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Coronavirus: 6 new cases in London-Middlesex as region’s pandemic case tally surpasses 1,000

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The total number of coronavirus cases confirmed in London and Middlesex during the pandemic surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday after the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported six new cases.

It comes on the heels of a long weekend that saw 48 new cases reported, including a record 25 on Monday alone, and the declaration of three new institutional outbreaks and two educational outbreaks.

The pandemic case count for the region now stands at 1,005.

Ten recoveries were also reported Tuesday, bringing that total to 855. Fifty-seven people have also died due to the virus, a tally unchanged since June 12.

There are at least 93 known active cases of the virus in London and Middlesex, according to the health unit.

Health officials reported 25 cases and seven recoveries on Monday, 20 cases and seven recoveries on Sunday, three cases and 12 recoveries on Saturday, and 19 cases and eight recoveries on Friday.

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A chart from the Middlesex-London Health Unit showing cases of the virus by reported date from Jan. 24 until Oct. 13, 2020. Middlesex-London Health Unit

Of the six cases reported on Tuesday, three are from London, two are from Thames Centre, and one is from Middlesex Centre.

The ages of the newly infected individuals span several demographics. One is aged 19 or younger, one is in their 20s, one is in their 30s, two are in their 40s, and one is in their 60s.

Three became infected through contact with a confirmed case while one is linked to an outbreak. One case is listed as having no known link, while one has their exposure source as pending or undetermined.

At least 270 cases have been reported in London and Middlesex since Sept. 1, of which 122 have occurred this month.

About 74 per cent of all cases reported since the start of September have involved people under the age of 40.

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At least 88 cases have involved people aged 19 or younger, 90 cases have involved people in their 20s, and 22 cases have involved people in their 30s.

The region’s seven-day average for new cases stood at 13.42 on Monday, up from 9.85 on Friday. Looking back to Sept. 29, the 14-day average is 10, up from 8.14 on Friday. The region’s incident rate stands at 198.0 per 100,000 people, while Ontario’s is 397.9.

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The total number of school-linked cases in the region has risen again after a case was reported on Tuesday at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester.

It’s not clear whether the case involves a staff member or student at the school. In a statement, health officials said the person was at the school while they were infectious. Close contacts are being followed up with.

The Northdale Central case is among at least seven school-linked cases that have been reported in London-Middlesex over the last week, and at least the tenth to be seen in the immediate London area since the start of September.

Over the long weekend, one case was reported at Mary Wright Public School in Strathroy, while an outbreak was declared at Sir Arthur Currie Public School following the confirmation of another case at the school. The first case was reported on Friday and involved a staff member.

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Elsewhere, two staff cases have been reported at École élémentaire La Pommeraie, one on Oct. 5, the other on Oct. 8, while a student case was reported at Saunders Secondary School on Oct. 7.

Two cases were also reported at two schools in St. Thomas on Sept. 25 and Sept. 29, and one student case was reported at H.B. Beal Secondary School on Sept. 21.

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Read more: Coronavirus outbreak declared at Western University residence after 4 students test positive

Cases are also continuing to crop up at the city’s post-secondary institutions, namely Western University, where health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak at an on-campus residence on Sunday.

The outbreak at London Hall was declared after four people in the residence tested positive for the virus, health officials said. No new cases linked to the outbreak were reported Tuesday.

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The university says those who tested positive are isolating out of residence, and some close contacts have been moved to a quarantine location out of an abundance of caution.

At least 74 Western students have tested positive for the virus since the start of September, including the four who tested positive over the weekend. The figure is likely higher. The health unit last issued an updated tally of student cases on Oct. 1, saying the number was 70.

Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, noted Monday that it will be another week or so before it’s determined what kind of impact the Thanksgiving long weekend had on cases.

“We know that some students did return home over Thanksgiving. We hope that anyone who did so was as careful as possible,” he said.

If you had an exposure over the weekend, most cases of illness would show up within two to five days of exposure, and then you’re looking at getting tested and getting a result back.”

Mackie said with the main activities driving post-secondary cases being after-hours parties, stopping in-person learning wouldn’t necessarily improve case rates at the university.

“The precautions that are being taken at Western for in-person learning are very strong and likely to contribute to reduced spread, if any, in those classroom environments. So we don’t see, at least in the short term, the need to direct the closure of in-person learning opportunities.”

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The university says staff and students can get tested at its testing centre located in the Western Student Recreation Centre.

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The number of active institutional outbreaks in the region stands at eight after three outbreaks were declared during the weekend at local seniors’ facilities and one outbreak was declared over.

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The outbreaks, at Craigwiel Gardens, McGarrell Place, and Henley Place LTC Residence, were declared on Saturday and Sunday, the health unit said.

The Craigwiel Gardens outbreak covers the entire facility, while the outbreak at McGarrell Place includes Ivey Lane, Harris House, and Windermere Way. The outbreak at Henley Place covers the facility’s Harris area.

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Meanwhile, the facility-wide outbreak declared Sept. 23 at Country Terrace is over, the health unit says. The outbreak was resolved as of Monday.

“These are staff positives that are identified through the screening of health-care workers, which is happening every two weeks,” Dr. Mackie said Monday when asked what was fueling the recent uptick in long-term care outbreaks. “We have not seen those cases spread from health-care workers into staff. A vast majority of those health-care workers are asymptomatic, no symptoms at all. This is part of the routine screening that is happening.”

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“Long-term care is under significant public health restrictions and measures, one of the main measures being distancing and masking in those facilities, as well as lots of restrictions on visiting in and out of long-term care and retirement homes. So far, that firewall we’re putting around those at greatest risk is holding.”

Eleven institutional outbreaks have been reported in the region since mid-September. At least 39 have been declared since the pandemic began, including 33 at seniors’ facilities. It’s not clear how many cases are linked to the 11 most recent outbreaks. Such information is not released by the health unit.

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Outbreaks remain active at Extendicare (facility-wide), Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper and Norway Spruce), Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV3), Earls Court Village (fourth floor), and Meadow Park Care Centre (Blue and Yellow units).

Outbreaks are linked to 209 cases involving 108 residents and 101 staff. They’re also tied to 35 of the region’s deaths.

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Read more: Canada adds 975 new coronavirus cases, 14 more deaths on Monday

The city’s two assessment centres continue to see high turnout amid the surge in cases, with Carling Heights reporting three days in a row last week of client visits numbering over 500.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of last week saw 557, 529, and 533 visits, respectively. Numbers dipped later in the week to 386 on Friday. A total of 954 visits were recorded at the centre over the three-day weekend.

The centre is operating with a time card system in contrast to Oakridge Arena, which has been appointment-based since the start of last week. As a result, Oakridge has recorded much fewer visits.

Oakridge Arena reported seeing just 830 clients between Monday and Friday of last week, and 213 visits on Thanksgiving Monday. Carling Heights also saw lower turnout on the holiday, reporting just 283 visits.

Both centres are prioritizing certain individuals.

Testing of certain asymptomatic people is also still available at three Shoppers Drug Mart locations in London. It’s not clear if the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service mobile testing bus is operational. No new dates have been released for this week or next.

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Overall, 917 cases have been reported in London, or about 92 per cent of all the region’s cases. Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc’s case count stands at 31, while Thames Centre has seen 18, Middlesex Centre 17, North Middlesex eight, Lucan Biddulph seven and Southwest Middlesex one.

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Of the region’s cases, 243 — or about 24 per cent — have involved people in their 20s, making them the largest group of cases by age.

People in their 50s account for 132 cases, while people in their 30s account for 128 cases, and people 19 and under 127. People 80 and older make up 112 cases.

No new hospitalizations were reported on Tuesday, keeping the total tally at 119. Of those, 33 have needed intensive care.

It’s not clear if anyone is currently hospitalized as the health unit does not issue such real-time information, nor does London Health Sciences Center, unless their COVID-19 patient tally rises above five, which it hasn’t.

As a result, LHSC hasn’t issued an updated tally since mid-June, both for COVID-19 patients in its care and for the number of its staff members who have contracted the virus.

No COVID-19 patients are in the case of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, according to the organization’s website. A total of 21 of its staff members have tested positive during the pandemic.

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Ontario

Provincially, Ontario reported 746 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday and 807 on Monday, a total of 1,553 over the two days.

Nine deaths were also reported on Tuesday; there were three on Monday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Tuesday’s new cases include 311 in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region and 116 in Ottawa.

She says 1,292 cases were marked as resolved over the two days. The province has conducted more than 67,700 tests in that time.

Read more: Ontario reports 807 new coronavirus cases Thanksgiving Monday, 746 Tuesday

The Ontario government is working to decide which of the province’s long-term care homes will receive assistance from the Canadian Red Cross as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Long-Term Care says the province will be finalizing details of the deployment over the coming days.

On Sunday, the federal government announced it had approved a request from Ontario to send the Red Cross to seven long-term care facilities in Ottawa.

The federal minister of public safety, Bill Blair, tweeted that the organization would “help assess and stabilize the situation” in the homes.

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Provincial data show 66 long-term care homes currently have outbreaks of COVID-19.

Elgin and Oxford

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

The region’s total case count remains at 277, of which 267 have recovered. Five people have also died, most recently in early July.

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There are five known active cases in the region. Two are in Ingersoll, and one each are in Central Elgin, East Zorra-Tavistock, and St. Thomas.

They include one person aged 19 or younger, one person in their 20s, one in their 30s, and two people in their 50s. None are currently hospitalized.

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Three cases were reported on Thanksgiving Monday, one case on Sunday, and none on Saturday.

The lone active outbreak in the region, located at Caressant Care on Mary Bucke in St. Thomas, remains active as of Tuesday. One staff case has been reported. The outbreak was declared on Oct. 5.

A total of five institutional outbreaks have been reported during the pandemic, linked at least 111 staff cases and one resident case. No deaths are linked to the outbreaks.

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The confirmed case involving a student at Mitchell Hepburn Public School in St. Thomas also remains active, according to the Thames Valley District School Board website. It’s one of two school-linked cases to be reported in the region.

People in their 50s make up, just barely, the largest number of cases with 53. People in their 20s, meanwhile, account for 51 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 45, 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.

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Huron and Perth

Four people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus while four people have recovered, officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reported on Tuesday.

It brings the region’s total case count to 140, of which 130 people have recovered and five have died. The death toll has not changed since April 29.

No update was released by the health unit over the long weekend.

The four new cases were reported in Stratford, which saw three cases, and in Perth East.

There are five known active cases in the region.

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared since July 29. A total of eight have been reported, linked to 24 cases and four deaths.

Greenwood Court, which had an outbreak from March 30 to May 11, reported the largest number of cases, 16, along with four deaths.

One death not linked to an outbreak, the region’s first death, was reported in St. Mays early on in the pandemic.

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At least 32 cases have involved people in their 20s, while 25 have been people in their 50s and 22 in their 60s. Eighteen cases have involved people in their 30s, while 16 have involved people aged 19 or younger.

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 Oct. 3, the most recent figures available. The week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 saw 2,726 tests conducted.

Sarnia and Lambton

One person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and one has recovered, officials with Lambton Public Health reported late Monday.

It brings the region’s total case count to 349, of which 323 have recovered. Twenty-five have also died, most recently in early June.

There is one known active case in the region.

It’s not clear where the case is located, as the health unit has refused to release location information, instead providing only a “rural/urban” pie graph.

Sixty-nine per cent of cases have been in urban areas, while 31 per cent have been in rural areas.

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The number of cases has been largest among people aged 80 and older, accounting for 76 cases, followed by people in their 50s with 52 cases, and then people in their 20s with 50 cases.

At least 198 cases, or 57 per cent, have involved women and girls. At least 18 per cent of all cases have involved health-care workers.

The number of hospitalizations that have occurred in the county since the pandemic began remains unchanged at 58. The last COVID-19 patient to be discharged from local hospital was in mid-June.

No new outbreaks have been declared since Aug. 10. A total of 10 have been reported, linked to 109 cases and 16 deaths.

A vast majority of those cases, and all 16 deaths, are linked to outbreaks at two Sarnia seniors’ facilities — Landmark Village from March to May, and Vision Nursing Home from April to June.

According to health officials, 39,985 tests have been received as of Oct. 3, the latest figures available.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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