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For the second day in a row, the London and Middlesex region set a staggering new single-day coronavirus case record Tuesday after local health officials reported 184 new infections along with four new deaths.
The jump — 48 cases higher than the previous record of 135 set on Monday — brings the region’s total case count to 3,856, of which 2,794 have recovered, 42 more than the day before.
At least 112 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Ten deaths have been reported just since the start of the new year.
The four deaths reported on Tuesday involved a man in his 70s who was linked to a long-term care home, and a man in his 60s, a woman in her 70s, and a woman in her 90s who were not associated with a seniors’ facility.
Few other details were released.
Tuesday marks the third time that the region has posted more than 100 new cases in a single day.
The month of January has already seen at least 485 cases — more than each preceding month of the pandemic, excluding November (502 cases) and December (1,723).
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Of the 184 new cases, associated data was only available for 121 of them as of noon Tuesday. The health unit says the remainder are “still in the early stages of investigation,” and notes that data regarding the other cases will be added to its dashboard at noon on Wednesday.
Of the 121 cases with available data, at least 103 are from London, 12 are from Middlesex Centre, two are from Adelaide Metcalfe, and one each is from Southwest Middlesex and Strathroy-Caradoc. Two listed cases are pending a location.
At least 11 of the 121 cases with data involve people aged 19 or younger, while 23 are in their 20s, 19 are in their 30s, 15 are in their 40s, 16 are in their 50s, 13 are in their 60s, 14 are in their 70s, and 10 are 80 or older.
Exposure sources were listed as pending or undetermined for 115 of the cases, while three are due to close contact with a confirmed case and three due to outbreak.
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During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said that with one of the city’s assessment centres closed over the holidays, the case rates seen recently are only a fraction of what is actually happening in the community.
“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.”
Some three dozen COVID-19 deaths were reported last month, and already 10 have been reported this month.
LHSC has had to utilize a mobile refrigerated trailer to store bodies for the second time during the pandemic after its morgue reached capacity.
The Pathology and Laboratory Medicine program is the regional forensic pathology unit for southwestern Ontario, and can hold up to 28 bodies.
“We expect the capacity challenge to be resolved within days,” said Glen Kearns, LHSC’s integrated vice president of diagnostics services and chief information officer, in a statement.
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The region’s seven-day case average stands at 109.2 as of Tuesday, compared to 97.0 on Monday and 80.28 on Dec. 31.
The 14-day average, meantime, stands at 89.64 compared to 81.07 on Monday and 75.78 as of 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 LHSC stood at 38 as of Tuesday, unchanged from the day before. The number of COVID-19 inpatients in critical or intensive care also remained unchanged at nine.
The number of active staff cases within LHSC rose by one to 28.
The organization is currently experiencing two outbreaks at its Victoria Hospital campus. Both outbreaks 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.
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Elsewhere, St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHCL) reported Tuesday that no COVID-19 patients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
At least 10 SJHCL staff are currently infected with the virus — nine fewer than Monday. At least eight cases are as a result of an outbreak at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, which has also left 23 patients/residents sick.
According to the health unit, at least 290 people have been hospitalized in London and Middlesex due to COVID-19, including 55 who have needed intensive care.
No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, however, several are now over, the health unit says.
Outbreaks declared Dec. 20 at Peoplecare Oak Crossing and Westmount Gardens were both deemed resolved as of Monday.
It’s unclear how many cases are linked to the two outbreaks.
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As of Tuesday, 10 institutional outbreaks remain active in London and Middlesex. Eight are located at seniors’ facilities, while two are at Victoria Hospital.
The two Victoria Hospital outbreaks — located in D5-300 and D7-200 — are both tied to fewer than five patient and five staff cases each. No deaths have been reported.
The following seniors’ facilities remain under an outbreak declaration, declared on:
- Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility)
- Dec. 22 at Glendale Crossing (Westminster, Byron, Pondmills)
- Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (SM1, SM2, SM3, MV4, MV5)
- Dec. 23 Middlesex Terrace (facility)
- 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 the health unit, the outbreak at Middlesex Terrace involves at least 37 of the facility’s 80 residents.
“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,” Dr. Chris Mackie said Monday.
“Many of our homes are in difficult situations with multiple residents per room. That’s part of their infrastructure. And it just means that the disease can spread rapidly in some of those situations.”
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Meantime, at Mount Hope, the outbreak there has infected at least 23 residents and eight staff members. Similar numbers for the 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.
As of Tuesday, the health unit says seniors’ home outbreaks alone are linked to 219 resident cases — 11 more than the day before — and 189 staff cases — eight more than the day before.
The outbreaks are linked to at least 51 of the region’s deaths.
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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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At least two new school cases were reported by the health unit Tuesday.
One case is located at Covenant Christian School, a private religious school, and one involves Lord Dorchester Secondary School of the Thames Valley District School Board.
Despite the new reported case, the TVDSB did not list an active case at the school as of early Tuesday afternoon. The health unit says an outbreak has been declared there as a result.
The two cases appear to be the only active school cases in the region. No cases are active involving the London District Catholic School Board, or any other school board.
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In addition to the new outbreak declaration at Lord Dorchester, three other outbreaks remain active, located at A.B. Lucas Secondary School (Dec. 22), Covenant Christian School (Dec. 29), and École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère (Dec. 29).
Elementary students in southern Ontario will resume in-person learning next week, while high schoolers will continue online learning until Jan. 25.
The health unit says a total of at least 173 cases have been reported at elementary and secondary schools and child care/early years centres in the region since early September.
One case is currently active at a child care setting, the health unit says. The case is at Wilfrid Jury Childcare Centre – Whitehills Childcare Association.
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
Officials with London Health Sciences Centre say they’re looking to have up to 1,000 coronavirus vaccinations administered per day in the near future.
In addition, the organization says vaccinations will be expanded soon to staff and physicians in emergency departments, critical care units, and units that care for COVID-19 patients from all hospitals in Elgin, Middlesex, Huron, Oxford, and Perth.
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Long-term staff are the main priority for receiving a shot, which is presently the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
“The Pfizer vaccine’s pretty tricky,” said LHSC COO Neil Johnson, noting its extreme “cold-chain,” or temperature-controlled supply chain, requirements, “but the Moderna vaccine will hopefully be a game-changer.”
During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie said doses of the Moderna vaccine had not yet arrived but “we’re told to expect it very soon.”
Dukelow says the region is in the first of three phases of the vaccination rollout, with the first phase involving “a very directed approach to the small amount of vaccine that we have.”
While the interim goal is a vaccination rate of 1,000 per day, the long-term goal is “as high as possible,” he says.
By the end of the day Monday, roughly 2,700 health-care workers in the region will have been vaccinated since Dec. 23, 2020.
Londoners were limited to 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.
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.
— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel and Sawyer Bogdan
The province reported 3,128 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 51 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 778 new cases in Toronto, 614 in Peel Region and 213 in York Region.
In total, 1,347 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 325 in intensive care. The province also said 245 people are on ventilators in hospital.
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Ontario plans to vaccinate all long-term care residents, workers and essential caregivers in COVID-19 hot spots by Jan. 21.
The province says those living and working in nursing homes in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex will be immunized by that date.
The province also says it will start administering COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario’s Indigenous communities later this week.
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The Ontario government has faced criticism for its vaccine rollout in recent weeks, with some saying the province isn’t doling out doses fast enough.
Ontario says that so far, approximately 50,000 residents have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while nearly 3,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have also been administered.
— This article will be updated with figures from neighbouring health units.
— With files from The Canadian Press
Seven people have died and 67 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Southwestern Public Health reported Tuesday.
The jump brings the total number of cases in the region to 1,537, of which 1,112 people have recovered — 59 more than the day before — and 23 have died.
Health officials say four deaths are linked to an outbreak at PeopleCare Tavistock, one is linked to an outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg, one is linked to Community Living Elgin and one involves a member of the community.
Four deaths involve women in their 70s, 80s and 90s (two) from East Zorra-Tavistock, while two involve men in their 50s — one from St. Thomas and one from Tillsonburg — and one involves a man in his 60s from Aylmer.
The update leaves at least 402 active cases in the region, according to the health unit. At least 107 are in Tillsonburg, while 74 are in St. Thomas, 50 are in Woodstock, 48 are in Aylmer and 32 are in East Zorra-Tavistock.
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 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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One new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region and two others continue to worsen.
The newest outbreak was declared on Monday at Caressant Care Bonnie Place involving one resident case.
Meantime, an outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg has led to 55 resident cases — four of whom have since died — and 35 staff cases.
“Maple Manor is in an outbreak, but this home is not an island. Outbreaks like this reflect what’s happening across our region,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, the region’s medical officer of health, in a statement Tuesday.
“We have many cases in our communities, not enough people are isolating when they have symptoms or test positive, and we need everyone to stop having close contact with people they do not live with.”
Another severe outbreak, located at PeopleCare Tavistock, has been tied to 32 resident cases and 24 staff cases, unchanged from the day before. At least four people have died in connection with the outbreak — an increase of four from Monday.
Elsewhere, outbreaks remain 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 21 outbreaks have been declared in the region at 15 separate facilities.
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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.
At least 64 school cases have been reported in the region since the school year began, most of them in Elgin County.
Aylmer remains the hardest-hit area in the health unit’s jurisdiction.
At least 278 cases have been reported in the town, resulting in an incidence rate of 3,683 cases per 100,000 people due to its small population.
In comparison, St. Thomas, which has seen 263 cases, has an incident rate of 675 per 100,000.
Elsewhere, Woodstock has seen 242 cases, Tillsonburg 211, Bayham 134, Norwich 117, East Zorra-Tavistock 66, Ingersoll 56, Blandford-Blenheim 43, Zorra 32, South-West Oxford 27, Central Elgin 24, 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.
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Twenty-two more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 20 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Tuesday.
The total number of cases in the region now stands at 776, an increase of 21 from the day before. The health unit says the descrepancy comes after one previously confirmed case was moved to a different health unit.
At least 647 people have recovered and 22 have died, most recently on Dec. 30.
The health unit says 15 of Tuesday’s cases are from South Huron, while two each are from North Huron and North Perth, and one each is from Huron East, Perth East and Stratford.
At least 107 cases are currently active in Huron and Perth, health officials say. Roughly three-quarters of them, 30, 28 and 17, are in South Huron, Stratford and North Perth, respectively.
The health unit says at least two people are in hospital due to the virus.
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At least four new school cases have been reported in the region, all by the Avon-Maitland District School Board.
The school board says one case each has been reported at Elma Township Public School in Atwood, F.E. Madill Secondary School in Wingham, St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute, and Stratford District Secondary School.
Two previous cases remain active at Stratford District Secondary School, while one case also remains active at North Perth Westfield Elementary School.
No new cases were reported by the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board. None of its schools have active cases.
Meantime, one new institutional outbreak was declared active in the region on Sunday, and another continues to worsen.
The newest outbreak, located at Seaforth Manor in Huron East, is tied to one staff case.
Elsewhere, an ongoing outbreak at Exeter Villa in South Huron, declared Dec. 18, continues to grow. It’s now tied to 31 resident cases — 15 more than the day before — and seven staff cases.
Two other long-term care home outbreaks and two retirement home outbreaks also remain active:
- Braemar Retirement Centre in North Huron, declared Dec. 26 (two 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 cases, 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 11 resident deaths.
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Of the region’s total case count, 334 cases have been located in Perth County, including 178 in North Perth and 116 in Perth East.
Elsewhere, 222 cases have been in Stratford, while 205 have been in Huron County, including 56 in South Huron, and 15 have been in St. Marys.
As of the week of Dec. 6, the region’s test 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.
Seventy-six people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 47 have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported on Tuesday.
The jump follows a 65-case increase seen on Monday and a 93-case surge reported on New Year’s Eve.
In all, the region has seen at least 1,076 cases during the pandemic — 664 of them just since Dec. 1, health unit figures show.
Of those, at least 725 people have recovered and 28 have died. The most recent death was reported on Dec. 19.
As of Tuesday, at least 323 cases are active in the county. Their locations have not been made public by the health unit.
One new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region, located at Fairwinds Lodge, a retirement home in Sarnia.
The outbreak is tied to one resident case and two staff cases, the health unit says.
Elsewhere, outbreaks are also active at:
- Afton Park Place in Sarnia, declared on Jan. 1 (one staff case).
- Lambton Meadowview Villa, declared Jan. 1 (two staff cases).
- North Lambton Lodge in Forest, declared on Dec. 31 (one resident case).
- Trillium Villa in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 19 (two staff cases).
- Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 30 (one resident case, five staff cases — one more resident case and three more staff cases than Monday).
- Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia, declared on Dec. 27 (two resident cases).
In all, institutional outbreaks have been linked to at least 125 cases and 16 deaths.
Elsewhere, the health unit says a workplace outbreak, declared Dec. 20 and tied to two cases, has been resolved.
Seven workplace outbreaks remain active, linked to 26 cases. The names and locations of the workplaces have not been made public.
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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.
The board did not report any new cases as of early Tuesday afternoon.
It’s unclear if any new cases have been reported by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, as it, like Lambton Kent District, paused public case reporting over the holiday break.
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.
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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.
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.
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