Coronavirus: 1 death, 9 cases in London-Middlesex; health unit unveils new pandemic orders

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

One person has died, nine have tested positive for the coronavirus, and six more people have recovered, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported on Wednesday.

The region’s total case count stands at 1,060, of which 934 people have now recovered and 59 have died. There are at least 67 known active cases of the virus in London and Middlesex.

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Health officials said the death involved a 71-year-old man who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home.

“I can tell you that this individual was sick for some time, that the death, although tragic and very sad for the family and everyone involved, it was not a surprise at this stage in the illness,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health on Wednesday.

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It’s the second COVID-19-related death to be reported in the region in less than a week, after health officials announced Thursday that a 91-year-old long-term care home resident had died of the virus.

Prior to that, no deaths had been recorded in London and Middlesex since June 12.

Of the nine new cases reported Wednesday, all are from London, Ont., health unit figures show. One is aged 19 or younger, three are in their 20s, three are in their 30s, and two are in their 50s.

Three cases have their exposure source listed as being a contact of a confirmed, while one contracted the virus through travel. Three others have no known link, while two are pending or undetermined.

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The region’s non-ICU hospital tally rose by one compared to Tuesday. It’s unclear if it involves any of the nine new cases. A total of 125 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, including 33 in intensive care.

It’s not clear how many people are currently in hospital.  St. Joseph’s Health Care London reported no COVID-19 patients in its care Wednesday, while London Health Sciences Centre says it will issue a tally when the number of inpatients with COVID-19 rises above five.

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Health officials reported six cases and eight recoveries on Tuesday, 11 cases and 12 recoveries on Monday, and four cases and seven recoveries on Sunday.

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The region is continuing to sees with an uptick in cases as health officials grapple with a second wave of the virus.

At least 180 cases have been reported in the region since the start of October, and 328 since the start of September.

The reported over the last week or two have involved more people from various age groups in contrast to the spike seen through September involving people under 30.

Read more: New restrictions issued for gyms, restaurants, salons in London and Middlesex County

Wednesday’s update comes as the health unit has unveiled new pandemic restrictions for specific settings in the city and county.

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Health officials have issued three Section 22 orders, set to come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, regarding food and drink establishments, indoor fitness and sports facilities, and personal care businesses.

Among the new restrictions are limits on how many restaurant patrons can be seated at each table indoors and outdoors, and orders to ensure that patrons are seated at all times (with some exceptions), and that patrons be seated at different tables separated by either two metres distance or a barrier.

The eateries are also being ordered to collect the contact information of all patrons who are seated.

For fitness facilities come new limits to the number of people allowed in classes and organized activities or programs, and orders for instructors to wear face coverings or to provide instruction virtually, and for HVAC systems to be well maintained in line with provincial guidance on the matter.

Personal care business are also ordered to close locker rooms, change rooms, showers, baths, hot tubs, floating pools, and sensory deprivation pods, with some exceptions. Staff are also ordered to wear appropriate personal protective equipment or not be permitted to have direct contact with clients.

While several restrictions outlined in the orders are already part of the province’s Stage 3 regulations, issuing them as Section 22 orders gives local health officials more teeth when it comes to enforcement.

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“Failure to comply with these Orders can result in fines of up to $5,000.00 for each day the offence occurs or continues. Businesses that fail to comply can be fined up to $25,000 for each day on which the offence occurs,” the health unit said in a statement.

Health officials say indoor dining has been associated with COVID-19 transmission locally and elsewhere, while indoor fitness facilities and personal care businesses, such as hair and tanning salons and tattoo studios, have been tied to outbreaks in Ontario.

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No new cases were reported Tuesday involving local elementary or secondary schools, according to the health unit.

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At least nine cases have been reported in schools in London and Middlesex since Sept. 21 when the region’s first school-linked case was reported at H.B. Beal Secondary School involving a student.

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Cases have also been reported at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School involving a student on Oct. 17, and at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester, also involving a student, on Oct. 13.

Cases have also been reported at Mary Wright Public School in Strathroy on Oct. 12 and at Sir Arthur Currie Public School in London.

Sir Arthur Currie has actually seen two cases, one involving a staff member on Oct. 9, and another involving a student on Oct. 12. The second case prompted an outbreak declaration which remains active.

Cases, all since resolved, have also been reported at École élémentaire La Pommeraie on Oct. 5 and Oct. 8, both involving staff members, and at Saunders Secondary School on Oct. 7 involving a student.

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In post-secondary settings, an outbreak at London Hall remained active as of Tuesday.

The outbreak, declared Oct. 11 at the Western University residence building, came after four students tested positive. One additional student also later tested positive.

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It’s unclear how many students at Western have tested positive for the virus. The last updated tally issued by health officials, 70, came about two weeks ago.

At least 75 at the school have tested positive, including the outbreak cases.

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No change was reported to the total number of institutional outbreaks at long-term care homes, retirement homes, or hospitals in the city.

All nine outbreaks that were active on Tuesday remained active on Wednesday.

The outbreaks are located at:

  • Oakcrossing Retirement Living (first, third and fourth floors)
  • Westmount Gardens (Lily)
  • Chartwell London (facility)
  • Chelsey Park Long-Term Care (fourth floor)
  • Henley Place LTC Residence (Harris)
  • Craigwiel Gardens (facility)
  • McGarrell Place (Ivey Lane, Harris House, Windermere Way)
  • Extendicare (facility)
  • Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper, Norway Spruce)

According to the health unit, at least 43 institutional outbreaks have been declared since the pandemic began in March, with 37 occurring at seniors’ facilities.

At least 15 of them have been declared just since mid-September.

Overall, the outbreaks are linked to a combined 38 deaths, as well as 218 cases involving 110 residents and 108 staff members.

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The region’s seven-day average for new cases stood at 7.28 on Wednesday. Looking back to Oct. 7, the 14-day average is 9.5. The region’s incident rate stands at 208.9 per 100,000 people, while Ontario’s is 443.3.

At least 972 cases have been reported in London, while 31 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc.

Elsewhere, Thames Centre’s case count stands at 21, while Middlesex Centre’s is 20, North Middlesex is at eight, Lucan Biddulph seven and Southwest Middlesex one.

People in their 20s remain the largest group of cases by age, making up 24 per cent of all cases with 259.

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People in their 30s and 50s each account for 13 per cent of cases with 143and 141 cases, respectively, while those aged 19 and under account for 131 cases, or 12 per cent.

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At least 196 cases involve health-care workers, the health unit says.

It’s not clear how many staff cases have been reported involving London Health Sciences Centre, but at least four staff cases have been reported at St. Joseph’s Health Care London since the start of September, the organization says.

Previously, St. Joseph’s had reported a total of 19 staff cases, meaning there have been at least 24 staff cases since the pandemic began.


Provincially, Ontario reported 790 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and nine new deaths.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 321 of the new cases are in Toronto, 157 are in Peel Region, 76 are in York Region and 57 are in Ottawa.

The province says it has conducted 32,646 tests since the last daily report, with another 29,332 being processed.

Read more: Ontario reports 790 new coronavirus cases, 9 more deaths

In total, 260 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 71 in intensive care.

The province is also reporting 144 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 66 among students.

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Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 518 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

Elgin and Oxford

Two people have recovered from the novel coronavirus, officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported on Wednesday.

The region’s total case count remains at 298, of which 277 people have recovered and five have died — a death toll unchanged since early July.

There are at least 16 known active cases of the virus, health officials say. None are in hospital.

Of those, three each are in Aylmer, Ingersoll, St. Thomas and Woodstock, and two are in Tillsonburg. South-West Oxford and West Elgin have one active case each.

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Four cases involve people aged 19 or younger, three involve people in their 20s, two involve people in their 30s, one is in their 40s, five are in their 50s and one is in their 60s. Eight are female and eight are male.

Health officials reported five cases and five recoveries Tuesday, and two cases on Monday.

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Neither of the two new cases involve outbreaks reported in the region.

One, declared on Oct. 5 at Caressant Care on Mary Bucke in St. Thomas, was declared over as of Wednesday, according to the health unit. The facility saw one staff infection.

One outbreak remains active. Declared on Oct. 17, the outbreak at Chartwell Aylmer came after one staff member tested positive.

It’s among six outbreaks overall that have been declared during the pandemic. None of the outbreaks are tied to any deaths. Only one, the region’s first outbreak in late March, involved a resident.

No new cases have been reported involving local schools. Two cases, both resolved, have been reported so far: one at St. Thomas Community Christian School on Sept. 25 and the other at Mitchell Hepburn Public School on Sept. 29.

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Aylmer has reported the largest number of cases during the pandemic with 85, followed by St. Thomas with 49, Bayham with 38, Woodstock with 32, Tillsonburg with 29, and Dutton/Dunwich, Ingersoll, and Norwich with 10 apiece.

The region’s test positivity rate was 0.5 per cent as of the week of Oct. 11, the most recent figures available. That week saw 2,600 people tested for the virus.

Huron and Perth

The region’s total case tally stands at 141 as of Wednesday, with 136 recoveries and five deaths.

There are no active cases in the region, according to the health unit.

The region’s death toll has remained unchanged since late April.

Health officials reported one case on Tuesday.

At least 49 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 19 in North Perth and 16 in Perth East.

In Huron County, at least 48 cases have been reported, with 14 in Central Huron, 13 in Bluewater and 10 in South Huron.

Elsewhere, Stratford has seen 38 cases and four deaths connected to one outbreak early in the pandemic, while St. Marys has reported six cases and one death. The death was the first to be reported in the entire region.

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Three days after it was declared, an outbreak at Hillside Manor in Perth East has been declared over.

It’s unclear why the outbreak lasted such a short duration. It’s also unclear why the outbreak is listed as having no reported cases on the health unit’s website.

A total of nine outbreaks have been reported, linked to 24 cases and four deaths.

No new cases have been reported at local schools. Last week, the health unit determined there had been a probable case of the virus involving a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School in Stratford.

At least 32 cases in the region have involved people in their 20s, while 25 have been people in their 50s and 22 in their 60s.

The total number of hospitalizations has not changed since late April. A total of five people have needed to be hospitalized.

Some 42,983 tests had been conducted by the health unit as of Oct. 10, the most recent figures available. The week of Oct. 4 to 10 saw 2,614 people tested.

Sarnia and Lambton

Two people have recovered for the coronavirus, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Tuesday night.

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The region’s total case count stands at 365, of which 331 people have recovered. Twenty-five have died, a tally unchanged since early June.

There are at least nine active cases in the region, the health unit said.

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A case at a local school has resolved, according to the province. The case, reported last week at Colonel Cameron Public School in Corunna, involved a student.

Two other cases remain active, both at schools in Sarnia involving students. One was reported at Bright’s Grove Public School, while the other involves Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School.

The three cases have been the only ones reported so far involving schools in Lambton County.

On Monday, health officials said they were expanding their school and child-care testing, noting they were now able to offer testing to child care-aged children at most locations.

Health officials encourage all symptomatic children to get tested.

Meantime, two outbreaks remain active in the county, both declared on Oct. 15. One, at an unspecified workplace, came after three people tested positive, while the other, located at Twin Lakes Terrace, a long-term care home in Sarnia, came after two staff members tested positive.

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Twelve outbreaks have been declared during the pandemic, with nine at seniors’ facilities, two at workplaces and one at Bluewater Health hospital.

They’re linked to 114 cases and 16 deaths, however, a vast majority of cases, and all 16 deaths, occurred at two long-term care homes in Sarnia.

Read more: Coronavirus — Lambton County health officials unveil new case mapping tool

As of Tuesday, residents are now able to see where coronavirus cases have appeared most in the county.

Health officials unveiled a new COVID-19 case mapping tool that breaks down Lambton into two rural and three urban reporting regions, displaying how many cases have been seen in each.

According to the tool, South Sarnia and Point Edward have collectively reported the largest number of cases during the pandemic with 98, including eight in the last month. That’s followed by South Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang First Nation, which have reported a combined 94, including five in the last month.

The region with the fewest total cases, covering Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming, Warwick, and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, has seen a total of 37 — none within the last month.

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Similar to Tuesday, no changes have been reported to the region’s overall hospitalization tally, which stands at 58.

A patient who was admitted to Bluewater Health hospital earlier this month was discharged on Tuesday, the hospital said.

LPH officials say nearly 44,600 people had been tested in the county as of Oct. 17.

— With files from The Canadian Press