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1 new coronavirus case, 10 more recoveries reported in London-Middlesex

A nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle on April 2, 2020.
A nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle on April 2, 2020. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

One person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in London and Middlesex while 10 others have recovered from the virus.

It brings the cumulative number of cases in the region to 632, of which 556 have now been resolved. Fifty-seven people have also died, with the most recent death occurring on June 12.

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The new case reported Thursday is from London, Ont., where 587 of the region’s cases have been located, and does not involve a health-care worker or seniors’ home resident.

Like Wednesday, the jump in the recovery tally came following a review by the health unit of available data — a review that has since completed.

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Health officials reported two new cases and 29 recoveries on Wednesday and, for several days, reported no new cases.

It means there are currently only 19 active confirmed coronavirus cases in London and Middlesex.

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According to health unit data, people in their 20s make up the largest age group when it comes to COVID-19 cases in the region at 134 — about 21 per cent of all cases.

The second-largest group, people over 80, account for 106 cases, or 16 per cent, according to the health unit.

Of the 30 cases reported by the health unit since June 18, 17 involve people in their 20s, including two of this week’s cases. Four cases involve people aged zero to 19.

At least nine cases reported in that time are linked to an outbreak among a group of people who attended various parties in London, Waterloo and Hamilton last month.

The health unit initially reported that eight people had tested positive in relation to the gatherings, which involved a group of more than 25, but said Wednesday that one additional case had since come forward.

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“It’s important for young people to know they are not immune to the virus — they can acquire it, they can have bad outcomes and they can spread it to other people that are more vulnerable,” Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said June 29.

“We are seeing some indication of a trend of young people taking less precautions, and we hope this outbreak in a group of people in their 20s who are otherwise healthy is a wake-up call to that generation.”

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That news comes as the number of new cases linked to long-term care and retirement homes in the region has fallen significantly, replaced largely by community-sourced cases.

No outbreaks have been active at any local seniors’ home since last Thursday when an outbreak at Westmount Gardens was declared over.

As many as 26 outbreaks have been declared locally during the pandemic, with at least 21 that have been at local long-term care and retirement homes.

The facilities account for 180 of the region’s cases and 37 of its deaths.

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Few, if any, people are currently hospitalized in the region.

According to London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), the number of COVID-19 patients in its care is between zero and five.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, no COVID-19 patients were being treated at any of their facilities as of Thursday.

At least 112 of the cases reported in the region have needed hospital care, with 31 needing admittance into intensive care.

Patients over 60 make up a bulk of hospitalized cases in London and Middlesex, according to the health unit.

At the hospitals themselves, at least 42 staff have tested positive during the pandemic at LHSC. An updated figure has not been released since early June, with LHSC saying it will only do so if staff cases rise by five or more.

At St. Joseph’s, at least 19 cases have been reported among its staff during the pandemic.

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Health-care workers in the region make up 146 of the region’s cases, or 23.1 per cent.

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Ontario

Provincially, Ontario reported 170 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and three new deaths.

The total number of cases now stands at 36,348, which includes 31,977 marked as resolved and 2,703 deaths.

The province is also reporting 172 newly resolved cases today.

Read more: Coronavirus — Ontario extends emergency orders until July 22

Ontario completed more than 26,326 tests for the novel coronavirus over the previous 24 hours.

The number of people in hospital because of the virus remains steady, while people in intensive care and on ventilators both slightly decreased.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 86 of the province’s new cases today are temporary foreign workers in Windsor-Essex.

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Elgin and Oxford

One person has recovered from the novel coronavirus, officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported Thursday.

The cumulative number of cases remains at 86, of which now 79 have recovered and five people have died.

The recovered case was located in Malahide, leaving one active case in Elgin County in Dutton/Dunwich and one active case in Oxford County in Woodstock.

Health officials reported one new case on Tuesday in Woodstock and one recovery, as well as one new case over the weekend.

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One death was reported on Friday, the first since April 22, involving a 68-year-old woman from the Aylmer, Ont., area.

The woman had been admitted to hospital on July 1 in Tillsonburg, Ont., and died the same day. Following her death, the health unit says she tested positive for the virus.

Health officials have since reported that a funeral service held for the woman on July 3 may have exposed as many as 70 people to the virus after an attendee later tested positive.

In a message sent out to health-care providers in the region, the health unit urged them to be on high alert for symptoms consistent with the virus in members of the Old Colony Church.

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Health officials say there is no outbreak involving the local Old Colony Mennonite community, and that attendees are self-isolating but say health-care providers should facilitate timely access for assessment and testing should they see a patient who is impacted by the situation, said a health unit spokesperson.

Read more: Why some people still refuse to wear masks

Overall, Elgin County has seen 41 confirmed cases of the virus, including 18 in St. Thomas, while Oxford County has seen 45, including 16 in Woodstock.

A total of three outbreaks have been reported, all of which have since been resolved with no deaths.

At least 8,865 tests have been conducted in Elgin and Oxford counties, with 148 people still awaiting test results.

The health unit says one per cent of tests that have been conducted have come back positive.

Huron and Perth

No new cases, deaths or recoveries were reported on Thursday by officials with Huron Perth Public Health.

The cumulative number of cases in the region remains unchanged at 58, with 52 recoveries and five deaths.

Health officials reported no changes on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday. One case was reported Friday in Perth County. It’s the region’s lone active case.

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The region’s medical officer of health announced Thursday that local business owners are being instructed to require the use of face coverings in commercial establishments starting July 17.

The news comes less than a week after the health unit told 980 CFPL that it had no plans to implement any mask requirement and would instead focus on education surrounding mask use.

“As a result of this instruction, face coverings will be required in commercial establishments, which includes but is not limited to retail and convenience stores; malls; enclosed farmers’ markets; and business offices with space open to the public,” a health unit statement said Thursday.

The health unit says the instructions are being issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Business owners will not be required to turn away a customer who is not wearing a mask.

“As we work towards a successful Stage 3 reopening, we also increase the risk of spreading the virus,” said Dr. Miriam Klassen in a statement.

“Normalizing the use of masks helps reduce this risk and helps keep businesses and services up and running. We ask everyone to be kind and understanding when others can’t wear masks and to physically distance from them.”

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Overall, 26 cases and four deaths have been reported in Stratford, 14 cases have been reported each in Huron and Perth counties and four cases and one death have been reported in St. Marys.

The four Stratford deaths were linked to a previous outbreak at Greenwood Court, one of nine that have been declared in the region.

As of Wednesday, 9,286 people had been tested in the region.

Sarnia and Lambton

No new cases, deaths or recoveries were reported by health officials with Lambton Public Health late Wednesday.

The cumulative number of cases in the region remains at 286, of which 259 have recovered and 25 people have died, leaving two active cases in the region.

No changes were reported late Tuesday, and the health unit reported one recovery late Monday and one recovery over the weekend. The most recent case was reported Friday.

The region has seen few new cases in recent weeks, reporting just one so far this month and 10 since June 16.

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The health unit officially announced Wednesday it would not be issuing a county-wide mask order, similar to the one seen in London and Middlesex.

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“At this time in Lambton County, evidence and local context does not support the mandatory public use of masks in a community setting.”

Previously, in a letter to municipal leaders Tuesday, the region’s medical officer of health explained that there was a “low quality of evidence of benefit” and “low certainty of benefit” when it came to masks, adding that there were also enforcement limitations and a lack of talk about potential harms.

Dr. Sudit Ranade also noted the presence of “other mechanisms” to curb the spread of the virus, like physical distancing, contact tracing and self-isolation.

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The number of hospitalizations involving COVID-19 patients at Bluewater Health remains at zero as of Thursday. Nine patients are in care with tests pending.

It’s been weeks since the hospital discharged its most recent COVID-19 patient on June 14 and closed its dedicated coronavirus unit. At least 57 people have been hospitalized in the county for the virus, nearly all in the months of March and April.

The number of outbreaks in the region remains unchanged at nine, with all resolved. Eight involved seniors’ homes while one involved the hospital.

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At least 105 cases and 16 deaths are associated with those outbreaks. A vast majority of the cases and all of the deaths have involved two Sarnia seniors’ facilities.

The hospital outbreak was declared after three staff of the COVID-19 unit tested positive. They’re among at least 19 staff who have contracted the virus since March.

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Of the county’s cases, 25 per cent, or 71 cases, are made up of people over the age of 80. The second-largest age group is people in their 50s, who make up 16 per cent of cases.

Of outbreak-related cases, 47 per cent, or 51 cases, involve people over 80, while 19 per cent, or 21 cases, involve people in their 20s, according to health unit figures.

At least 13,499 test results have been received by local health officials.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stands at 2.1 per cent.

— With files from the Canadian Press