Coronavirus: 16 cases, 10 recoveries in London-Middlesex; 2 new local school cases reported

Unused coronavirus tests at the COVID-19 assessment facilities at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Unused coronavirus tests at the COVID-19 assessment facilities at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Sixteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while 10 others have recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Thursday.

That brings the region’s case total to 1,117, of which 1,004 people have recovered. Sixty people have died from the virus, most recently on Saturday involving a 51-year-old woman who was not linked to a seniors’ facility.

There are at least 63 known active cases of the virus in London and Middlesex.

Thursday’s update comes after two days in which a combined three cases were reported.

Prior to that, 14 new cases were reported on Monday along with 10 recoveries, while one death, 13 cases and 19 recoveries were reported Saturday through Sunday.

Read more: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

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Of Thursday’s cases, 13 are from London and three are from Middlesex Centre. A majority of the individuals are over the age of 40.

Health unit figures show three are aged 19 or under, two are in their 20s, one is in their 30s, two are in their 40s and four each are in their 50s and 60s.

Eight cases have contact with a confirmed case as their listed exposure source, while two are linked to travel and one is linked to an outbreak. The source of six cases is pending or undetermined, while two have no known link.

The region’s non-intensive care hospitalized tally also rose by one compared to Wednesday.

London Health Sciences Centre had reported that six inpatients with COVID-19 were in its care as of Monday, but that number has since declined — by how much is unclear. On Thursday, LHSC only reported that the number was now five or fewer.

No patients are in the care of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the organization reported.

A total of 129 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, including 33 who have needed intensive care. It’s not clear how many of these individuals later recovered and how many later died, as such information is not released by the health unit.

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Of the at least 247 cases that have been reported since the start of October, nearly half have involved people under the age of 30, health unit figures show.

At least 52 cases have involved people aged 19 or under, while 69 have involved people in their 20s. Meanwhile, people in their 30s have accounted for 31 cases, while those in their 40s, 50s and 60s, have seen 23, 33 and 28 cases, respectively.

The health unit on Thursday issued a reminder to students to avoid unnecessary travel to hotspots during the upcoming fall reading week. A similar message was also issued by the university’s president, Alan Shepard, in a letter to students.

The health unit is also asking residents to exercise caution if venturing out to trick-or-treat with loved ones.

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Two new cases have been reported involving schools in the London and Middlesex region.

The health unit says one case has been reported at a French Catholic elementary school in the city, École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, while the other has been reported at the Thames Valley District School Board’s West Nissouri Public School in Thorndale.

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It’s not known yet whether the cases involve staff or students.

They’re among six active cases in the region. Four cases were reported over the weekend at three schools within the London District Catholic School Board.

Two are located at St. Kateri Separate School, while one case each has been reported at Mother Teresa and St. Andre Bessette secondary schools.

At least 14 school-linked cases have been reported in the region since Sept. 21 when the first such case was reported at H.B. Beal Secondary School involving a student.

Confirmed cases 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.

Infections were also later reported on Oct. 9 and Oct. 12 at Sir Arthur Currie Public School involving a staff member and student, respectively (two cases that also prompted an outbreak declaration that remains active), on Oct. 12 at Mary Wright Public School in Strathroy-Caradoc and on Oct. 13 at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester.

The Thames Valley District School Board reported this week that 985 students who were previously learning in person at the board’s schools will be moving to remote learning starting Nov. 16. Board officials say that based on the availability of resources, it may not always allow requests to change learning models going forward.

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Elementary in-person enrolment is still over 45,400 students, while full remote learning has almost 10,000 students. Among high school students, roughly 21,000 attend on an adapted schedule while almost 3,000 are learning remotely only.

Meantime, a post-secondary outbreak at a student residence at Western University remains active, but health officials say it will likely be declared over in the next few days.

The outbreak was declared Oct. 11 at London Hall, and has been tied to at least six student cases.

At least 76 students at Western have tested positive since the start of September, a tally that is likely much higher now. The health unit hasn’t issued a new tally in multiple weeks.

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The total number of institutional outbreaks that have been declared in the region during the pandemic remains unchanged at 45, including 39 at seniors’ facilities.

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They’ve been linked to at least 220 cases, involving 110 residents and 110 staff members, and have also been tied to 38 deaths, including one reported Oct. 15.

The most recent outbreak was declared on Monday involving Chartwell Royalcliffe Retirement Residence.

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It’s among five outbreaks that currently remain active in the region:

  • Strathmere Lodge (Bear Creek, Arbor Glen, Parkview Place)
  • Oakcrossing Retirement Living (first, third and fourth floors)
  • Westmount Gardens (Lily)
  • Chartwell London (entire long-term care facility)
  • Craigwiel Gardens (long-term care home only, not apartments)

So far this month, the health unit says at least 19 cases have been linked to long-term care homes and two to retirement homes.

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A revised Section 22 order for personal care businesses is now in effect.

Health officials say the updated order mandates that staff of such establishments wear a medical-grade procedural mask and a face shield when performing a service that requires the client to take off their mask. The use of an N95 respirator is not required, the order says.

The order says that employees or providers who can’t wear a mask or face covering are not allowed to have direct contact with clients, and that multi-participant steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools and bathhouses must be closed. Facilities using single-person isolation float or salt pools can continue operating.

“Failure to comply with these Orders can result in fines of up to $5,000.00 for each day the offence occurs or continues,” the health unit says.

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“Businesses that fail to comply can be fined up to $25,000 for each day on which the offence occurs.”

Two separate orders, one covering food and drink establishments and indoor fitness and sports facilities, came into effect on Saturday.

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Those looking to get tested can still visit one of the city’s two assessment centres at Carling Heights or Oakridge Arena, or visit one of eight pharmacies in the city.

The pharmacies are offering testing to certain asymptomatic people, like those with loved ones in long-term care homes, close contacts of a known case and workers at high risk.

The pharmacies testing are:

  • London Medical Plex Pharmacy at 1807 Wonderland Rd. N.
  • Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy at 279 Wharncliffe Rd. N.
  • Medpoint Pharmacy in Citi Plaza
  • Shoppers Drug Mart at 3090 Colonel Talbot Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart at 115 Commissioners Rd.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart at 603 Fanshawe Park Rd. W.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart at 395 Southdale Rd. E.
  • TMC Pharmacy at 990 Gainsborough Rd.

Health officials note that the city’s two assessment centres are prioritizing those with symptoms, school children, those exposed to a confirmed case and notified by the health unit or the COVID Alert app, and those part of an outbreak investigation.

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Carling Heights is still operating with a time-card system, while Oakridge Arena is taking appointments by phone and online.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 0.9 per cent as of the week of Oct. 18, compared to Ontario’s 2.7. Around 6,400 people were tested that week.

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The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 7.71 as of Thursday, while looking back to Oct. 15, the 14-day average is also 7.71.

The region’s incident rate stands at 222.1 per 100,000 people, while Ontario’s is 490.3.

At least 1,035 cases have been reported in London, while 31 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc.

Elsewhere, Middlesex Centre has seen 31 cases, while Thames Centre has reported 21. North Middlesex is at eight, Lucan Biddulph seven and Southwest Middlesex one.

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Provincially, Ontario reported 934 new cases of the virus on Thursday and 10 new deaths.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 420 cases are in Toronto, 169 are in Peel Region, 95 in York Region and 62 in Ottawa.

The province says it has conducted 35,621 tests since the last daily report and has a backlog of 40,074.

In total, 322 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 77 in intensive care.

The province also reported 99 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 55 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 581 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

Read more: Ontario reports 934 new coronavirus cases, 10 more deaths

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is expected to release new COVID-19 projections Thursday.

Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday that the modelling will show the number of new daily infections moving “in the right direction.”

The figures are expected to be released Thursday afternoon at a news conference involving several health officials, including the province’s top public health doctor.

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Previous projections, released late last month, showed the province recording 1,000 new daily cases by mid-October.

Ontario passed that threshold last weekend but the numbers have since dropped.

Read more: Coronavirus — Ontario government expected to release new COVID-19 projections

Elgin and Oxford

Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus and three others have recovered, Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported Thursday.

The update brings the region’s total case count to 317, of which 295 pepole have recovered. Five people have died, a tally that has not risen since early July.

Four cases were reported in Woodstock, while one is in Tillsonburg.

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Thursday’s update leaves 17 known active cases in the region, with 12 located in Woodstock, four in Aylmer and one in Tillsonburg.

Those infected span multiple age groups, health unit data shows. Three are aged 19 or younger, one is in their 20s, six are in their 30s, two are in their 40s, four are in their 50s and one is in their 60s.

No people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus, the health unit says. Twenty-four people have been hospitalized since March, with half needing intensive care.

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None of the five new cases are linked to two active institutional outbreaks at Chartwell Aylmer or Secord Trails in Ingersoll, where one staff member has tested positive at each facility.

The outbreaks, declared Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, respectively, are among seven that have been declared during the pandemic. They’re tied to 14 cases, all but one involving staff members.

No cases are also linked to any schools in the region. Two have been reported so far, with one at St. Thomas Community Christian School on Sept. 25 and another at Mitchell Hepburn Public School on Sept. 29. Both cases have since recovered.

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There are currently two active cases related to child-care centres in the region, according to the province, which has reported one child case and one staff case at Oxford Community Child Care in Woodstock. It’s unclear when the cases were reported.

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Aylmer has reported the most cases of any municipality during the pandemic with 88, due largely to a spike that was seen in late July and early August.

That’s followed by St. Thomas with 49, Woodstock with 47, Bayham with 38, Tillsonburg with 31 and Dutton/Dunwich, Ingersoll and Norwich with 10 each.

As of the week of Oct. 18, the region’s test positivity rate stood at 0.4 per cent. At least 3,379 people were tested for the virus that week.

Huron and Perth

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

The region’s case total stands at 146, of which 137 people have recovered. Five people have died, a tally unchanged since late April.

Health officials reported three cases on Wednesday, all involving residents of a Stratford retirement home that had declared an outbreak.

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The outbreak at Cedarcroft Place Retirement Home is the first time since mid-May that cases have been reported involving seniors’ facility residents in the region, and the first time that retirement home residents, in particular, have been infected.

A total of 10 outbreaks have been reported in the region during the pandemic, which are tied to at least 27 cases and four deaths.

All four deaths occurred at Greenwood Court, a long-term care home in Stratford that saw an outbreak from late March to mid-May.

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No active cases have been reported at local schools.

A probable case was reported on Oct. 16 involving a member of Stratford’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School, however no positive cases were later reported on the province’s school case database.

At least 51 cases have been reported in Perth County since March, including 19 in North Perth and 17 in Perth East, while 48 cases have been confirmed in Perth County, including 19 in North Perth and 17 in Perth East.

At least 41 cases hand four deaths have been reported in Stratford, while six cases and one death have been reported in St. Marys.

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At least 32 cases in the region have involved people in their 20s, while 26 have been people in their 50s and 24 in their 60s.

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

Five people have recovered from the coronavirus, Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Wednesday night.

The recoveries leave one known active case in the region.

The county has seen 369 confirmed cases of the virus during the pandemic, of which 343 people have since recovered. Twenty-five people have died, a tally unchanged since early June.

The health unit reported no change late Tuesday, one recovery late Monday and one case late Sunday.

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A workplace outbreak declared Oct. 15 is now over, according to the health unit. The outbreak had been tied to three cases. The name of the workplace was not released.

One outbreak remains active at Twin Lakes Terrace, a long-term care facility in Sarnia where two staff members have tested positive. The outbreak was also declared on Oct. 15.

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At least 12 outbreaks have been declared in the region since March. Ten have been institutional outbreaks while two have been workplace outbreaks.

Overall, the outbreaks are linked to 114 cases and 16 deaths. Nearly all cases, and all 16 deaths, were reported at Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home in the spring.

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One school-linked case remains active, according to the Lambton Kent District School Board.

The case involves a student at Sarnia’s Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School and is the second student case to be reported there.

In total, four school-linked cases have been reported in Lambton. The other two, which also involved students, were reported at Bright’s Grove Public School in Sarnia and Colonel Cameron Public School in Corunna in St. Clair Township.

No people are currently in hospital. A total of at least 58 people have been admitted due to the virus since the pandemic began. The most recent patient was discharged Oct. 20.

Nearly 44,600 people had been tested in the county as of Oct. 17, health unit figures show.

— With files from The Canadian Press