12 new coronavirus cases, 2 recoveries reported in London and Middlesex: MLHU

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.
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

Twelve people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in London and Middlesex and two people have recovered, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Wednesday.

It’s the third time in the last seven days health officials have reported a single-day case jump in the double digits. Fourteen cases were reported on Sept. 17 while 11 were announced on Sept. 16.

It brings the region’s total case count to 824, of which 687 have recovered. Fifty-seven have also died, a tally unchanged since June 12.

All 12 cases Wednesday are from London, Ont. Three cases involve people 19 and under, three are in their 20s, one is in their 30s, three are in their 40s, ones in their 60s, and one is in their 70s.

People in their 20s have been tied to at least 38 of the 92 cases reported this month in London and Middlesex. People 19 and under account for at least 29 cases.

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No new cases were reported Wednesday involving elementary or secondary schools in the region. One case has been reported in London and Middlesex involving a student at H.B. Beal Secondary School.

Read more: Returning students could cause COVID-19 infections to double in University towns: New study finds

It’s not clear how many, if any, of the 12 cases involve post-secondary students.

On Tuesday, health officials announced one case involving a Fanshawe College student — two in total have been reported — as well as two involving Western University students.

At least 49 cases have been reported over the last week and a half involving students from the university, linked in large part to gatherings at bars and private residences, according to the health unit.

Health officials have declared at least two community outbreaks since Sept. 13 that have been associated with Western students.

One is linked to a large house party held last weekend, while the other, dubbed “Western Student Outbreak Alpha” by the health unit, has been largely traced back to three households, with gatherings at a downtown nightclub and off-campus residences serving as main infection points.

Both of those outbreaks have infected at least 17 people each.

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A third community outbreak was also declared at a northwest London Walmart after three staff members tested positive.

Read more: As coronavirus cases spike, Trudeau must strike throne speech balance: strategists

The city’s two dedicated COVID-19 assessment centres have been swamped daily since Western Student Outbreak Alpha was declared, reaching capacity early on several occasions.

On Wednesday, Oakridge Arena hit capacity by 11:30 a.m. and afterward switched to serving clients with designated time cards for the remainder of the day.

On Tuesday, the arena hit capacity around 1 p.m., while Carling Heights followed suit two hours later.

Both facilities have been seeing hours-long wait times this week. Carling Heights has reported wait times of about four hours every day since Saturday, including on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a ticketing system was introduced at Oakridge Arena so that people who fit the criteria to receive a test can come back.

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The health unit says the two centres saw a total of 777 clients on Tuesday and 805 on Monday. Carling Heights, the only one open on weekends, saw nearly 800 people over Saturday and Sunday.

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Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said Monday it was hoped that pending government announcements regarding Ontario’s plan to fight the virus this fall will see another assessment centre added in London or Middlesex to ease congestion.

The long game, he says, is making testing available to those asymptomatic and those who have not had close contact with a confirmed case through primary care clinics, family doctors’ offices or even pharmacies.

Read more: Coronavirus: London, Ont., businesses working to keep customers amid cold weather

The number of active outbreaks remained unchanged at two. One outbreak was declared on Monday at Ashwood Manor Retirement Home involving the whole facility.

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A separate outbreak, declared Sept. 9, also remained active as of Wednesday on the fourth floor of Chelsey Park Retirement Community.

It’s unclear how many cases are tied to each outbreak, however, seniors’ home outbreaks only account for three of the at least 92 cases reported in the region this month.

At least 29 institutional outbreaks have been declared, including 23 at seniors’ facilities, and have been tied to 193 cases involving residents and staff and 35 deaths.

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At least 764 of the region’s cases have been reported in London, while 29 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc and 13 in Middlesex Centre. Seven cases have been in Thames Centre, six in North Middlesex, four in Lucan Biddulph and one in Southwest Middlesex.

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The region’s seven-day average for new cases stood at 8.41 on Wednesday. Looking back to Sept. 9, the 14-day average is 6.0.

People in their 20s make up 191 of the region’s cases, or about 23.2 per cent. The age group has accounted for at least 38 of the 92 cases reported this month.

At least 29 of the cases reported this month have involved people 19 and under, an age group that only accounts for 68 of the region’s overall cases.

People in their 50s make up 116 of the regions cases, or about 14 per cent, while those in their 30s and those 80 and above make up 13 per cent of cases with 111 and 109, respectively.

It’s not clear how many, if any, cases in the region are currently hospitalized, as real-time data is not released by the health unit or the city’s largest hospital system.

A total of 115 have been hospitalized, including 32 who have needed intensive care.

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Provincially, Ontario reported 335 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and three new deaths.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 102 cases reported in Toronto, 79 in Peel Region and 65 in Ottawa.

She says 69 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.

The province is also reporting 42 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 21 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 153 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools.

Read more: Ontario reports 335 new coronavirus cases, 69% under the age of 40

The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 48,087, which includes 2,835 deaths and 41,600 cases classified as resolved.

The latest figures come as the Progressive Conservative government announced another part of its fall pandemic preparedness plan Wednesday.

Premier Doug Ford says up to 60 pharmacies across the province will begin to offer COVID-19 tests starting Friday.

None of the locations announced are in London or the surrounding region.

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Ford says the initiative will reduce pressure on the province’s 147 assessment centres, some of which have seen long line-ups in recent weeks.

The pharmacies will only test individuals with no symptoms after they have made an appointment.

Yesterday Premier Doug Ford announced that the first part of the strategy involved spending $70 million to purchase millions of seasonal flu shots, which he encouraged all residents to get.

Meanwhile, the government says it will also hire 98 new labour inspectors this fall as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces at a cost of $11.9 million.

Elgin and Oxford

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

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The region’s total case count remains at 263, of which now 250 have recovered. Five have died, most recently in early July.

The recovery was reported in Woodstock, health unit figures show.

It leaves at least eight known active cases in the region. Seven are in Woodstock and one is in Central Elgin.

Health officials reported one recovery Tuesday and reported no change between Monday and Friday.

Read more: Coronavirus: Education minister says Ontario to review COVID-19 symptoms list for schools

Four of the region’s active cases involve people in their 20s, one is in their 50s, two are in their 60s and one is in their 80s. Four contracted the virus through close contact with a positive case, one  through travel and one through a workplace. Two are still under investigation.

Overall, people in their 50s account for the largest age group of cases with 51, followed by people in their 20s with 48 and people in their 40s with 38.

At least 82 of the region’s cases have been reported in Aylmer, followed by 38 in Bayham, 37 in St. Thomas, 30 in Woodstock, 25 in Tillsonburg and 10 in Dutton/Dunwich.

Close contact has been linked to 106 cases, followed by 39 from workplaces, 25 through travel and 13 through social gatherings. Fifty-five are listed as having an unknown origin and 27 are listed as involving health-care workers.

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The health unit says its test per cent positivity rate for the week of Sept. 6, the most recent that data is available, was 0.1 per cent.

Huron and Perth

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

The region’s total case count remains unchanged at 127, of which 121 people have recovered and five have died.

There remains one known active case in the health unit’s jurisdiction.

Health officials reported no change on Tuesday and reported two recoveries on Monday.

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At least 45 cases have been reported in Perth County, with North Perth and Perth East reporting 16 and 15 cases, respectively.

Forty-five cases have also been reported in Huron County, including 14 in Central Huron, 12 in Bluewater and 10 in South Huron.

Thirty-one cases have been reported in Stratford, along with four deaths that were linked to an outbreak at Greenwood Court early in the pandemic.

In St. Marys, six cases and one death have been reported.

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Of the region’s cases, at least 27 have been linked to people in their 20s, followed by people in their 50s with 23 and people in their 60s with 22.

At least 56 per cent of cases involve women and girls, health unit figures show.

The health unit says at least 35,083 tests have been conducted by the health unit as of Sept. 13. That week saw 1,925 tests completed and a per cent positivity rate of 0.2 per cent.

Sarnia and Lambton

One person has recovered from the novel coronavirus, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Tuesday.

The region’s total case count remains unchanged at 344, of which 318 have recovered. Twenty-five people have died.

With the latest update, there remains one known active case in the region as of Wednesday afternoon.

Health officials reported one case late Monday, one case late Saturday, and no change late Sunday or Friday.

Six cases have been reported so far this month.

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The number of hospitalizations and outbreaks remains unchanged at 58 and 10, respectively.

At least 109 cases and 16 deaths have been tied to the outbreaks, largely due to two outbreaks in March and April at two Sarnia seniors’ facilities.

Hospitalizations have remained unchanged since mid-June.

Health unit figures show close contact is tied to at least 135 cases, followed by outbreaks with 113 and travel with seven. Seventy-four cases have their exposure source listed as unknown. The exposure source for 15 cases was not immediately available.

People 80 and up account for 76 cases, while people in their 50s make up 52 and people in their 20s 49. At least 196 cases, or 57 per cent, involve women and girls.

The health unit says at least 26,481 tests have been received as of late Tuesday. At least 1.3 per cent of tests are coming back positive.

–With files from Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian Press