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8 new coronavirus cases, 3 recoveries reported in London-Middlesex

Middlesex and London have updated the area's coronavirus tallies on Friday, May 29, 2020.
Middlesex and London have updated the area's coronavirus tallies on Friday, May 29, 2020. Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Eight people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and three others have recovered in London-Middlesex, while in Lambton County, an outbreak at a Sarnia nursing home has resulted in patients being moved into the hospital in a bid to slow the rate of infection.

Health officials also announced that an outbreak at a London long-term care home had ended.

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The new cases in London and Middlesex bring the regional total to 520 cases, of which 372 have been resolved, or about 71 per cent of cases. Fifty-two people have also died, a tally that remains unchanged.

It caps off a week that saw three new cases and two recoveries on Thursday, one death and four new cases on Wednesday, one death and four new cases on Tuesday and one death and two new cases on Monday.

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The eight new cases are all from London, with seven linked to an outbreak among temporary foreign workers at an Elgin County farm.

At least eight workers at Ontario Plants Propagation have tested positive this week, health officials said. Additional testing is underway involving close contacts of the workers.

The workers live in London and are therefore counted in the MLHU’s case tally.

Of the 21 cases that have been reported this week, only three have been tied to long-term care and retirement homes, according to the health unit.

Health officials have stressed that although many recent cases in weeks past have been reported within regional seniors’ facilities, community transmission of the virus is still a very real and ongoing concern.

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Londoners have been turning out in large numbers to the city’s two COVID-19 assessment centres since Premier Doug Ford announced over the weekend that anyone concerned they may have been exposed to the virus can get tested whether or not they are symptomatic.

New figures released by the health unit on Friday show 653 people had visited Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre and Oakridge Arena between Monday and Friday of last week.

So far this work week, nearly 2,000 people had already visited the two centres by Thursday.

Overall, the health unit says both locations have seen a combined 15,000 people and have swabbed just over 10,200 people since opening.

Wait times for the two assessment centres can be found on the health unit’s Twitter account.

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Of the region’s cases, 483 have been reported in London.

Elsewhere, 20 cases have been reported in Strathroy-Caradoc, along with seven in Middlesex Centre, four each in North Middlesex and Thames Centre and one each in Lucan Biddulph and Southwest Middlesex.

The number of hospitalized cases in London and Middlesex stands at around 20 per cent of all cases, including 5.6 per cent of patients who have been admitted to intensive care.

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People over the age of 50 make up about 59 per cent of the region’s cases but 89 per cent of its hospitalizations. Fifty-eight per cent of hospitalized cases alone involve patients over the age of 80, according to the health unit.

At least 15 patients were being treated for COVID-19 at University and Victoria hospitals as of midnight Friday, two more than compared to the last update from London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) on Wednesday. The organization no longer releases how many patients are in intensive care.

At least 42 staff at LHSC have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. It’s not clear how many cases remain active.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, at least 18 staff and physicians have tested positive for the virus, according to the organization’s last update on May 19. At the time, two patients were being treated at Parkwood Institute’s main building.

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The number of active outbreaks in the region has been reduced by one after health officials declared an outbreak at Meadow Park Care Centre over on Thursday.

The outbreak was first declared on April 4, and as of this week, it was the second oldest outbreak to still be active behind Kensington Village, which declared an outbreak on April 3.

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Health unit data shows at least 17 cases were reported at the facility during the outbreak involving nine residents and eight staff. At least two resident cases ended in deaths.

Long-term care and retirement homes make up 167 of the region’s 520 cases and 32 of the region’s 52 deaths.

At least 101 cases have been reported at long-term care homes involving 60 residents and 41 staff, while 66 have been reported at retirement homes involving 43 residents and 23 staff.

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Twenty-two deaths have been reported at long-term care homes and 10 at retirement homes.

The facilities also account for at least 18 of the 23 outbreaks that have been declared in London and Middlesex. Seven outbreaks remain active as of Thursday afternoon, all at local seniors’ facilities.

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No new outbreaks have been declared since May 23, when an outbreak was reported on the third floor of Chelsey Park. The outbreak is the second to be seen at the facility, following an outbreak that was active from April 2 to 14.

Outbreaks also remain at Henley Place, Country Terrace, Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (St. Mary’s fifth floor), Waverly Mansion, Kensington Village (LTCH) and Sisters of St. Joseph.

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According to Public Health Ontario, at least 440 outbreaks have been reported at Ontario long-term care and retirement homes, of which 281 remain active as of Thursday.

Nearly 5,000 long-term care residents have tested positive while at least 1,412 have died — about 63 per cent of Ontario’s COVID-19-related deaths. Nearly 1,800 long-term care staff have also tested positive, of whom five have died.

At retirement homes, at least 649 residents and patients have tested positive, 135 have died and at least 337 staff have tested positive.

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Ontario

Provincially, Ontario reported 344 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 41 more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 27,210 — an increase of 1.3 per cent over Thursday.

The tally includes 2,230 deaths and 20,983 cases that have been resolved.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, has said new cases from a round of long-term care testing earlier this month are still coming in, so he’s not sure yet what percentage of the new cases are from the community.

READ MORE: 344 new coronavirus cases, 41 deaths in Ontario as total cases rise to 27,210

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and in intensive care dropped, but the number of people on ventilators rose from 94 to 100.

There were 18,525 tests completed in the previous day, and Ontario revealed a new phase in its COVID-19 testing strategy on Friday.

Ontario’s new testing strategy includes targeting specific workers such as first responders, LCBO staff and people in businesses with outbreaks, and sometimes bringing mobile testing units to them.

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Ontario has struggled on several occasions to meet its daily testing goals. Most recently, the province had said it would do 16,000 tests per day in May but has met that goal less than half of the time.

Levels dropped sharply once a blitz of nearly all long-term care residents and staff was completed over the long weekend, but they have picked up again in recent days after Ontario relaxed criteria for members of the public to be tested.

Ontario reported completing 17,615 tests Thursday. The province currently has a daily capacity of nearly 25,000.

Elgin and Oxford

For the second day in a row, no new cases, deaths or recoveries were reported by officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) on Friday.

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The total number of confirmed cases remains at 73, of which 60 have been resolved, or about 82 per cent of cases. Four people have also died, a tally that has remained unchanged since April 22.

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Health officials reported two recoveries on Wednesday, one case and one recovery on Tuesday and no new cases, deaths or recoveries on Monday.

Of the region’s cases, eight are linked to an active outbreak at Secord Trails, a long-term care facility in Ingersoll.

Eight staff members have tested positive at the home since the outbreak was declared on May 18. It’s not clear how many cases remain active.

It’s one of three outbreaks that have been declared in the region since late March. The other two have since been resolved. No deaths have been reported as a result of the outbreaks.

A chart from SWPH showing the per cent positivity rate of coronavirus tests in the region, April 3 to May 29, 2020.
A chart from SWPH showing the per cent positivity rate of coronavirus tests in the region, April 3 to May 29, 2020. Southwestern Public Health

Nine cases remain active in the region, with eight cases in Oxford County, including four in Ingersoll, and two each in Tillsonburg and Woodstock.

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In Elgin County, one active case has been reported in St. Thomas.

Health unit figures show no active cases have been hospitalized. Ten people have been admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 since March 26.

The health unit said 4,565 tests had been administered in Elgin and Oxford as of Friday, with 419 still awaiting results.

The region’s test per cent positivity remains at 1.8 per cent.

Huron and Perth

For the first time since Sunday, one person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reported Friday.

It brings the total number of confirmed cases in Huron and Perth counties to 52. Forty-four people have recovered and five have died — tallies that remained unchanged from the day before.

A chart from HPPH showing cumulative totals of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries from early March to May 29, 2020. The health unit notes that the graph uses symptom onset date for cumulative confirmed cases. If the person does not have symptoms, the date of the swab test is used.
A chart from HPPH showing cumulative totals of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries from early March to May 29, 2020. The health unit notes that the graph uses symptom onset date for cumulative confirmed cases. If the person does not have symptoms, the date of the swab test is used. Huron Perth Public Health

Health unit figures show the new case was reported in Stratford, where 26 of the region’s cases have been reported.

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It’s among three active cases in the region. The other two cases were reported in North Perth and in Goderich.

The case in Goderich involves a resident at Maitland Manor, a long-term care facility, which has since declared an outbreak — the region’s seventh and only active outbreak.

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As many as 23 of the region’s cases have been linked to the seven outbreaks, which have seen a total of 14 staff and eight resident cases as well as four deaths.

The deaths were associated with a since-resolved outbreak at Greenwood Court that saw six residents and 10 staff infected.

In addition to the 26 Stratford cases, 13 cases have been reported in Huron County, 11 have been in Perth County, and two have been in St Marys. One of the cases in St. Marys later died.

The health unit said 3,184 tests had been administered in Huron and Perth as of Friday. Of those, 183 were awaiting test results.

Sarnia and Lambton

No new cases or deaths have been reported, six people have recovered from the novel coronavirus, and two outbreaks have been declared over, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) said late Thursday night.

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The number of confirmed cases remains unchanged at 261, of which now 196 have been resolved, or about 76 per cent of cases. Twenty-two people have died, a figure that also remained unchanged.

Forty-three cases remain active in the county.

The health unit reported one death, seven new cases and five recoveries on Wednesday, three new cases and five recoveries on Tuesday and three new cases and three recoveries on Monday.

A chart from Lambton Public Health showing the number of confirmed cases in the county by reported date, March 24 to May 28, 2020.
A chart from Lambton Public Health showing the number of confirmed cases in the county by reported date, March 24 to May 28, 2020. Lambton Public Health

Outbreaks at two seniors’ facilities in the county are now over as of Thursday night, according to health officials.

The outbreaks, at Marshall Gowland Manor and Village on the St. Clair, were both declared active on May 15, with one resident and two residents testing positive, respectively.

Two outbreaks remain active in Lambton, including at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia, where one staff member has tested positive, and at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia, where a severe outbreak has seen at least 24 residents infected, seven die and 24 staff test positive.

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It’s the worst outbreak reported in the county so far, surpassing the outbreak at Landmark Village that saw 30 residents infected, six die and 10 staff test positive. That outbreak was declared over on May 6.

Nine residents and 16 staff at Vision Nursing Home remain positive, according to Bluewater Health in Sarnia, which announced on Friday that the nine residents would be moved to hospital in a bid to control the outbreak.

“Bluewater Health has cared for almost 60 COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic and is well-versed in virus management, infection control and ensuring quality health outcomes,” said Bluewater Health in a statement.

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The hospital said removing the 25 positive cases from the home will allow the facility to return to “a more normalized state, repatriate more staff and continue to enhance PPE (personal protective equipment) and infection control practices through the ongoing support of the Bluewater Health management team.”

Earlier this week, the hospital deployed 15 staff members to the home, including housekeeping workers, registered practical nurses, personal support workers and dietary aides.

Bluewater Health was treating 13 COVID-19 patients on Friday, including the nine residents from Vision Nursing Home. The hospital was also seeing 24 patients who were suspected to be positive or awaiting tests.

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As of late Thursday, 6,185 test results had been received by county health officials. It’s unclear how many tests remain pending.

— With files from the Canadian Press