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Coronavirus: 18 new cases in London-Middlesex as Elgin-Oxford records first death in months

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Eighteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 11 have recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Wednesday.

The region’s total case count is now 1,512, of which 1,309 people have recovered and 64 have died. The most recent death was reported on Monday involving a woman in her 70s not linked to a long-term care or retirement home.

As of Wednesday, the region has recorded at least 366 cases since the start of November, more than any other month of the pandemic so far. April recorded a total of 341 cases, according to the health unit.

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The region remains in the yellow-protect tier of the province’s restrictions framework.

Read more: Auditor general highlights Ontario’s ‘confusing,’ indirect communications on COVID-19 in new report

Of the 18 new cases reported Wednesday, all are from London, according to the health unit, with more than half under the age of 30.

Six are aged 19 or younger, five are in their 20s, two each are in their 30s and 40s, and one each is in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

Thirteen contracted the virus through close contact with a confirmed case, while four became infected through outbreaks. One case had no known link.

The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 17.24 as of Wednesday, while the 14-day average stands at 15.78.

According to the health unit, 1,393 cases have been reported in London since the pandemic began, while Middlesex Centre and Strathroy-Caradoc have seen 35 each, and Thames Centre 29. Lucan Biddulph has seen nine, North Middlesex eight, Southwest Middlesex two and Newbury one.

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Police say more charges have been laid under the Reopening Ontario Act in connection to large indoor gatherings in the city.

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It’s the fourth time this month that police have laid charges under the act.

The most recent charges, announced Wednesday, stem from a gathering that was reported to police just after midnight Sunday morning in the 1100 block of Richmond Street, near Huron Street.

A 19-year-old Toronto woman has since been charged in relation to the gathering after officers determined there were approximately 30 people inside the address, more than the 10 allowed under provincial restrictions.

Police charged a 20-year-old woman on Monday in relation to an indoor party on Ann Street over the weekend, and previously laid charges against five men, aged 18 to 24, in connection to two separate massive house parties on Beaufort Street on Oct. 30 and on Mill Street on Nov. 14.

Read more: Noise complaint leads to charges after 30 people gather in Richmond St. home: London police

According to health unit figures, people under the age of 30 have accounted for 51 per cent of all cases reported so far this month, with 81 linked to people 19 and under and 108 linked to people in their 20s.

Twenty-somethings, in particular, account for the largest number of cases by age during the pandemic with 387, or about a quarter of all cases reported in London and Middlesex. People 19 and under are the second-largest group by age, with 227 cases.

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Hospitalizations

The number of people currently hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre for COVID-19 has risen to 27 as of Wednesday — an increase of four from the day before.

At the same time, the number of LHSC staff members who are currently infected has risen by one to 20.

The organization continues to deal with outbreaks at University Hospital across four floors of the facility that have infected at least 40 people.

No COVID-19 patients were reported at St. Joseph’s Hospital as of Tuesday. According to St. Joseph’s Health Care London, two of its staff members currently have the virus.

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The health unit’s intensive care and non-ICU hospitalization tallies also rose by one each, however it’s unclear if these are new hospitalizations or previous hospitalizations that are just now being added to the dataset.

At least 164 people have been hospitalized in London and Middlesex since March, according to the health unit. Of those, 37 have needed intensive care.

Data showing daily hospital admissions for COVID-19 is not readily available and is not made public by the hospitals.

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Figures released by the Ministry of Health to Global News — which had been provided to the ministry by the hospitals themselves — only show the overall number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of those hospitals on a given day, not how many people were admitted each day.

The largest number of COVID-19 patients in the care of LHSC on any given day was 38 on April 26, or about 5.8 per cent of all inpatients that day, the data shows.

Neither St. Joseph’s Health Care London nor Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital has seen more than four COVID-19 patients in their care at any given time. (This is reflected in the data as ‘<5’.)

Schools

No new cases have been reported involving local schools, according to the health unit, the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

The most recent case to be reported in London and Middlesex was late Monday at Lord Dorchester Secondary School involving a student.

Read more: Western University adding extra week to winter break

As of Wednesday, at least 45 cases have been reported involving schools in the region. Of those, at least seven remain active.

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In addition to the Dorchester case, active cases remain at Académie de la Tamise (one staff member), Saunders Secondary School (one student), Providence Reformed Collegiate (one case), Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School (one student) and Catholic Central High School (two students).

Since-resolved school cases:

  • Sept. 21 at H.B. Beal Secondary School involving a student.
  • Oct. 5 and Oct. 8 at École élémentaire La Pommeraie, both involving staff members.
  • Oct. 7 at Saunders Secondary School involving a student.
  • Oct. 9 and Oct. 12 at Sir Arthur Currie Public School, one involving a staff member, the other involving a student. The cases resulted in an outbreak declaration, which resolved on Oct. 30.
  • Oct. 12 at Mary Wright Public School in Strathroy involving a student.
  • Oct. 13 at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester involving a student.
  • Oct. 17 at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School involving a student.
  • Oct. 21 at Lambeth Public School involving a student.
  • Oct. 25 at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School involving a student; at St. Andre Bessette Secondary School involving a student; and at St. Kateri Separate School involving two students.
  • Oct. 29 at École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc involving one staff member; at West Nissouri Public School involving one student; and at A.B. Lucas Secondary School involving one staff member.
  • Oct. 31 at Eagle Heights Public School involving one staff member.
  • Nov. 2 at Northbrae Public School involving one student.
  • Nov. 3 at Wilton Grove Public School in its before/after school program.
  • Nov. 4 at Lambeth Public School involving two students.
  • Nov 5-8 at Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School involving four students.
  • Nov. 7 at Westminster Secondary School involving one student.
  • Nov. 7 at St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School involving one student.
  • Nov. 8 at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School involving one student, and at Oakridge Secondary School involving two students.
  • Nov. 9 at Arthur Ford Public School in its before/after school program involving one staff member.
  • Nov. 10 at Catholic Central High School involving a student, and at Eagle Heights Public School involving a student.
  • Nov. 12 at Eagle Heights Public School involving a student, and at Westminster Secondary School involving a student.
  • Nov. 13 at Sir Wilfred Laurier Secondary School involving one case.
  • Nov. 14 at Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School involving one student.

In the post-secondary setting, two outbreaks remain active at Western University involving student residences.

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One, declared Nov. 19, involves Saugeen-Maitland Hall and has been linked to at least 10 infections, according to the health unit.

The other, declared Nov. 21, involves Perth Hall and has been tied to at least three cases.

On Monday, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, said there was not conclusive evidence whether the outbreaks were linked.

Institutional outbreaks

The health unit says an outbreak declared Nov. 10 on the fourth floor of University Hospital is now impacting three other floors of the facility and has sickened 34 people, including 16 staff and 18 patients, one of whom has since died.

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As a result, the health unit is now listing that outbreak as four separate outbreaks, one for each impacted floor — 4IP General Medicine, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine.

Health officials said Tuesday that due to the growing outbreak, they were recommending, among other things, that admissions to all medical floors of UH be discontinued for seven days, and for all patients and staff on those medical floors to be tested and to wear masks at all times.

In addition to the expansive Nov. 10 outbreak, there is also a separate smaller outbreak, also located on the ninth floor, involving orthopedics, that was declared on Nov. 11 and has sickened six people.

In total, the now-five UH outbreaks have left at least 40 people sickened and one dead.

LHSC said Wednesday that 27 inpatients with COVID-19 were in their care, while 20 staff members were currently infected. The tallies include individuals not connected to the two UH outbreaks.

Read more: Coronavirus — 34 cases, 1 death linked to growing LHSC outbreak

Meantime, an outbreak also remains active in the main building of Parkwood Institute, according to the health unit and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

One person has tested positive for the virus, according to St. Joseph’s.

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Since March, the region has seen at least 52 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 40 at local seniors’ facilities.

Seniors’ facility outbreaks alone have been tied to 112 resident cases, 111 staff cases and 39 deaths.

The aforementioned non-institutional outbreaks also remain active at Western University’s Perth and Saugeen-Maitland halls, linked to three and 10 cases, respectively.

Testing

Health unit figures show that 7,427 people got tested during the week of Nov. 5, up 730 from the week before. The numbers are the latest available from the health unit as of Wednesday.

The test per cent positivity rate for that week was 1.4 per cent, up from 1.2 the week prior.

Both of the city’s assessment centres, Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena are continuing to operate by appointment only. Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.

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Carling Heights recorded a five-day average of 345 visits per day between Nov. 16 and 20, about the same as the week before.

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Oakridge Arena’s average in that period was 304, down from 342 seen the previous workweek.

This week, Carling Heights recorded 405 and 365 cases on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, while Oakridge reported 332 and 330.

Ontario

Ontario reported 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 35 new deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 445 of Wednesday’s new cases are in Toronto, while 415 are in Peel Region.

Eleven fewer people are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to today’s numbers, for a total of 523.

The number in intensive care remains 159, and 15 more people are on a ventilator, totalling 106.

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The numbers come as the Ontario government is expected to spell out its guidelines for celebrating the upcoming winter holidays during the pandemic.

Ontario’s most recent modelling showed the province is on track to see up to 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, though those projections are expected to be updated Thursday.

Read more: Auditor general highlights Ontario’s ‘confusing,’ indirect communications on COVID-19 in new report

The update comes as the province’s auditor general released a scathing report about the Ontario government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report from Bonnie Lysyk says Ontario’s response was slower and more reactive than other provinces and was hampered by “delays and confusion in decision-making” as public health experts took a secondary role to government officials and politicians.

Outdated provincial emergency plans played a role in slowing down the response in the winter and spring, as did systemic issues such as a lack of laboratory surge capacity and old IT systems, the report says.

Lysyk also pointed to an increasingly cumbersome command structure, and one that was not led by public health expertise despite the creation and expansion of a provincial health command table that she says now involves more than 500 people.

As well, she found the province’s chief medical officer of health did not fully exercise his powers in responding to the pandemic, or issue directives to local health officials to ensure a consistent approach across regions. A consistent provincial message on masking for the general public didn’t come until October, she noted as an example, and was then issued by the province, not Dr. David Williams.

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Elgin and Oxford

One person has died, seven others have tested positive for the coronavirus and one person has recovered, Southwestern-Public Health (SWPH) reported Wednesday.

The death is the first to be reported by the health unit since July 3.

Health officials said the deceased was a man in his 70s who died in hospital on Monday following infection with COVID-19.

Wednesday’s update leaves 54 known active cases in the region, according to the health unit. Of those, 41 are located in Oxford County, with 22 in Woodstock alone, while 13 are in Elgin County.

As of this week, the region remains in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework. More information on what a move to orange-restrict brings can be found on the province’s website.

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At least 182 cases have been reported by the health unit since the start of November. It’s not clear how many people are currently hospitalized. An update is expected Thursday. The last update, issued Nov. 19, said three were hospitalized, none in intensive care.

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A new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region, according to the health unit.

The outbreak, declared active on Tuesday at Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock, has seen at least one staff case reported. Few other details have been released.

The outbreak is one of three currently active, and is one of at least 10 outbreaks to be declared since March at nine facilities.

Active outbreaks remain at the Arches Transitional Bed Program (one staff case) and at Bethany Care Home in Norwich (three resident cases and one staff case).

The 10 outbreaks reported in the region have been tied to at least 20 cases, of which four have involved residents. No deaths have been reported so far.

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No new school cases have been reported, according to the province and the local school boards.

The most recent school case was reported late Monday at Laurie Hawkins Public School in Ingersoll involving a staff member.

Several school cases were still listed as active as of Wednesday, including two student cases at Assumption Catholic Secondary school in Aylmer, and one student case at Northdale Public School in Woodstock.

Overall, at least 11 cases have been reported at schools in the region.

A third student case had previously been active at Assumption Catholic Secondary, while two student cases had previously been reported at Northdale Central.

Since-resolved cases have been reported at St. Thomas Community Christian School, Mitchell Hepburn Public School (one student), South Ridge Public School (one student) and Straffordville Public School (one student).

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By location, 109 cases have been reported in Aylmer, which has an incident rate of 1,454.9 cases per 100,000 people.

At least 101 cases have been in Woodstock, 78 in Bayham, 58 in St. Thomas, 39 in Tillsonburg and 38 in Norwich.

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Elsewhere, there have been 19 cases in Ingersoll, 13 in East Zorra-Tavistock and 12 in Blandford-Blenheim, 11 in Dutton/Dunwich. Six other locations have case counts under 10.

As of the week of Nov. 15, the most recent figures available, the region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.1 per cent, down from 2.0 the week before. At least 3,882 people were tested for the virus that week.

Huron and Perth

One person has tested positive for the coronavirus and one has recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported Wednesday. The new case reported Wednesday is from North Perth.

The region’s total case count remains unchanged at 283. The health unit says one previous confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit.

At least 237 of those infected have recovered, while 16 have died, most recently on Sunday involving a resident from Cedarcroft Place, a retirement home in Stratford that has been hit hard by an outbreak since late October.

At least 30 cases remain active in the region, according to the health unit, which reported Tuesday that four people were in hospital, including two residents from Cedarcroft Place, and two members of the broader community.

As of this week, the region is in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework. More information on what a move to orange-restrict brings can be found on the province’s website.

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Read more: Quebec reports 1,100 new coronavirus cases, 28 more deaths as hospitalizations remain stable

The Cedarcroft Place outbreak is the only institutional outbreak that is active in the region.

Since it was declared Oct. 27, the outbreak has led to 44 resident and 19 staff cases — roughly half of the facility’s resident population and one-third of its staff.

As of Tuesday, 11 of those residents have since died, while six remain sick, including two who have been hospitalized for their illnesses. All staff cases have since recovered.

Some two dozen residents were decanted temporarily to local hospitals in a bid to curb the spread of the virus and help staffing levels at the facility. At least 22 remain decanted as of Tuesday.

At least 12 outbreaks have been declared at 10 facilities in the region since March. They’re linked to at least 89 cases and at least 12 deaths — including the 11 at Cedarcroft and four at Greenwood Court in the spring.

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No new school cases were reported Wednesday.

At least two remain active. Two cases are active at St. Ambrose Catholic Elementary School and St. Michael Catholic Secondary School, both in Stratford, both involving students.

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Two student cases at Milverton Public School in Perth East, and one student case at Shakespeare Public School in Stratford, have since resolved, according to the Avon Maitland District School Board.

Prior to that, one presumptive case was reported Oct. 16 at Stratford’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School.

Stratford has seen 118 cases reported since March, while Perth County has seen 99 and Huron County 58.

St. Marys has seen eight cases and one death.

Some 57,227 tests had been conducted by the health unit as of Nov. 15, the most recent figures available. The test per cent positivity rate that week was 1.4 per cent, down from 1.5 the week before. Just over 2,500 people were tested from Nov. 15 to 21.

Sarnia and Lambton

Two people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another two have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Wednesday.

The update brings the region’s total case count to 404, of which 362 people have recovered and 25 have died. The last death reported occurred in early June.

There remain 17 active cases in the region. One person is in hospital as of Wednesday, according to Bluewater Health. Sixty-one people have been hospitalized since March.

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Health officials reported one case and one recovery on Tuesday.

As of this week, the region remains the only region in southwestern Ontario that is currently in the least restrictive green-prevent tier of the province’s restrictions framework.

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Three school cases remain active in the region, all located at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School, all involving students, according to the province.

At least eight school cases have been reported since Sept. 1.

Other since-resolved cases include two student cases at Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School in Sarnia, and one student case each at Bright’s Grove Public School in Sarnia, Colonel Cameron Public School in Corunna and Riverview Central School in Port Lambton.

No institutional outbreaks are active as of Wednesday, the health unit says. A total of 13 have been declared since March, linked to 115 cases and 16 deaths. A vast majority of cases, and all 16 deaths, are tied to two outbreaks at Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home.

Ten of the region’s 13 outbreaks have involved seniors’ facilities, two have involved workplaces and one has been at Bluewater Health.

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At least 56,140 people had been tested in the county as of Nov. 21, the most recent figures available. About 2,600 people were tested from Nov. 15 to 21, with a weekly per cent positivity rate of 0.56 per cent.

— With files from The Canadian Press