Coronavirus: 2 deaths, record 135 cases in London-Middlesex; 65 cases in Lambton, 51 in Huron-Perth – London

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The London and Middlesex region set another single-day coronavirus case record on Monday after local health officials reported two new deaths and 135 new cases.

The case jump surpasses the previous record of 119 new cases that was set on Dec. 30, 2020.

It brings the region’s total case tally to 3,676, of which 2,752 people have recovered — 30 more than the day before — and 108 have died.

The two deaths reported Monday involve a man in his 60s who was associated with a long-term care home, and a man in his 80s who was not associated with a seniors’ facility. The deaths are the fifth and sixth to be reported by the health unit since Jan. 1.

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At least 379 cases have already been reported by the health unit so far this month, more than were reported in each of the months of March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

The worst month for cases, December, saw at least 1,675 reported, more than all preceding months of the pandemic combined, along with at least 36 deaths and 11 broken case records.

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Out of the 135 new cases, 97 are from London, 22 are from Middlesex Centre and 10 are from Strathroy-Caradoc, health unit data shows. Elsewhere, two each are from Southwest Middlesex and Thames Centre, while one is from Lucan-Biddulph. One is pending a location.

Of those infected, all age groups are impacted, with people under 19, in their 20s, in their 50s and 80 or older affected most.

At least 22 cases involve people 19 or younger, while 27 are in their 20s, 15 are in their 30s, 11 are in their 40s, 22 are in their 50s, 13 are in their 60s, six are in their 70s, and 19 are 80 or older.

At least 131 have their exposure source listed as pending or undetermined, a clear sign that contact tracers are having continued challenges keeping up with the influx of cases in recent weeks. At least three are due to an outbreak, while one is due to close contact.

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“The rates that we’re seeing right now in London and Middlesex are only a fraction of what is actually happening in the community,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, on Monday.

We saw testing volumes decline over the holiday period as cases climbed. So as those testing volumes increase, we’ll see the case counts increase. I’d be very surprised if we don’t get at least 200 cases per day before this starts to level off,” he continued.

“We’re in that climbing phase. That said, everything that we’re doing to protect each other is making a difference. We’ve seen many, many jurisdictions where the rates of spread are much higher, even comparable neighbouring Ontario jurisdictions.”

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On Monday, city police announced that charges had been laid against eight people in connection to an indoor gathering that took place New Year’s Eve in the city’s Sunningdale neighbourhood.

Police said they investigated an indoor gathering in the 2000 block of Callingham Way around 1 a.m. Friday and found a number of people inside and outside of a residence, none appearing to be wearing masks.

A 20-year-old London man has been charged with hosting an indoor gathering that exceeded the number permitted and participating in an indoor gathering that exceeded the number permitted, both under the Reopening Ontario Act.

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Charges of participating in an indoor gathering that exceeded the number permitted were also laid against two 20-year-old London men, one 20-year-old Newmarket man, two 18-year-old London men and an 18-year-old London woman, police said.

Under the province’s lockdown restrictions, no indoor organized social gatherings are permitted with people from other households.

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The region’s seven-day case average stands at 97 as of Monday, up from 80.28 on Dec. 31. The 14-day average is 81.07 compared to 75.78 on Dec. 31.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 3.3 per cent as of the week of Dec. 20, about the same as the week before and up from 2.4 two weeks earlier. Updated test positivity rates are expected on Wednesday.


The number of hospitalized COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 38 as of Monday, a decrease of one from the organization’s last update on New Year’s Eve.

The number of COVID-19 inpatients in critical or intensive care also declined by one to nine.

At the same time, however, the number of active staff cases within LHSC rose by seven between Dec. 31 and Jan. 4 to 27.

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The organization is currently experiencing two outbreaks at its Victoria Hospital campus. Both outbreaks, however, are tied to fewer than five patient and five staff cases each.

“While we do hope our community followed the public health guidance over the holidays and limited social action, given the rate of transmission in the community, we anticipate numbers will continue to grow,” said Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, on Monday of the high number of patient cases.

“As such, LHSC continues to plan for a further surge in COVID-19 patients with a tiered response plan that is being reviewed frequently and adjusted with our local and regional partners,” he said, adding that a surge in COVID-19 patients can result in the cancellation of other services, such as surgeries.

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Elsewhere, St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHCL) reported Monday that no COVID-19 patients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

At least 19 SJHCL staff are currently infected with the virus, 15 as a result of an outbreak at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, which has also left 22 patients/residents sick.

According to the health unit, 286 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 55 who have needed intensive care.

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Institutional outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, but one has been declared over at a local seniors’ facility.

The facility-wide outbreak at McGarrell Place had been declared on Dec. 18 and was considered resolved as of Sunday, the health unit says.

It’s unclear how many cases were linked to the outbreak.

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Elsewhere, an outbreak at Middlesex Terrace has infected nearly half of the facility’s resident population, health officials said Monday.

Dr. Chris Mackie said that some 37 of the home’s 80 residents had contracted the coronavirus since a facility-wide outbreak was declared there on Dec. 23.

“The upside to that one is that staff are very much proactively getting vaccinated at Middlesex Terrace, so big thanks to them. I know they’re doing everything they can,” he said.

Many of our homes are in difficult situations with multiple residence per room. That’s part of their infrastructure. And it just means that the disease can spread rapidly in some of those situations.”

Meantime, outbreaks also remain active at Victoria Hospital, declared Dec. 31 in D5-300 – Medicine and on Jan. 1 in D7-200 – Medicine. The outbreaks are linked to fewer than five patient cases and five staff cases each. No deaths have been reported.

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All outbreaks at University Hospital were declared over last week. As many as 13 individual outbreaks had been declared at the hospital since Nov. 10, tied to at least 174 cases — 92 staff members and 82 patients — and 23 deaths.

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Outbreak containment measures that have been place at both hospitals for more than a month will continue until at least mid-January.

In addition to the aforementioned three outbreaks, nine others remain active in the region, all at local seniors’ facilities, declared on:

  • Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility)
  • Dec. 20 at Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper, Sugar Maple, White Pine, Norway Spruce)
  • Dec. 20 at Westmount Gardens (Apple Blossom)
  • Dec. 22 at Glendale Crossing (Westminster, Byron, Pondmills)
  • Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (SM1, SM2, SM3, MV4, MV5)
  • Dec. 26 at Earls Court Village (third floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (second and third floors)
  • Dec. 26 at Oakcrossing Retirement Living (second floor)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (fifth floor of long-term care).

According to St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the outbreak at Mount Hope is tied to at least 22 current patient/resident cases and at least 15 staff cases. Similar figures for other facilities were not immediately available.

Since March, the region has seen at least 78 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 55 at local seniors’ facilities.

The health unit says seniors’ home outbreaks alone are linked to 208 resident cases — 27 more than Sunday — and 181 staff cases — one more than Sunday. The outbreaks are linked to at least 50 of the region’s deaths.

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No new school cases were reported by either the health unit, the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.

In addition, for the first time in a long time, both school boards reported no active cases at any of their schools as of Monday. No school cases were active at local French school boards or private schools either.

The health unit, however, reported two cases were still active at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School and at Westminster Secondary School.

The health unit also said three outbreaks declared at local schools late last month remained active. The outbreaks are located at A.B. Lucas Secondary School (Dec. 22), École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère (Dec. 29) and Covenant Christian School (Dec. 29).

Elsewhere, one confirmed case is active at a local child-care centre, the Wilfrid Jury Childcare Centre – Whitehills Childcare Association in London, the health unit says.

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Students across Ontario returned to the virtual classroom Monday as part of the provincewide lockdown.

Students in northern Ontario and elementary students in southern Ontario will resume in-person learning next week.

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High schoolers in southern Ontario will continue online learning until Jan. 25.

The move is part of a provincial lockdown that began on Boxing Day and is set to last until Jan. 9 in northern Ontario and Jan. 23 in southern Ontario.

Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported:

  • Dec. 28 at London Central Secondary School.
  • Dec. 29 at Lord Dorchester Secondary School (two cases) and Princess Elizabeth Public School.
  • Dec. 30 at A.B. Lucas Secondary School.
  • Dec. 31 at École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère, London Islamic School, and Sir John A. Macdonald Public School.

Vaccinations and Testing

Twelve days after the first coronavirus vaccine was administered in London, officials with London Health Sciences Centre say at least 2,700 health-care workers will likely have been vaccinated by the end of Monday.

While primary health-care workers from seniors’ facilities remain the priority for receiving the vaccine, Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, said eligibility will be expanded to staff and physicians in emergency departments, critical care units, and units of of care for COVID-19 patients from hospitals in Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, and Perth in the coming days.

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The vaccine is currently being administered at the Western Fair District Agriplex where the city’s field hospital is set up. Some four to five dozen hospital and health unit staff are operating the vaccination clinic there.

“By expanding the numbers of groups eligible to receive the vaccine, we are confident we will meet our target of 500 vaccinations per day,” he said, adding they hoped to get that figure up to 1,000 per day in the near future.

All doses that have been administered in London and Middlesex have been the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the health unit said.

“We don’t have them and they’re not in this region at this point,” Dr. Chris Mackie said of the Moderna vaccine. “We’re told to expect it very soon.”

“Moderna’s vaccine is a little bit more flexible from a cold chain perspective, so we will be taking it to long-term care and retirement homes to deliver to the residents of those homes — exclusive direction from the ministry on that.”

Provincially, at least 42,419 doses had been administered as of Sunday night.

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Londoners were limited to only the Carling Heights Optimist Centre assessment centre over the holiday season. Visits there have been steady, numbering between 420 and 550 per day since Dec. 28.

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Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only, however appointment slots have been consistently full recently. Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.

The city’s assessment centres have seen more than 131,000 people since they opened in April, and have swabbed more than 125,000 people.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 3.3 per cent as of the week of Dec. 20, about the same as the week before and up from 2.4 two weeks earlier. Updated numbers are expected Wednesday.

Ontario is reporting 3,270 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 29 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 917 cases are in Toronto, 581 in Peel, 389 in York Region and 246 in Windsor-Essex County.

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There are 1,190 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, including 333 patients in intensive care.

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Meanwhile, an Ontario health-care worker is the first person in the province to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Anita Quidangen was given her second shot Monday at Toronto’s University Health Network.

Quidangen says she hopes others will follow in her footsteps as the province continues its rollout of two COVID-19 vaccines.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who was present as Quidangen and four others were set to receive their second dose, acknowledged there have been “a few bumps in the road” in the province’s immunization campaign.

But he says the program is ramping up and there should be a “significant difference” in the next few weeks.

As of 8 p.m. on Sunday night, the province says 42,419 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario. Of those, 4,808 doses were administered Sunday.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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Two people have died, 47 others have tested positive for the coronavirus and 15 others have recovered, Southwestern Public Health reported Monday.

The update brings the region’s total case count to 1,470, of which 1,053 people have recovered and 16 have died.

Details about the deceased were not immediately available. The deaths are the second and third to be reported so far this month.

At least 347 cases are currently active in the region, according to health officials. Of those, at least 95 are in Tillsonburg, 81 are in St. Thomas, 53 are in Aylmer, 47 are in Woodstock, 36 are in East Zorra-Tavistock and 22 are in Norwich Township.

At least 19 people were reported to be hospitalized as of Thursday, the most recent figures available. At least six were in intensive care.

The region posted a record single-day case increase of 75 on Saturday, the health unit said. Last week, the health unit reported that recent projections found the region could see 100 daily cases or more this month.

The health unit says the most recent test per cent positivity rate seen in the region of 3.5 per cent is above the critical 3.0 per cent threshold that determines whether an area is at risk of being overwhelmed by cases.

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, however several remain active.

An outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home is the worst the region has seen so far during the pandemic, with 50 resident cases, 33 staff cases and one death. One new resident case and one new staff case were reported Monday. The outbreak was declared Dec. 12.

Elsewhere, 32 residents and 24 staff members have tested positive at PeopleCare Tavistock following an outbreak that was declared there on Dec. 16. One new staff case was reported Monday.

Elsewhere, outbreaks remained active at:

  • Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock, declared Jan. 1 (one staff case).
  • Elgin Manor, declared Dec. 21 (two resident cases).
  • Seasons Retirement Home, declared Dec. 17 (two staff cases).
  • Bethany Care Home in Norwich, declared Dec. 10 (three staff cases).
  • Terrace Lodge, declared Dec. 19 (five staff cases).
  • Chartwell Aylmer, declared Dec. 19 (three staff cases).

At least 20 outbreaks have been declared in the region at 14 separate facilities.

Meantime, no new school cases were reported in the region on Monday. No active cases are listed by the Thames Valley District School Board or by the London District Catholic School Board.

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At least 64 school cases have been reported in the region since the school year began, most of them in Elgin County.

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Aylmer remains the hardest-hit area in its jurisdiction, both by overall cases and by cases per 100,000 people.

At least 268 cases have been reported in the town, resulting in an incidence rate of 3,577 per 100,000 people.

In comparison, St. Thomas, which has seen 249 cases, has an incident rate of 640 per 100,000.

Elsewhere, Woodstock has seen 231 cases, Tillsonburg 192, Bayham 129, Norwich 115, East Zorra-Tavistock 65, Ingersoll 53, Blandford-Blenheim 43, Zorra 30, South-West Oxford 27, Central Elgin 22, Southwold 14, West Elgin 14, Dutton/Dunwich 11 and Malahide six.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 3.5 per cent as of the week of Dec. 20, up from 3.3 the week before and 2.5 the week before that.

Fifty-one people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 32 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Monday.

The region’s total case tally now stands at 755, an increase of 50 from the day before. The health unit says one previously confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit, causing the discrepancy.

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At least 627 people have recovered and 22 have died, most recently on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

At least 106 cases are active as of Monday, with at least 35 of them in Stratford, 20 in North Perth and 16 in South Huron. At least two people are currently hospitalized.

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared active compared to the day before, but one has been declared over.

The outbreak was declared on Dec. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East and was tied to one staff case.

Elsewhere, three long-term care home outbreaks and two retirement home outbreaks remain active:

  • Braemar Retirement Centre in North Huron, declared Dec. 26 (two staff cases).
  • Exeter Villa Long-Term Care in South Huron, declared Dec. 18 (16 resident, seven staff cases).
  • Exeter Villa Retirement Home in South Huron, declared Dec. 21 (one resident case).
  • Hillside Manor in Perth East, declared Dec. 22 (one staff case).
  • Livingstone Manor in North Perth, declared Jan. 1 (two resident, one staff case).

The region’s most devastating outbreak, declared at Cedarcroft Place on Oct. 27, was declared over on New Year’s Eve. The outbreak had been linked to 50 resident cases, 24 staff cases and at least 12 resident deaths.

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Meantime, no new school cases have been reported and only three are currently active, according to local school boards.

The cases are located at North Perth Westfield Elementary School, where one case is active, and at Stratford District Secondary School, where two cases are active.

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Of the region’s total case count, 331 cases have been located in Perth County — including 176 in North Perth and 115 in Perth East.

Elsewhere, 221 cases have been in Stratford, while 188 have been in Huron County and 15 in St. Marys.

As of the week of Dec. 6, the region’s test per cent positivity rate was 2.3 per cent, up from 1.6 the week before. At least 3,464 people were tested that week, down from roughly 4,200 the week before.

Updated numbers are expected this week.

Sixty-five people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 34 have recovered, Lambton Public Health.

The update continues a staggering surge in cases seen in the county in recent weeks. The region has reported at least 432 cases since Dec. 21, and reported a record 93 cases on New Year’s Eve.

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As of Monday, Lambton’s total case count stood at 999, of which 678 had recovered and 28 had died. The most recent death was reported on Dec. 19.

The health unit says 293 cases are currently active in the county. Their locations are unknown as such information is not made public by health officials.

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Lambton Public Health says another workplace outbreak was declared on Sunday, linked to three cases.

It’s the 16th workplace outbreak to be declared in the county since mid-August, and one of eight that remain active as of Monday.

Combined, the 16 outbreaks are linked to at least 65 cases. The names and locations of the workplaces have not been made public.

Meantime, six institutional outbreaks remain active in the county at long-term care and retirement homes, with the most recent two, declared on Jan. 1, located at Afton Park Place in Sarnia (one staff case) and Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (two staff cases.)

Outbreaks are also active at:

  • North Lambton Lodge in Forest, declared on Dec. 31 (one resident case).
  • Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 30 (two staff cases).
  • Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 27 (two resident cases).
  • Trillium Villa in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 19 (two staff cases).

The health unit says a total of 17 institutional outbreaks have been declared, with all but one located at seniors’ facilities. One outbreak in June was located at Bluewater Health.

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Together, institutional outbreaks are linked to 118 cases and 16 deaths.

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Coronavirus: Health-care worker is 1st in Ontario to receive both doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus: Health-care worker is 1st in Ontario to receive both doses of COVID-19 vaccine

One school case is currently active at Greatlakes Secondary School and at P.E. McGibbon Public School, both in Sarnia, according to the Lambton Kent District School Board.

It’s unclear when the cases were reported as the school board paused public reporting of cases over the holidays.

Similarly, it’s unclear if any new cases have been reported by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, as it, too, paused public updates.

The health unit says two outbreaks are active at schools, both in Sarnia. One was declared Dec. 29 at Confederation Central School, while the other was declared Dec. 26 at Great Lakes Secondary School.

At least 71,035 people had been tested in the county as of Dec. 26, the most recent figures available. Updated numbers are expected Wednesday.

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The region’s test per cent positivity rate was 3.30 that week, a notable increase from the 0.86 per cent reported for the week of Dec. 6.

The health unit says 3,142 people were tested from Dec. 20 to 26.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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