London and Middlesex health officials reported two deaths, eight new cases and one additional outbreak of novel coronavirus in the area on Thursday, while health officials in Lambton County reported a second outbreak and Sarnia’s hospital reported 11 recent staff infections.
Specific details about the two new deaths and eight cases in London-Middlesex were not immediately available.
It brings the total number of cases confirmed in London-Middlesex to 258 and deaths to 14. Two cases were also marked as resolved, bringing that total to 120, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported.
One death and three new cases were reported on Wednesday.
Forty-three cases — 29 residents and 14 staff — and two deaths in London and Middlesex have been reported at long-term care homes, while nine cases — seven residents and two staff — have been at retirement homes.
Ten of the 13 COVID-19 outbreaks declared in London and Middlesex since the start of the pandemic have been at long-term care and retirement homes.
The latest local outbreak was declared on Wednesday at Horizon Place, a retirement home in west London. Few other details are known.
Only one COVID-19 outbreak in London and Middlesex has been marked as resolved, according to the health unit. The outbreak, declared at Chelsey Park on April 2, was considered resolved as of Tuesday.
Outbreaks remain active at Henley Place, Grandwood Park, Seasons Strathroy, Kensington Village (second floor), Earls Court Village, Meadow Park Care Centre, Sprucedale Care Centre and Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (St. Mary’s fifth floor).
Outbreaks have also been declared at St Joseph’s Hospice, on the sixth floor of Zone C at Victoria Hospital (C6-100) and on the fifth floor of University Hospital in inpatient cardiology.
At least 104 such outbreaks have been reported at seniors’ facilities across the province.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford opened the door to systemic changes to the province’s long-term care system and issued an emergency order to prevent long-term care staff from working at multiple homes, in addition to other measures.
Ontario reported 514 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 38 more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 8,961 cases, including 423 deaths and nearly 4,200 cases that have been resolved.
The growth in total cases has been relatively low for about a week, and Ontario health officials have said the peak is expected this week.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 grew slightly to 807, and while the number of people on ventilators also grew, there are fewer people in intensive care.
The province says it will expand testing for COVID-19 priority groups, including for residents and staff of homeless shelters and group homes, people living with health-care workers and cancer patients.
Nationally, more than 29,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported across the country as of early Thursday afternoon, including nearly 9,600 recovered cases and around 1,200 deaths.
Elgin and Oxford
The number of confirmed cases in Elgin and Oxford rose to 41 on Thursday after Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported one additional case.
The number of recovered cases and deaths remains at nine and three, respectively.
Details about the new case were not immediately available.
It’s not clear how many of the cases reported by SWPH involve hospitalizations.
Of the 29 active cases reported by the health unit, 18 are located in Elgin, with seven in St. Thomas, while nine are in Oxford. Information was not immediately available about the other two.
On Wednesday, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital opened a COVID-19 assessment centre for patients referred for testing by SWPH or by their doctor.
It came a day after the hospital reported a case involving a health-care worker who tested positive on Monday.
As of Thursday, 1,023 COVID-19 tests had been administered in the area, with 290 awaiting results.
Huron and Perth
Health officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) say one additional case of COVID-19 has been reported, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in the area to 35.
In addition, the health unit reported four more patients had recovered, bringing that total to nine. The number of deaths remained unchanged at three.
Details about the new case are limited, other than that it was reported in Stratford, Ont., where 19 of the area’s cases, and two of its deaths, have been confirmed.
Eleven of Stratford’s cases and one of its deaths have been reported at a single long-term care facility — Greenwood Court. The death, reported over the weekend, involved a resident in her 80s who became symptomatic on April 3. Five other residents and five staff have also tested positive.
Eight cases have been reported in Huron County, including three in Bluewater, two in South Huron and one each in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Central Huron and Goderich.
In Perth County, six cases have been confirmed, including two each in Perth East and Perth South, and one each in North Perth and West Perth.
Two cases have been reported in St. Marys — the region’s first two confirmed cases.
As of Thursday, 844 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Huron and Perth, with 198 awaiting results.
Sarnia and Lambton
A second COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a long-term care home in Lambton County and nine additional people have tested positive, officials with Lambton Public Health reported Thursday.
The latest outbreak involves Lambton Meadowview Villa, a 125-resident long-term care home in Petrolia, Ont., that is operated by the county.
In a statement, the county’s long-term care division said a staff member at the home had tested positive and that residents and their families were made aware of the diagnosis on Wednesday, adding the employee stopped providing care at the facility after they became symptomatic.
Lambton’s first outbreak was declared last month at Landmark Village in Sarnia, Ont., where 23 of the county’s cases — 16 residents and seven staff — and six of its deaths have been linked.
It brings the total number of cases confirmed in the county to 128, including 11 deaths and 41 recoveries — six more than Wednesday.
At least 11 of the county’s confirmed cases involve staff members of Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia, the hospital’s spokesperson, Julia Oosterman, confirmed Thursday.
None of the staff are from the hospital’s COVID unit, intensive care unit or ER, and four of the cases were contracted through work, while seven were contracted through the community, all approximately over the last nine days, Oosterman said.
Several others, she added, are awaiting tests, however an exact number was not immediately available.
The hospital employs roughly 1,230 people and was treating 23 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Thursday morning.
Bluewater Health also announced Thursday that it was opening a new COVID-19 assessment centre in Petrolia.
In addition, the hospital said it would double testing at the assessment centre in Sarnia, which has seen more than 470 patients as of Tuesday, and enhance its mobile testing unit.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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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