Coronavirus: 3 new cases reported in London-Middlesex: health unit

FILE - A woman wearing a face mask arrives at the COVID-19 assessment center of a hospital in Toronto, Canada, July 20, 2020.
FILE - A woman wearing a face mask arrives at the COVID-19 assessment center of a hospital in Toronto, Canada, July 20, 2020. Getty Images file

Three people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Wednesday.

It brings the region’s total case count to 760, four more than the day before. The discrepancy, the health unit says, was due to the miscount of a confirmed case from several days ago that was only just added to the total tally.

At least 678 people have recovered and 57 have died, with the most recent death on June 12.

There are at least 25 known active cases in the region.

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Of the three new cases reported Tuesday, two are linked to a community outbreak declared by the health unit over the weekend. Of those two, only one is a Western student.

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On Sunday, health officials declared a community COVID-19 outbreak after several Western students tested positive.

As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 10 cases have been linked to the outbreak, nine of which involve Western students.

Local health officials say one outbreak-related case has since been transferred to the jurisdiction of another health unit, leaving a total of nine under the purview of the MLHU.

Of the six cases the health unit reported on Monday during its regular update — all of which involved Western students — at least four were outbreak-related.

The region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, said during Monday’s media briefing that the outbreak-linked cases had ties to packed downtown bars and restaurants.

Mackie also appeared to confirm that at least one of the cases was the same one reported on Saturday by Lost Love Social House, a nightclub located near Richmond and Carling streets. The infected individual was there on Sept. 9.

One case was also reported on Friday involving a late-night patron of El Furniture Waterhouse, but it’s not clear if this case is related to the outbreak.

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The health unit has also noted that the outbreak cases also involved interactions with other students in neighbouring housing units; however, Mackie said the main issue was downtown bars and restaurants.

“This weekend, we didn’t have large parties in the community that were reported — at least none that came through to public health — and we’ve been working with the city and with police on that issue,” Mackie said.

“What we are noting is really around some of those bars and restaurants, particularly places where in the past the facility has been set up for dancing — large groups of people together — it’s hard to make that transition to (more of a) restaurant environment where people are keeping their distance. That’s where we’re seeing the issues.”

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As was the case on Monday, lines at the city’s two COVID-19 assessment centres, and Western’s COVID-19 testing trailer, were lengthy.

At Oakridge Arena, vehicles began lining up hours before the facility’s 11 a.m. opening time, stretching around the block, at one point numbering more than 100.

Similar lines, stretching all the way to Pall Mall Street and Adelaide Street, were found at the Carling Heights assessment centre.

At 11 a.m., wait times at the two centres were between two and three hours.

The Carling Heights centre ran out of testing capacity just before 1:30 p.m. Oakridge Arena did the same around 3 p.m.

On Monday, Oakridge Arena reported seeing 355 clients while Carling Heights saw 414. Combined, the two centres have seen more than 70,000 people and have swabbed more than 64,000 since opening in April.

Read more: Western University testing trailer hits capacity following COVID-19 outbreak

At Western University, the on-campus testing trailer saw shorter lines, but wait times still stretched to about two hours as of late Tuesday morning.

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To keep lines down, students were given tickets guaranteeing them a slot later in the day to get tested before the trailer closed.

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On Monday, the trailer was forced to shut down two hours after opening when capacity was quickly met. The university announced Tuesday that capacity had been more than doubled, and that the trailer would now be open three hours longer during the week and also be open on Saturdays.

Students, staff and faculty were being asked to get tested only if they were symptomatic or had come in contact with a confirmed case.

“A lot of the testing we’re seeing is coming from those younger demographics, young adults in particular,” Mackie said Monday.

“And the awareness, I think, is exploding among young adults that the sorts of behaviours that they may have been engaged in can lead to a risk for COVID-19.”

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The health unit reported six cases on Monday, all involving Western students in their 20s. On Sunday, five cases were reported, including four people in their 20s, while on Saturday, two cases were reported, both involving people in their 20s.

People in their 20s make up the region’s largest age group of cases, accounting for 173, or nearly 23 per cent of the region’s case total. People in their 50s make up 113 cases, while people 80 and above make up 108.

At least 704 of the region’s cases have been reported in London, while 26 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc and 12 in Middlesex Centre.

Seven cases have been in Thames Centre, six in North Middlesex, four in Lucan Biddulph and one in Southwest Middlesex.

As of Monday, the region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 3.0, compared with 2.7 on Monday. Looking back 14 days to Sept. 1, the average was 2.0.

The region’s cases per 100,000 rate stands at 149.0 as of Monday, while Ontario’s is 299.4.

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An outbreak on the fourth floor of Chelsey Park Retirement Community, declared Sept. 9, remained active as of Tuesday, according to the health unit.

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It’s not clear how many cases have been confirmed in relation to the outbreak.

There have been at least 28 outbreaks declared during the pandemic, including 22 at local seniors’ facilities. Outbreaks are tied to 191 of the region’s cases and 35 of its deaths.

Outbreaks, including those not involving seniors’ homes, are the largest transmission source, linked to 259 cases.

Hospitalizations remain steady in the region. It’s not clear how many people, if any, are currently in hospital.

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) only says the number of hospitalized cases currently is “five or less.”

A total of 115 people have had to be hospitalized, including 32 in intensive care.

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Provincially, Ontario reported 251 cases on Tuesday and four new deaths.

There were also 117 cases newly marked as resolved over the past 24 hours.

The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 45,068, which includes 2,820 deaths and 40,091 cases classified as resolved.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 24 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases.

She says that Toronto is reporting 73 new cases, with 51 in Ottawa and 42 in Peel Region.

The province says it processed 27,664 tests over the previous 24 hours.

Elgin and Oxford

No new cases, deaths, or recoveries were reported by officials at Southwestern Public Health (SWPH).

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The region’s total case count remains unchanged at 258, of which 248 have recovered and five have died — most recently on July 3.

There remain at least five known active cases in the region. Four are in Woodstock, while one is in Bayham.

The health unit reported two new cases on Monday, no change Sunday, and one case on Saturday.

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Three of the region’s active cases involve people in their 20s, while one involves a person in their 50s and one a person in their 60s.

Health unit figures show the active cases involve four men and one woman. At least two are in hospital, including one in intensive care.

It’s not clear how all of the individuals became infected. Exposure information is only listed for one case; that was a  workplace.

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By municipality, Aylmer has reported the largest number of cases with 82 — an incident rate equivalent to 1,094 cases per 100,000 people.

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St. Thomas, which has reported 37 cases, has an incident rate of 95.1 per 100,000.

Elsewhere, Bayham has seen a total of 38 cases, while Woodstock has seen 26, Tillsonburg 25, Dutton/Dunwich 10, and Norwich eight.

Total testing numbers weren’t immediately available, but the health unit says its test per cent positivity rate for the week of Aug. 30, the most recent that is available, was zero.

Huron and Perth

One person tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reported Tuesday.

It brings the region’s total case count to 127, of which 118 have recovered. Five people have also died from the virus during the pandemic.

The new case was reported in Stratford, where a total of 31 cases have been confirmed during the pandemic. One case was reported in the city on Monday.

One case was also reported Monday in Central Huron in Huron County. One recovery was also reported.

According to the health unit, there are four known active cases in the region.

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By location, Perth County has reported 45 cases overall. Sixteen cases have been reported in North Perth, 15 in Perth East, eight in Perth South, and six in West Perth.

At least 45 cases have also been reported in Huron County, including 14 in Central Huron, 12 in Bluewater, and 10 in South Huron.

Along with its 31 cases, four deaths have also been reported in Stratford. All died in an outbreak at a long-term care facility early in the pandemic.

In St. Marys, six cases and one death — the region’s first COVID-19-linked death — have been reported.

People in their 20s remain the largest group of cases by age with 27, followed by people in their 50s with 23, and people in their 60s with 22.

Testing data was not immediately available.

Sarnia and Lambton

No new cases, deaths, or recoveries were reported late Monday by officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH).

The region’s total confirmed case count remains unchanged at 343, of which 341 have recovered. Twenty-five people have died, with the most recent death in early June.

Four known active cases remain in the region, but their locations are unclear. Unlike neighbouring health units, LPH has refrained from releasing specific location information.

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No change was reported late Sunday, and one new case was reported late Saturday.

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No outbreaks are currently active in the region. At least 10 have been reported during the pandemic, including eight at seniors’ homes, one at Bluewater Health and one at an unspecified workplace.

They’re linked to 109 of the region’s cases and 16 of its deaths. A majority of the cases, and all 16 deaths, involved Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home, both in Sarnia.

The health unit says at least 25,087 tests have been received as of late Monday and at least 1.4 per cent of tests are coming back positive.

— With files from The Canadian Press