single-day case records this month, most recently on Wednesday.
The region’s seven-day average stands at 62.28 as of Tuesday, compared to 44.28 on Friday, while the 14-day average is 52.14, compared to 40.42 on Friday.
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 London Health Sciences Centre remained unchanged from the day before at 17.
Fewer than five are in critical or intensive care, the organization reported.
At the same time, the number of staff cases declined from 27 to 25.
No COVID-19 inpatients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. Three cases are active among the organization’s health-care staff.
The health unit says at least 241 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic, including at least 45 who have needed intensive care. That total number of hospitalizations not in the ICU is up by one from the day before.
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Despite the lower number of COVID-19 patients — the tally stood at a high of 57 on Dec. 9 — LHSC officials say they’re concerned the number will rebound after the holidays.
During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Adam Dukelow, the organization’s chief medical officer, said seven operating rooms would be running at University Hospital over the holidays, with eight to 12 in operation at Victoria Hospital.
The figures, he said, are in line with previous holiday breaks, which tend to see a lower number of procedures and surgeries.
However, he noted LHSC officials anticipated being unable to return to typical operating room capacity after the holiday period due to expected constraints to inpatient beds, critical care and health and human resources.
The organization, he said, would prioritize patients based on acuity and urgency, focusing on those who are higher priority. Any patient impacted will be contacted directly, he said.
Two more outbreaks at Glendale Crossing Nursing home and Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care as of Wednesday.
The outbreak at Glendale Crossing affects the Westminster and Byron areas and the outbreak at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care impacts SM1, SM2 and MV4.
The total number of active outbreaks at the hospital to four.
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Outbreaks that remain active were 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 Tuesday, one related outbreak remained active in 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine.)
- Dec. 5 in 5IP Cardiology. (Separate from the cardiology offices.)
- Dec. 19 in U7 Clinical Neurosciences.
Outbreaks at the hospital in 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant, 5IP Cardiology (offices), 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery, 8IP General Surgery, 9IP Orthopaedics, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and the 10th floor Epilepsy Monitoring Unit have since resolved.
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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.
There are limits on visitors at both hospitals. As of Dec. 26, due to the lockdown, LHSC says it will only be permitting essential care partners to visit patients in hospital.
Elsewhere, two outbreaks remain active at Victoria Hospital, tied to two deaths, fewer than five patient cases and five staff cases:
- Dec. 15 in C5-100 ENT/Burns/Plastics
- Dec. 16 in C6-400 Acute Medicine
Outbreaks also remain active at several seniors homes in the region, according to the health unit:
- Chelsey Park (long-term care, second floor)
- Country Terrace (Woodcrest)
- Dearness Home (facility-wide)
- McCormick Home (Evergreen Walk)
- McGarrell Place (facility-wide)
- Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper, Norway Spruce, Sugar Maple, White Pine)
- Sisters of St. Joseph (Care Centre – East and North Hall)
- Westmount Gardens (Apple Blossom)
- Glendale Crossing (Westminster, Byron)
- Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (SM1, SM2, MV4)
Since March, the region has seen at least 71 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 50 at local seniors’ facilities.
Outbreaks at seniors’ facilities alone have been linked to 130 resident cases, 143 staff cases and 45 deaths, most recently Tuesday.
Two cases were reported late Monday by the Thames Valley District School Board, both at White Oaks Public School.
On Tuesday, the health unit reported one case at Clarke Road Secondary School, while the London District Catholic School Board reported a case at Regina Mundi Catholic College.
A new case was also reported at École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère.
One case was also reported at Mulberry Bush Child Care Center, the health unit said.
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At least 31 cases are active at schools in the region, according to the health unit. A full list can be found on the MLHU website.
Outbreak declarations are also active in at least seven schools:
- Ashley Oaks Public School
- John Paul II Catholic Secondary School
- Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School
- St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School
- St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary 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.
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Under the provincewide lockdown announced Monday, elementary-age children will not return to classes as planned on Jan. 4, 2021 and will instead engage in remote learning until Jan. 11, when they would then return to in-person classes in all areas of the province.
Secondary school students in northern areas of the province are also set to resume in-class instruction on Jan. 11, while in southern Ontario, high school students would work remotely until Jan. 25.
Child-care centres are expected to remain open for the duration of the shutdown, though during the period where elementary students will be out of classes, the centres will be prohibited from serving school-age children. Before and after school programs must also be cancelled the week of Jan. 4.
Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:
- Dec. 6 at C.C. Carrothers Public School and Westmount Public School
- Dec. 7 at Westminster Secondary School
- Dec. 8 at London Christian High (two cases), Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, Rick Hansen Public School, Sir Arthur Currie Public School, Sir John French Immersion Catholic Elementary School, Westminster Secondary School (two cases)
- Dec. 9 at Ashley Oaks Public School (two cases), Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School, Sir George Etienne Cartier Public School
- Dec. 12 at Princess Anne French Immersion Public School
- Dec. 13 at C.C. Carrothers Public School
- Dec. 14 at Westminster Secondary School
Vaccinations and testing
Coronavirus vaccinations will begin in the city on Wednesday, according to London Health Sciences Centre, which received the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday.
The region’s associate medical officer of health said Monday that the vaccine would be distributed throughout the region, including to more rural parts of London-Middlesex, and to counties to the north and south.
Summers stressed that vaccines “will be a scarce resource for us here locally for the first little while.”
As announced Friday, the first shipment of vaccines will go to health-care workers in local long-term care and retirement homes, as well as some hospital staff.
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The health unit says more than 119,000 people have been swabbed since April at the city’s two dedicated assessment centres, both of which are continuing to operate by appointment only.
As of Tuesday, both assessment centres are fully booked through to Boxing Day.
Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.
The health unit says roughly 10,435 people were tested the week of Dec. 6, the most recent figures available.
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.
Ontario reported 2,408 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 162,663.
Wednesday’s report marks Ontario’s second-largest single-day increase in cases to date.
“Locally, there are 629 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel, 234 in Windsor-Essex County, 190 in York Region and 150 in Hamilton,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
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A total of 139,010 COVID-19 cases are considered resolved, which is 85.5 per cent of all confirmed cases.
Forty-one new deaths were also reported, bringing the provincial death toll to 4,229.
There are 1,002 people hospitalized with the virus (down by three), with 275 in intensive care (up by two) and 186 on a ventilator (up by 14).
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Twenty-five individuals have also recovered for a total of 815 and 182 cases remain active.
The region’s total case tally now stands at 1,008, of which 815 people have recovered and 11 have died. The most recent death was reported on Thursday of last week involving a man in his 70s from Elgin County.
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The region has seen at least 445 cases so far this month, along with five deaths.
Of the new cases, nine were reported in both Aylmer and Woodstock, while 12 were reported in St. Thomas.
Six of the cases are from Tillsonburg, five in East Zorra-Tavistock, two each in Bayham and South-West Oxford and one in Zorra.
As of Wednesday, at least 182 cases were active in the region.
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An ongoing outbreak at a home in Tavistock has also grown exponentially, health unit figures show.
A new outbreak was declared Monday at Elgin Manor, tied to one resident case.
In Tavistock, an outbreak at Peoplecare Tavistock has led to cases among 10 of its residents and four of its staff members.
In addition, an outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home has also seen 10 resident cases along with eight staff cases.
Elsewhere, outbreaks are also active at Seasons Retirement Home (one staff case), Bethany Care Home in Norwich (two staff cases), Terrace Lodge (one staff case) and Chartwell Aylmer (two staff cases).
At least 17 institutional outbreaks have been declared at 14 facilities since March.
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There are no new school cases as of Wednesday.
At least 15 cases are active in the region as of Tuesday.
- Three cases at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer.
- Two cases at Davenport Public School in Aylmer.
- Two cases at Huron Park Secondary School in Woodstock.
- One case at Glendale High School
- One case at Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas.
- One case at Plattsville and District Public School in Plattsville.
- One case at Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School in Woodstock.
- One case at South Ridge Public School in Tillsonburg.
- One case at St. Anne’s Catholic School in St. Thomas.
- One case at Summers’ Corners Public School in Aylmer.
- One case at Westfield Public School in Tillsonburg.
The region has seen at least 42 school cases reported since the start of September.
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At least 202 cases have been reported in Aylmer during the pandemic, resulting in the town clocking an incidence rate of 2,576 cases per 100,000 people.
Woodstock, which has reported 172 cases, has an incidence date of 398.
Elsewhere, St. Thomas has seen 148 cases, Bayham 114, Norwich 89, Tillsonburg 91, Ingersoll 45, East Zorra-Tavistock 39, Blandford-Blenheim 33, Zorra 17, Central Elgin 14, South-West Oxford 14 and Dutton/Dunwich 11.
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 Perth Public Health has not updated its case numbers. Fourteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while nine others have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported Tuesday.
The update brings the region’s total case tally to 545, of which 472 people have recovered and 20 have died. The most recent death was reported Dec. 10.
The health unit says three cases each were reported in North Perth and Perth East, while two cases were reported in Morris Turnberry.
One case each was reported in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Goderich, Howick, Huron East, South Huron and Stratford.
At least 52 active cases remain in the region. At least two people are in hospital.
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No new school cases were reported Tuesday, according to the Avon-Maitland District School Board and the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board.
At least nine cases are currently active in the region:
- Three cases at Listowel District Secondary School.
- Two cases at F. E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham.
- One case at Mornington Central Public School.
- One case at North Perth Westfield Elementary School.
- One case at Upper Thames Elementary School.
At least 34 school cases have been reported in the region since Sept. 1.
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Meantime, no new institutional outbreaks were declared and no outbreaks were resolved.
Five outbreaks remain active as of Tuesday, including two at hospitals, two at long-term care homes and one at a retirement home.
An outbreak at Listowel Memorial Hospital is tied to four patient cases and nine staff cases — unchanged from the day before — while an outbreak at Stratford General Hospital is tied to seven staff cases — unchanged since at least Dec. 10.
Elsewhere, an outbreak at Exeter Villa is tied to one resident and one staff case, while an outbreak at Knollcrest Lodge is tied to one staff case.
An outbreak at Cedarcroft Place declared Oct. 27 — currently the oldest ongoing outbreak in the region — is tied to 50 resident cases and 24 staff cases. At least 12 residents have died.
No new cases have been reported at Cedarcroft since at least Dec. 7 and no cases are presently active.
At least 20 institutional outbreaks have been declared at 15 facilities since March, linked to 128 cases and at least 16 deaths — 12 at Cedarcroft and four at Greenwood Court in the spring.
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At least 245 cases have been in Perth County — with at least 116 in North Perth and 104 in Perth East — while 171 cases and at least 16 deaths have been in Stratford.
Elsewhere, 121 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.
Twenty-seven people have tested positive for the coronavirus and another eight have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Wednesday. This the largest single-day increase for the region.
The region’s total case count is now 565, of which 445 people have recovered and 28 have died. The most recent death was reported Saturday.
At least 92 cases are active in the county, the locations of which are unclear.
Wednesday’s update continues a spike in cases seen in recent days.
The health unit says the increase is the result of formal and informal social gatherings.
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At least seven outbreaks are currently active in the region, six of them at unnamed workplaces, linked to a total of 26 cases — three more than the day before. The most recent workplace outbreak was declared on Sunday.
An outbreak is also active at Trillium Villa, declared on Saturday, linked to two staff cases. It’s the first seniors’ facility outbreak to be declared in the county since Oct. 30.
The health unit says 21 outbreaks have been declared since the pandemic began, linked to 145 cases and 16 deaths. All 16 deaths are tied to outbreaks at two seniors’ homes in the spring.
It’s unclear if any new school cases have been confirmed or resolved as both the Lambton Kent District School Board and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board have paused the public reporting of cases on their websites until after the holidays.
As of their last updates on Friday, one case was active at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Sarnia.
At least 12 school cases have been reported in the county since the start of the school year.
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 Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian Press
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