Sunday marks the grim one-year anniversary of when London, Ont., reported its first novel coronavirus case.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit announced its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 31, 2020. It involved a Western University student in her 20s who recently came back from Wuhan, China, which is said to be the epicentre of the outbreak.
Since then, the London and Middlesex region has reported more than 5,600 cases along with 175 deaths.
Speaking with 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady on Let’s Talk London, London mayor Ed Holder reflected back on the year and recognized how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the community.
“People have made a lot of sacrifices, (and) now, here we are, in the heart of lockdown,” Holder said. “No one likes it. I think Londoners are wary, they’re exhausted, but I got to say, people have stood tall in this.”
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Holder recounted what Jan. 31, 2020 was like. He remembered city council was working on budget preparations.
Once he learned of the first local case, Holder said he didn’t realize the spread of COVID-19 would impact the city the way it did.
“I probably didn’t take it too much to heart, knowing the little that we knew and the impacts that this could have.”
Dr. Alex Summers, the associate medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) also recognized the challenges that came with the pandemic.
“This has been a very long haul, this virus will not go away easily, but there’s hope on the horizon,” Summers told 980 CFPL. “Until the vaccine is in as many arms as possible, we have to continue to collectively to do what we can to (ensure) each individual is as protected as possible.”
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As of Sunday morning, the region’s COVID-19 case tally stood at 5,642, which includes 3,787 recoveries and 175 deaths. At least 1,680 cases remain active.
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London has seen nearly 4,900 cases with 238 cases reported in Middlesex Centre and 191 cases in Strathroy-Caradoc. Six other municipalities have had fewer than 100 cases.
People in their 20s make up about 23 per cent of the region’s cases. Healthcare workers account for nearly 11 per cent.
MLHU data indicates at least 336 people have required hospitalization with COVID-19, including 66 who needed intensive care.
Since March, the region has seen at least 93 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including 67 at local seniors’ facilities.
Currently, Summers says the COVID-19 case trend in London and Middlesex is moving downward.
For comparison, MLHU reported 171 cases on Jan. 4, which was the largest daily increase the region has seen up to this point.
Since then, the number of daily cases have dropped, with MLHU reporting 30 cases on Saturday.
“We are seeing a little bit of stabilization over the last couple of days and it’s certainly well-off what we saw a number of weeks ago,” said Summers. “But it’s still high.”
“We still got a ways to go before we can be confident that we flattened that curve, but the decline in cases is definitely a win.”
-With files from Global News’ Matthew Trevithick, Jessica Patton and Travis Dhanraj
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