Coronavirus: 1 new case, 1 recovery reported as London-Middlesex enters Stage 3

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

One person has tested positive and one person has recovered from the novel coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Friday.

It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 642, of which 571 have recovered. Fifty-seven people have died, a tally that has not changed in five weeks.

The new case was reported in London, Ont., where a vast majority of the region’s cases have been confirmed.

The health unit says the individual, in their 30s, is not a health-care worker nor are they linked to a seniors’ home. The source of their infection is pending or undetermined.

The health unit reported one case on Thursday, and no cases on Wednesday or Tuesday. One recovery was reported Wednesday and four on Tuesday. One case and one recovery were reported Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Coronavirus: Slow start to eat-in dining as much of Ontario enters Stage 3 of reopening

The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 1.28 per day as of Friday, the same as Thursday. Looking back 14 days to July 3, the average is 0.92.

The region’s test positivity rate stands at 0.1 per cent as of the week of July 5, according to the health unit’s most recent available data. That’s down from an 8.2 per cent peak in late March when tests weren’t as readily available to the public.

At least 593 confirmed cases have been reported in London, while 23 have been reported in Strathroy-Caradoc, and 12 in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, six cases each have been reported in North Middlesex and Thames Centre, while one case each has been reported in Lucan Biddulph and Southwest Middlesex.

Read more: Face coverings mandated in enclosed indoor public spaces as of Saturday: Dr. Chris Mackie

The update comes as the London region, and most of Ontario, has progressed into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening framework, allowing for larger gatherings and for most business to reopen.

The health unit announced Friday that the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, had issued an instruction under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to require that operators of enclosed public spaces put measures in place mandating the use masks by the public at all times while on their premises.

Story continues below advertisement

The instruction will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, according to the health unit, who says it will be “enforceable by public health staff, municipal bylaw officers and law enforcement officials.”

The move is the same one made by health officials in Huron and Perth earlier this week. Their instruction came into effect Friday.

In addition, Mackie says he’s recommending that Middlesex municipalities put in place their own temporary bylaws requiring people to wear masks or face coverings within enclosed publicly-accessible spaces.

Such a bylaw will come before city councillors for a vote next week.

“There are some drawbacks to the instruction option,” Mackie said Friday.

The drawbacks, he says, are that the instruction option isn’t tested, meaning it could potentially be overturned. It’s also reliant on how long the province’s emergency orders remain in place.

“The instruction under the regulation is only in place as long as that regulation remains in place, and as long as the provincial declaration of the state of emergency remains in place,” he said.

“If disease levels climb and masking compliance is not high, I won’t hesitate to issue an order under Section 22… and all of the enforcement options that that includes.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mackie says the measures announced Friday come in addition to the previously announced Section 22 Class Order that is set to take effect on Monday, mandating masks on public transit, in vehicles for hire, and in certain high-risk businesses.

Read more: London, Ont., councillors to hold special meeting Monday on issue of mandatory masks

According to health unit data, the largest age group to see positive cases is people in their 20s, At least 136 cases, 21 per cent of all cases in the region, involve people in this demographic.

Nearly half of those cases are linked to contact with a confirmed case.

At least 84 cases, or 16 per cent, involve people in their 80s. According to the health unit, these cases are due in large part to the outbreaks that have been seen in the region during the pandemic.

Some 84 per cent of cases involving people in their 80s are outbreak-related.

At least 26 outbreaks have been seen in the region, including 21 at long-term care and retirement homes. All outbreaks have resolved.

At least 180 cases and 37 deaths have been attributed to seniors’ facilities. However, the homes account for fewer cases now than compared to the peak of the pandemic in April and May.

Story continues below advertisement

Of the 17 cases reported in July, two are linked to seniors’ facilities. Neither of those cases prompted an outbreak declaration, according to the health unit.

Read more: Ontario’s mayors ‘encouraged’ by emergency COVID-19 funding

While some 112 people have had to be hospitalized, including 31 who needed intensive care, few people, if any, are in hospital as of Friday, according to the city’s hospitals.

London Health Sciences Centre says the number of hospitalized patients in its care is fewer than five, while St. Joseph’s Health Care London says no COVID-19 patients are being treated at its facilities.

According to Public Health Ontario, at least 4,554 people — 12 per cent of Ontario’s cases — had to be hospitalized at some point during the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement


Provincially, Ontario reported 111 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths Friday.

The total number of cases now stands at 37,274, which includes 2,746 deaths and 33,162 cases marked as resolved.

Read more: 111 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, 9 deaths; total cases at 37,274

The number of resolved cases grew by 101 Friday, outpacing the number of new cases.

The numbers of people in hospital and on ventilators declined, while the number of people in intensive care increased slightly.

The province says more than 31,160 people were tested for the novel coronavirus over the previous day.

Ontario’s minister of health says 28 of 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario will receive $7 billion of federal pandemic recovery package

Story continues below advertisement

Elgin and Oxford

No new cases, deaths, or recoveries were reported Friday by officials with Southwestern Public Health.

The total number of cases in the region remains unchanged at 87, of which 80 have recovered and five have died.

Two cases remain active, both in Woodstock.

Officials reported one recovery Thursday and reported no changes from Wednesday to Monday. One of the Woodstock cases was reported on Saturday.

The region is among those moving forward to Stage 3 on Friday.

The health unit has not issued a county-wide mask mandate, but as of last week was still in talks with area municipal leaders on the issue.

Read more: Majority of Canadians polled want U.S. border closed until end of 2020: Ipsos

Overall, St. Thomas has seen the largest number of cases with 18, followed by Woodstock with 18.

Dutton/Dunwich, however, has been the hardest hit when it comes to cases when compared to its population.

It’s seen nine cases in total, but when adjusted to per 100,000 people, the municipality has seen the equivalent of 232.8 cases.

Story continues below advertisement

In comparison, St. Thomas has seen 46.3 cases per 100,000 people, and Woodstock 41.6.

Read more: One quarter of Canada’s small businesses report staff refusing to return to work: survey

SWPH says 13,292 tests had been administered as of Wednesday, with 225 pending results.

The region’s test positivity rate remains at 0.7 per cent.

No outbreaks are active in the region. Three have been declared, with all resolved. Ten cases were reported.

Huron and Perth

No new cases, deaths, or recoveries have been reported by health officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH.)

The region’s total case count remains unchanged at 59, of which 52 have recovered and five have died, a tally that has not changed since late April.

One case remains active in the region in Perth County.

Health officials reported no changes on Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday. One recovery was reported on Monday.

Read more: Herd immunity won’t save us from the coronavirus pandemic

Story continues below advertisement

As of Friday, commercial establishments and owner/operators of indoor public spaces, including employers businesses and organizations, must have mask policies in place.

According to the health unit, areas subject to face-covering requirements are “any areas in which visitors interact with one another or with staff members, or any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public.”

The instructions to local businesses and employers were officially issued Monday by the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Venues for 2021 Games secured, competition schedule stays the same

Stratford has seen the highest number of cases with 26, followed by Perth County with 15, Huron County with 14, and St. Marys with four.

Four deaths have been reported in Stratford, all linked to a since-resolved outbreak at Greenwood Court, while one death has been reported in St. Marys.

People in their 60s make up the largest age group of cases with 16, followed by people in their 50s with 12 cases, and people in their 30s with nine.

No hospitalizations have been reported since April, and nine outbreaks have been declared, linked to 23 cases and four deaths. All have since resolved.

Story continues below advertisement

At least 10,663 people had been tested as of Friday.

Sarnia and Lambton

One new case has been reported in Lambton County, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Thursday.

It brings the total number of cases in the region to 288, of which 260 have recovered. Twenty-five people have died, most recently in early June.

Three cases are now active in the region, according to the health unit.

One new case and one recovery were reported late Tuesday. No changes were reported Wednesday, Monday or Sunday, according to the health unit.

Read more: Which mask should I buy? ⁠From cotton to silk, finding the right fabrics

The region is among the few in Ontario who are not moving ahead to Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plans today.

Premier Doug Ford has not offered a timeline yet on when the region, and others who are stuck behind in Stage 2, including Windsor-Essex, will be able to move ahead, but says he will provide weekly updates on the issue.

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, previously said he hopes to see the entire province enter the next phase of reopening by the end of July.

Story continues below advertisement

The region’s health unit has decided not to implement a county-wide mask mandate, instead leaving it up to each municipality.

Read more: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

No COVID-19 patients are in the care of Bluewater Health hospital as of Friday, according to the organization. Eleven patients were awaiting COVID-19 test results.

The hospital hasn’t seen a confirmed patient in its care since June 14. It later closed its dedicated COVID-19.

Fifty-seven people have been hospitalized in Lambton for COVID-19, with most admissions in March and April.

According to the health unit, 14,546 test results have been received, with two per cent of tests coming back positive.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Sponsored content