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The London and Middlesex region reported 114 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths Wednesday.
This number of new cases is 70 less than the record set the day before with 184 new infections.
The region’s total case count now stands at 3,945, of which 2,859 people have recovered, 95 more than the day before.
At least 114 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Twelve deaths have been reported just since the start of the new year.
The two deaths reported on Wednesday involved a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s. Neither death was associated with a seniors’ facility.
Few other details were released.
Wednesday marks the fourth time that the region has posted more than 100 new cases in a single day.
The month of January has already seen at least 599 cases — more than each preceding month of the pandemic, excluding December 2020 (1,723).
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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 those actually 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 said.
“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 12 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,” Glen Kearns, LHSC’s integrated vice-president of diagnostics services and chief information officer, said 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 rose to 5.3 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent as of the week of Dec. 27, about the same as the week before and up from 2.4 two weeks earlier.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 inpatients in the care of LHSC is up by four as of Wednesday at 42. The number of COVID-19 inpatients in critical or intensive care is up by two for a total of 11.
The number of active staff cases within LHSC rose by two to 30.
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,” Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, said 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 294 people have been hospitalized in London and Middlesex due to COVID-19, including 56 who have needed intensive care. That number is up by four from the day before.
An outbreak was declared at Oneida Long term Care Home Tuesday.
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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 outbreak first declared on Dec. 22 at Glendale Crossing (Westminster, Byron, Pondmills) has been declared over.
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 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,” 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. Numbers for the other facilities were not immediately available.
Since March 2020, the region has seen at least 79 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 56 at local seniors’ facilities.
As of Tuesday, the health unit says seniors’ home outbreaks alone are linked to 238 resident cases — 19 more than the day before — and 211 staff cases — 22 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 at Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School and one at Lord Dorchester Secondary School, both part of the Thames Valley District School Board.
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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Three outbreaks remain active at Lord Dorchester (Jan. 4), A.B. Lucas Secondary School (Dec. 22), and Covenant Christian School (Dec. 29).
An outbreak declared at École élémentaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère on Dec. 29 is now over.
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.
The case at Wilfrid Jury Childcare Centre – Whitehills Childcare Association is no longer active.
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.”
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During Monday’s media briefing, 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 3,266 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 37 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 805 new cases in Toronto, 523 in Peel Region, 349 in York Region, 208 in Windsor-Essex County, 206 in Waterloo, 192 in Niagara Region and 153 in Hamilton.
All other public health units in Ontario reported under 150 new cases in the provincial report.
In total, 1,463 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19 (up by 116 from the previous day), including 361 in intensive care. The province also said 246 people are on ventilators in hospital.
Ontario reports 3,128 new coronavirus cases, more than 1,300 people hospitalized
Ontario plans to vaccinate all long-term care residents, workers and essential caregivers in COVID-19 hotspots 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 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 Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press
Fifty-two people have tested positive for the coronavirus, Southwestern Public Health reported Wednesday.
This brings the total number of cases in the region to 1,589, of which 1,159 people have recovered — 47 more than the day before — and 23 have died.
The update leaves at least 407 active cases in the region, according to the health unit. At least 103 are in Tillsonburg, while 75 are in St. Thomas, 50 are in Woodstock, 51 are in Aylmer and 36 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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Two new institutional outbreaks have been declared in the region and two others continue to worsen.
The newest outbreaks were declared on Monday, one at Caressant Care Bonnie Place involving one resident case and the second involving one staff member at Goodness Retirement Living.
Meantime, an outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg has led to 56 cases among residents — four of whom have since died — and 39 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,” Dr. Joyce Lock, the region’s medical officer of health, said 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 34 resident cases and 27 staff cases. 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 (four 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 285 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 279 cases, has an incidence rate of 675 per 100,000.
Elsewhere, Woodstock has seen 246 cases, Tillsonburg 217, Bayham 136, Norwich 120, East Zorra-Tavistock 70, Ingersoll 58, Blandford-Blenheim 43, Zorra 35, South-West Oxford 27, Central Elgin 25, Southwold 14, West Elgin 15, Dutton/Dunwich 12 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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Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 12 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Wednesday. This is 15 fewer new cases than were reported the day before.
The total number of cases in the region now stands at 781, 659 people have recovered and 22 have died, most recently on Dec. 30.
The health unit says of the five cases reported Wednesday, three were in North Perth, and one each in Huron County and Stratford.
The health unit says at least four people are in hospital due to the virus, an increase of two from the day before.
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Four new school cases were reported by the Avon-Maitland District School Board on Jan. 4.
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.
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, remains the same, with 31 resident cases 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 was 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, 337 cases have been located in Perth County, including 181 in North Perth and 116 in Perth East.
Elsewhere, 223 cases have been in Stratford, while 206 have been in Huron County, including 56 in South Huron, and 15 have been in St. Marys.
As of the week of Dec. 27, the region’s test positivity rate was 3.4 per cent, up from 1.1 the week before. At least 3,494 people were tested that week, up from 3464 the week before.
Updated numbers are expected this week.
After weeks in the double digits, Lambton Public Health reported only nine people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 43 have recovered on Wednesday.
Wednesday marks the lowest case numbers have been since Dec. 23, when the region reported five cases.
The decrease comes after 76 cases were reported Tuesday and 65 on Monday, and a 93-case surge reported on New Year’s Eve.
In all, the region has seen at least 1,085 cases during the pandemic — 673 of them just since Dec. 1, health unit figures show.
Of those, at least 768 people have recovered and 28 have died. The most recent death was reported on Dec. 19.
As of Wednesday, at least 289 cases are active in the county. Their locations have not been made public by the health unit.
No new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region.
Outbreaks are also active at:
- Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia, declared on Jan. 4 (one resident, two staff cases).
- 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.
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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According to the Lambton Kent District School Board, there are no active cases liked to its schools as of Wednesday.
Despite the update from the LKDSB, the health unit says one outbreak declared Dec. 29 at Confederation Central School is still active as of Wednesday morning, linked to four cases. It’s unclear where the discrepancy in numbers is coming from.
According to the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, both St. Anne Catholic School in Blenheim and St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Sarnia have one positive case linked to a student.
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At least 75,516 people had been tested in the county as of Jan. 2, the most recent figures available.
The region’s test per cent positivity rate was 6.8 per cent that week, a notable increase from the 3.3 per cent reported for the week before.
The health unit says 4,221 people were tested from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2.
With files from Matthew Trevithick
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