For the fourth day in a row, health officials in London and Middlesex reported a double-digit increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the area, while officials in Lambton County recorded another death.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 13 new confirmed cases on Friday, along with two cases in patients who have since recovered. The news brings the total number of confirmed cases in London and Middlesex to 92 and the number of resolved cases to 11. Three people have died.
Details about the 13 new cases, including the age, gender, source of transmission and current status of each patient, were not immediately available.
The rise in cases has been attributed both to a clearing of testing backlogs and an increase in the percentage of tests that have come back positive.
“If you looked back a week or two ago, it would’ve been three to four per cent of people being tested were positive,” Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health and CEO of the MLHU, said on Thursday. “But that percentage positive is now closer to six to eight per cent.”
As of Friday, 19 COVID-19 patients were being treated in London Health Sciences Centre facilities: 11 at University Hospital and eight at Victoria Hospital. Eleven patients are listed as being in intensive care: five at University Hospital and six at Victoria Hospital.
Provincially, Ontario reported 462 more COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number in the province to 3,255.
There are also 192 more resolved cases for a new total of 1,023.
Health officials reported 14 more deaths, bringing the toll to 67.
Four deaths involve residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where 20 residents have died and at least 24 staff have become infected.
At least 32 outbreaks have been declared at long-term care homes and retirement homes across Ontario, including at Sarnia’s Landmark Village, where four residents have died.
Ontario health officials are set to release data on Friday showing how many people could die of COVID-19 under various scenarios.
Nationally, more than 11,700 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 as of late Friday morning, while just over 1,900 people have recovered and 152 have died.
Elgin and Oxford
The number of confirmed cases in Elgin and Oxford counties rose to 20 on Friday after health officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported two new cases.
The new cases involve a man in his 50s from Oxford and a woman in her 60s from St. Thomas, who is self-isolating. The status of the Oxford man was not immediately available.
According to SWPH, whose jurisdiction covers Elgin and Oxford counties as well as St. Thomas, 12 cases have been confirmed in Elgin, including two in St. Thomas, while eight have been confirmed in Oxford.
Four cases remain hospitalized, including the area’s first confirmed patient, while three have recovered and two have died, according to the health unit.
Both deaths involve patients from Elgin County — a woman in her 70s who became infected through travel and a woman in her 80s who became infected through close contact.
Three new cases were also confirmed on Thursday, all in Oxford County.
They involve a woman in her 30s who is self-isolating and two women in their 50s, one of whom is self-isolating. The status of the third was not available, and transmission source information was pending for all three.
Huron and Perth
The number of cases in Huron and Perth stood at 16 as of Wednesday, the latest update available. Another update is expected Friday afternoon.
On Wednesday, officials with Huron Perth Public Health confirmed six new cases, including two at a long-term care home in Stratford, Ont., marking the second and third times COVID-19 has been confirmed at a long-term care home in Huron and Perth. The first, confirmed Monday, involves a case at Hillside Manor near Sebringville, Ont.
The two Stratford cases involve residents of Greenwood Court. Officials said they were symptomatic but not hospitalized and are now in isolation.
Of the 16 confirmed cases, HPPH says three have been in St. Marys, seven have been in Stratford and six have been in Huron County. One case, in Huron, has been resolved.
Huron and Perth’s only reported death involved the area’s first confirmed patient, health officials say.
The 64-year-old St. Marys man has been identified as Craig MacDonald, owner of the St. Marys Foodland, according to a report by CTV London. MacDonald tested positive for COVID-19 on March 14 after travelling to Mexico and died in hospital in Stratford on Sunday, according to his obituary.
A 57-year-old St. Marys woman who had close household contact with MacDonald became the area’s second confirmed case on March 18. She was in self-isolation as of Saturday.
Sarnia and Lambton
Health officials in Sarnia and Lambton say another COVID-19 patient has died in the county, and four more people have tested positive.
This brings the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in Lambton to seven and the number of confirmed cases to 64.
Further details about the five patients were not immediately available.
At least four of the county’s deaths have involved patients of a single retirement home in Sarnia, where an outbreak has also been declared. According to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, as of Thursday, at least 11 of the county’s cases involve Landmark Village.
The Sarnia Observer has reported multiple residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
Three new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the county on Thursday, while 17 new cases and two deaths were reported on Wednesday.
The two deaths reported Wednesday involved a patient in their 70s and a patient in their 80s who had been admitted to Sarnia’s Bluewater Health Hospital on Monday and died on Tuesday.
The county’s first four COVID-19-related deaths, reported on Sunday and Monday, involved patients over the age of 70 who had been hospitalized at Bluewater Health.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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