Coronavirus: 1 death, 24 new cases in London-Middlesex; 1 death, 17 cases in Lambton

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One person has died and 24 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported on Thursday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case total to 5,959, of which 5,558 cases have resolved, according to the health unit’s updated COVID-19 dashboard.

Previously, the health unit reported “recovered” cases on its dashboard, but as of Thursday is posting “resolved” and “active” case tallies.

The new “resolved” figure, the health unit says, “refers to the case investigation status of a case, and includes the number of cases that have been reported as recovered,” as well as cases that are not hospitalized and are 14 days past their episode date.

The figure also includes “cases that are currently listed as hospitalized and have a status of ‘closed’ that are 14 days past their episode date,” the health unit says.

The reporting change, which comes after the MLHU transitioned its case and contact database to the provincial system, brings the health unit’s figures in line with those posted on the province’s dashboard.

It also ends a statistical discrepancy in which the provincial dashboard showed London-Middlesex with a much smaller active case tally compared to the MLHU’s figures.

With the update, the health unit says the region has 221 active cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday.

At least 180 people have died during the pandemic, the health unit says. The death reported on Thursday involved a woman in her 90s associated with a long-term care home.

More information has not been released.

At least 250 people have tested positive for the virus and five people have died since the start of the month.

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Of the 24 new cases reported Thursday, 22 are from London, one is from North Middlesex and one is pending location data.

Those infected skew younger, with roughly 71 per cent under the age of 40.

Six cases are aged 19 or younger, eight are in their 20s, three each are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, and one is 80 or older. No cases involve people in their 60s or 70s.

Eleven cases have pending exposure source data, while seven are listed as being due to close contact and one to an outbreak. Five have no known link.

The region is set to enter the province’s colour-coded framework next week, but it’s still unclear what coloured tier London and Middlesex will return to. Orange or red have been floated as possibilities, based on local data.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Mayor Ed Holder said he was anticipating more information on Friday.

“Regardless of whether we find ourselves in the orange tier or the red tier, we should all take comfort and great pride in how we managed to bring our outbreaks from December and early January under control,” Holder said.

“We’ve gone from daily case counts nearing 200 down to around 20 per day, recently. Our per cent positivity is dropping, our hospital capacity’s improving. Your efforts are making a difference. Your efforts are saving lives.”

The province’s plan to move regions out of the stay-at-home order comes with an “emergency brake” the government could use to quickly move a region into lockdown if it experiences a rapid increase in cases or if its health system becomes overwhelmed.

“Opening up to red-level restrictions would not increase risk substantially in our lives in and of itself, if people are following the restrictions to the letter and continuing to avoid indoor gatherings as recommended,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health.

Mackie said the big question over the move will be whether the change back to the colour-coded system will be interpreted by some members of the public beyond what is outlined in the regulations.

“People thinking that the province is opening up and we should get back to normal next week, or that it’s OK to host large indoor gatherings as of next week, that is definitely not the case, and if people are thinking that, then we will see cases jump.”

Concerns are growing about possible case spikes in March and April as a result of more contagious variants.

No new cases have been found in the region to involve the variant B.1.1.7, first detected in the U.K. A total of four have been confirmed, according to the latest epidemiologic summary from Public Health Ontario.

No cases have been confirmed to involve the variant B.1.1.248, which was first detected in Brazil, or variant B.1.351, also known as the N501Y.V2 variant, first detected in South Africa, according to Public Health Ontario.

Such testing is being done at the provincial level.

“We are definitely concerned about variants locally. We have had variants locally, we’ve documented spread locally, and we’re definitely concerned about what the impact will be over the next few months,” Mackie said Thursday.

Mackie said the region has not seen a lot of spread of variants recently, and no cases are active in the region that involve any variants of concern.

“But we know that in places where variants have begun to come into the picture, they do take over and they do start driving illness rates,” he said.

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At least 5,178 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 244 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, at least 200 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 96 in Thames Centre, 50 in Lucan Biddulph, 36 in Southwest Middlesex, 32 in North Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 107 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre stood at 16 as of Thursday, a decrease of five from the day before.

At the same time, critical care or intensive care patients with COVID-19 numbered five, down one from a day earlier.

Active staff cases at LHSC number fewer than five, the organization says.

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St. Joseph’s Hospital has no active COVID-19 patients in its care, according to the most recent update from St. Joseph’s Health Care London, posted Jan. 5.

The organization says it will issue an update when numbers change.

Staff cases within STHCL stood at four, with three linked to a previous outbreak at Mount Hope. One case is active at Parkwood’s Mental Health Care Building.

At least 350 people have been hospitalized for the virus during the pandemic, including 66 admitted to intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

No new outbreaks have been declared, and no previous outbreaks have been deemed resolved.

Six institutional outbreaks remain active in the region at long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:

  • Feb. 3 at Westmount Gardens (Lily and Daisy units)
  • Jan. 30 at Henley Place LTC Residence (Victoria unit)
  • Jan. 27 at Kensington Village Retirement (5th, 6th and 7th Avenue)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)

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At least 97 institutional outbreaks since the pandemic began. At least 71 have been at local seniors’ facilities.

Elsewhere, an outbreak is also still active at the city’s jail, but provincial data shows it appears to be winding down.

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At least 22 inmates have tested positive for the virus since an outbreak was declared at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre on Jan. 18. As of Tuesday, only one inmate was still considered an active case, down from six the day before.

At least 21 staff at the jail have also tested positive. The provincial data, however, does not show how many staff cases are still active.

Schools

Four new school cases have been reported in the London-Middlesex region by the Thames Valley District School Board.

One case was reported at Clara Brenton Public School, where an outbreak has now been declared by the health unit as there are now two active cases there — the first outbreak to be declared since students returned to the classroom.

The health unit says the virus may have spread between close contacts at the school who have tested positive. Only staff and students in classrooms identified as having had close contact with the cases are being told to stay home.

Elsewhere, the health unit says one case each has also been reported at Arthur Stringer Public School and Princess Elizabeth Public School, both under the TVDSB.

In addition, a case has also been reported at École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf, according to Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, the health unit said.

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In total, the health unit says at least 10 cases are active at schools in London and Middlesex as of Thursday. A full list can be found on the health unit website.

At least 195 cases have been reported at local schools and child-care centres since the pandemic began.

Meantime, one active case remains at Springbank Early Childhood Learning Centre, the health unit says.

Elementary schools and high schools in the region returned to in-person learning last week. The province announced Thursday that it was postponing March break provincewide until April 12.

Vaccinations and testing

The administration of second doses to long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents is expected to be finished by Wednesday of next week, Dr. Chris Mackie said Thursday.

“From the perspective of the number of residents of long-term care and retirement homes, we’re over half-finished. From the perspective of the total number of homes, we’re about halfway through,” he said.

And then hopefully we get a green light soon to be able to start offering additional first doses to retirement homes that have not yet received the vaccine because they’ve been deemed to be lower risk.”

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At the same time, the health unit and other officials are in the midst of retrofitting the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges to open the region’s second mass vaccination clinic.

It’s unclear when it will reopen, but officials said it will be in the coming weeks once more vaccine doses arrive in London and Middlesex.

The city’s first, and currently only, operating vaccination clinic at the Western Fair District Agriplex reopened on Monday after two weeks of closure due to nationwide Pfizer supply issues.

Health officials are planning to open a total of four clinics to vaccinate up to 3,000 people per day. Details on the remaining two have yet to be announced.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 2.2 the week before, figures released Wednesday show.

At least 10,060 people were tested during the week of Jan. 31, a slight decrease from the 10,341 tested a week earlier.

Both of the city’s COVID-19 assessment centres continue to operate on an appointment model and have been seeing lower, albeit steady, turnout recently.

The Carling Heights centre saw an average of 302 visits per day between Monday and Friday of last week, slightly higher than the 289 seen the week before.

At Oakridge Arena, roughly 268 visits were recorded between last Monday and Friday, close to the 264 seen a week earlier.

Between Jan. 3 and 8, Carling Heights saw an average of 513 visits per day, while Oakridge saw 334.

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Ontario

Ontario is reporting 945 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, although public health officials say that number is underreported.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 258 new cases in Peel Region, 116 in York Region and 112 in Toronto.

A spokeswoman for the ministry says that as Toronto continues to migrate its case counts to the provincial database, Ontario’s daily tally is underreported.

Ontario is also reporting 14 more deaths linked to the virus.

More than 68,800 tests were completed since Wednesday’s report.

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The province says 14,717 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the last daily update.

A total of 426,836 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Ontario so far.

There have been 282,511 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began, 263,044 of which have been resolved and 6,614 have led to death.

Elgin and Oxford

Eighteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 15 have recovered, Southwestern Public Health reported.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 2,416, of which 2,232 people have recovered.

At least 64 people have died during the pandemic. The health unit lowered its overall death toll by one on Thursday for reasons unclear. Global News has reached out to the health unit for comment.

There are at least 120 active cases in the region, with at least 74 of them in Woodstock alone. Elsewhere, 13 cases are active in Ingersoll and 12 in St. Thomas, while nine other municipalities have seven or fewer active cases.

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One institutional outbreak has been declared over, according to the health unit.

The outbreak, located at Arches Transitional Bed Program in Woodstock, was linked to one staff case.

Elsewhere, four outbreaks remain active, including at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock, which saw two new resident cases and four new staff cases on Thursday.

The active outbreaks were declared on:

  • Feb. 2 at Trillium Retirement Home in Norwich (one resident case, one death)
  • Jan. 28 at Extendicare in Port Stanley (one staff case)
  • Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (53 resident, 22 staff cases, two deaths; two resident and four staff cases more than the day before)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 38 staff cases, 10 deaths)

Meantime, one new school case has been reported by the Thames Valley District School Board.

The case is located at Annandale Public School in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, one case remains active at Hickson Central Public School.

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The health unit says a total of 467 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 417 have been in St. Thomas, 359 in Aylmer and 327 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 201 cases have been in Norwich, 161 in Bayham, 113 in Ingersoll, 101 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 54 in Zorra, 49 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 44 in Central Elgin, 25 in Southwold, 22 in Dutton/Dunwich, 21 in West Elgin and eight in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, health unit figures released Wednesday show. At least 4,790 people were tested that week.

Huron and Perth

One person has died and eight others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Huron Perth Public Health reported.

The region’s pandemic case tally now stands at 1,280 of which 1,191 people have recovered and 47 have died.

Details on the death reported Thursday were not immediately available.

The health unit says three of Thursday’s new cases were reported in Stratford, while one each came from Bluewater, Huron East, North Perth, South Huron and St. Marys.

The update leaves 42 known active cases in the region, the health unit says. Of those, 20 are in Huron East while six each are in North Perth and Stratford. Six other municipalities have three or fewer active cases.

One person is in hospital.

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Health officials released more details about the ongoing vaccination campaign in Huron-Perth Thursday.

The health unit says as more vaccine becomes available in the region during phases 2 and 3 of the province’s three-phase rollout, mass vaccination clinics and smaller community clinics will come online across the region.

The locations of the clinics are still being determined, but tentative vaccination hub locations of Wingham, Clinton, Goderich, Exeter, Listowel, Stratford, St. Mary’s, Milverton, Mitchell and Seaforth have been discussed.

Mobile clinics will also be used for those with transportation barriers.

The province is in Phase 1 of the province’s plan, which focuses on four priority groups, such as long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents.

The health unit says it administered nearly 1,500 initial doses to long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes between Jan. 12 and Jan. 27, and has been in the process of doling out second doses to those same individuals.

“Staff, residents and essential caregivers of these facilities remain the priority population and the province will continue to provide direction on who receives the next doses of vaccine that arrive,” officials said.

“Vaccine supplies remain limited at the moment. Although planning is underway for Phases 2 and 3, there is no waiting list to receive the vaccine. Groups are prioritized based on the provincial distribution plan and ethical framework; as vaccines become available those groups will be contacted.”

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The health unit has begun reporting outbreaks at licensed child-care centres and says one outbreak is currently active in the region.

The outbreak, declared Feb. 6 at Relouw Early Childhood Learning Centre in South Huron, is linked to one case involving a student, officials said. No other information has been released.

Elsewhere, outbreaks remain active at three long-term care homes, two retirement homes and one hospital.

The active seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared on:

  • Feb. 3 at Hillside Manor in Perth East (one resident, one staff case)
  • Jan. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East (12 resident cases)
  • Jan. 30 at Fordwich Village in Howick (one staff case)
  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor Nursing Home in Huron East (43 resident, 20 staff cases, at least five deaths)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, 12 staff cases, at least one death)

The hospital outbreak, meantime, was declared Jan. 31 at St. Marys Memorial Hospital and is linked to three patient and five staff cases.

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There has been no change to the number of active school cases in the region. Three cases remain active, all involving the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

One case is located at Elma Township Public School, while two are located at Listowel District Secondary School.

No cases are listed as active under the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

At least 532 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 340 in North Perth 133 in Perth East, 31 in Perth South and 28 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 424 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 95 in South Huron, 94 in Huron East, 50 in Central Huron, 42 in Morris Turnberry, 38 in North Huron, 34 in Howick, 33 in Bluewater, 21 in ACW and 17 in Goderich.

At least 293 cases have been reported in Stratford and 31 in St. Marys.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.1 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 1.6 the week before, figures released Wednesday show.

Sarnia and Lambton

One person has died and 17 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Lambton Public Health reported on Thursday.

The update brings the region’s total case tally to 1,904, of which 1,800 people have recovered, an increase of eight from the day before.

Forty-five people have died during the pandemic. Details on the death were not immediately available.

It leaves 59 active cases in the region, the health unit says.

Bluewater Health reported Thursday that no COVID-19 patients were in its care, down from one the previous day.

One new outbreak has been declared in the region, located at Country Manor Estates, a retirement home in Lambton Shores.

The health unit says the outbreak, declared on Wednesday, is linked to a case involving one staff member.

The outbreak is among nine that are active in the county, with six at seniors’ facilities, two at workplaces and one at Sarnia’s jail.

The outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes, specifically, were declared on:

  • Feb. 10 at Country Manor Estates in Lambton Shores (one staff case)
  • Feb. 7 at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 28 at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (32 resident, 16 staff cases, three deaths)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (18 resident, six staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (28 resident, 15 staff cases, five deaths)

Elsewhere, the outbreak at Sarnia’s jail is linked to 14 inmate and two staff cases, one inmate and one staff case more than the day before.

The two workplace outbreaks are linked to seven cases. The names and locations of the workplaces have not been released.

At least 381 of the region’s cases and 27 of its deaths have been linked to outbreaks.

Three additional cases have been reported at North Lambton Secondary School in Forest, bringing the total there to four, according to the Lambton-Kent District School Board.

The cases are the only ones active at a school in Lambton. No active cases were listed by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.0 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 1.5 the week before and 2.3 the week before that, figures released Wednesday show.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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