The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 20 new novel coronavirus cases the day before Thanksgiving.
Sunday’s update brings the region’s total COVID-19 case count to 974, of whom 838 people have recovered. Fifty-seven people have died, a tally unchanged since June 12.
Seven recoveries were also reported Sunday.
There are now at least 79 known active cases in the region.
Sunday’s new cases represent the largest single-day increase since April 16 when 24 cases were reported.
MLHU reported 19 cases on Friday and three cases on Saturday, snapping a five-day streak of double-digit daily case numbers.
According to health unit data, Sunday’s new cases involve 17 people in London, one in Strathroy-Caradoc, one in North Middlesex, and one in Lucan Biddulph.
In terms of age, five are under 19, eight are in their 20s, three in their 40s, two in their 50s, and one each in their 60s and 70s.
Five are male, 15 are female. Three are health-care workers, and five cases involve staff at long-term care homes.
According to the health unit, at least 239 cases have been reported in London and Middlesex since Sept. 1, 91 of whom have occurred just this month.
Health unit figures show people in their 20s remain the largest group of cases in the region by age, with 233 cases, or nearly a quarter of all infections.
People in their 50s make up 131 cases, while people in their 30s make up 124 cases. People 19 and under make up 118 cases and people 80 and older account for 112 cases.
People in their 40s make up 99 cases, people in their 60s make up 93 cases, and people in their 70s represent 64 cases.
At least 70 reported cases have been linked to Western University students. That tally, issued a week ago, is likely higher now, however, the health unit says it will not be issuing an updated figure for now.
The region’s incident rate is at 191.9 per 100,000 people, while Ontario’s is 393.5.
Overall, 897 cases have been reported in London. Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc’s case count has been 30, while Middlesex Centre has seen 17, Thames Centre 14, North Middlesex eight, Lucan Biddulph seven and Southwest Middlesex one.
Heading into the Thanksgiving long weekend, local health officials and politicians have one message for Londoners: stay home.
“Please, don’t travel out of town. Please, stick to members of your household only. The stakes this coming weekend have never been greater, and we absolutely cannot afford to get this wrong,” said London Mayor Ed Holder.
“Numbers are creeping up again here in London, while case counts across the province are setting new records. This is serious.”
The MLHU is asking that residents avoid close contact with anyone outside of their household, and to avoid non-essential travel to coronavirus hotspots like the GTA, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
The city’s two assessment centres will be open on the holiday Monday, according to officials with Thames Valley Family Health Team, who operate the centres alongside the London Health Sciences Centre.
Oakridge Arena is operating on a phone-ahead appointment system, while Carling Heights continues to operate with a time card system that allows people to show up at the centre and get an appointment to come back at a later time to get tested.
Both centres are prioritizing certain individuals.
At Carling Heights, patients who are symptomatic, have been notified of being exposed to the virus, live or work in a setting with an outbreak, or those eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative will be prioritized.
At Oakridge Arena, symptomatic children under 12 and symptomatic essential health-care workers will be prioritized, as will asymptomatic individuals in particular situations, such as seniors’ home residents and staff, farmworkers, and those in Indigenous communities.
Elsewhere, certain asymptomatic people are still able to get tested at three Shoppers Drug Mart locations in the city, while students and faculty at Western University can attend a testing clinic located in the on-campus Western Student Recreation Centre.
The number of active institutional outbreaks in the region is at six.
The most recent outbreak was declared Thursday in the Extendicare facility. It came a day after an outbreak in the Juniper and Norway Spruce areas of PeopleCare Oak Crossing. This comes days after a separate outbreak, in the facility’s Red Oak area, was declared over.
Outbreaks also remain active at Country Terrace (facility-wide), Earls Court Village (fourth floor), Meadow Park Care Centre (blue and yellow units) and Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (MV3).
Eight institutional outbreaks have been reported in the region since mid-September. At least 36 have been declared since the pandemic began, including 30 at seniors’ facilities.
They’re tied to at least 209 cases — 108 residents and 101 staff members — and 37 deaths.
A total of 119 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, including 33 who have needed intensive care.
Provincially, Ontario reported 649 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total to 59,139.
It marks a drop compared to the previous two days. The province reported 939 cases on Friday and 809 on Saturday.
One new death was also announced, bringing the death toll to 3,005.
Meanwhile, 50,437 cases are considered resolved, which is 85.3 per cent of all confirmed cases.
To try to curb the spread of COVID-19, Ontario imposed new restrictions on Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa.
Indoor dining at restaurants and bars is prohibited, while gyms, movie theatres and casinos closed down. The measures went into effect Saturday and will be in place for at least 28 days.
Elgin and Oxford
Officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported one new COVID-19 case on Sunday.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 274.
The number of recoveries remains unchanged at 267, and the number of deaths at five. The latest death was reported in early July.
At least two cases remain active. One is a female who is 19 or younger in Central Elgin, and the other is a female in her 50s in St. Thomas, health unit figures show.
The outbreak at Caressant Care on Mary Bucke, a seniors’ facility in St. Thomas, remains active as of Sunday with one staff case reported. The outbreak was reported Monday.
A total of five institutional outbreaks have been reported during the pandemic, linked to 111 staff cases and one resident case. No deaths are linked to the outbreaks.
By age, people in their 50s make up the largest number of cases with 52. People in their 20s, meanwhile, account for 50 cases, while people in their 40s make up 39 cases.
The five municipalities with the highest overall case counts are Aylmer with 82, St. Thomas with 46, Bayham with 38, Woodstock with 30 and Tillsonburg with 25.
The region’s per cent positivity rate was 0.2 per cent for the week of Sept. 27, the most recent data available. Nearly 3,000 tests were conducted that week.
Huron and Perth
Huron Perth Public Health does not update its case count over the weekend.
As of Friday, the region’s total case count remained at 136, of which 126 people have recovered. Five have died, a tally that has not changed since April 29.
Five cases were active in the region. One case is listed as a health-care worker.
By location, Huron and Perth counties have reported a total of 48 cases each during the pandemic, while Stratford has seen 34 cases, and St. Marys six.
Four outbreak-related deaths have been reported in Stratford, while one death has occurred in St. Marys. All five deaths took place in March and April.
At least 31 cases have involved people in their 20s, while 25 have been people in their 50s and 22 in their 60s. Sixteen cases each have involved people 19 and under and people in their 30s.
Fifty-four per cent of cases involve women and girls, while at least 38 of the region’s cases have involved health-care workers.
No hospitalized cases have been reported since late April. Five people have needed to be admitted to hospital during the pandemic, health unit figures show.
Some 40,061 tests had been conducted by the health unit as of Sept. 27, the most recent figures available. The week of Sept. 20-26 saw 2,726 tests conducted.
Sarnia and Lambton
The number of active COVID-19 cases in the region remains at zero for at least the fourth day in a row.
According to Lambton Public Health (LPH) numbers, a total of 347 cases have been reported during the pandemic.
Of those, 322 people have recovered and 25 have died. The death toll has not changed since early June.
Around 69 per cent of cases have been reported in urban areas, while 31 per cent have been in rural areas.
The number of cases has been largest among people aged 80 and older, followed by people in their 50s, and then people in their 20s.
At least 197 cases, or 57 per cent, have involved women and girls. At least 18 per cent have been health-care workers.
Hospitalizations have remained flat since mid-June when the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from Bluewater Health in Sarnia. A total of 58 people have been admitted to hospital.
Outbreaks have also remained flat since mid-August. A total of 10 have been declared.
According to health officials, 39,985 tests have been received as of Oct. 3, the latest figure available.
–With files from Matthew Trevithick, Sawyer Bodgan and Ryan Rocca