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Coronavirus: 1 new death in University Hospital outbreak, 16 cases reported in London-Middlesex

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

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Correction: A previous edit of this story stated that the outbreak in 2-Perth of Parkwood Institute’s main building involved one patient. It actually involves one staff member. Officials with St. Joseph’s Health Care London note that while there is a patient case within Parkwood Institute’s main building, it is unrelated to the 2-Perth outbreak.

One person has died, 16 have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 14 others are considered recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported on Thursday.

The region’s total case count stands at 1,528, of which 1,323 people have recovered. Sixty-five people have died due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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The death involved a man in his 80s who died as a result of an outbreak at University Hospital, said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, during Thursday’s media briefing. The death is the second to be reported at the hospital linked to an outbreak.

The death, he said, won’t be reflected on the health unit’s online dashboard until Friday.

The update leaves 141 known active cases in the region, according to the health unit.

At least 382 cases have been reported since the start of November, more than any other month during the pandemic. The region is currently in the yellow-protect tier of the province’s restrictions framework.

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Of Thursday’s cases, 15 are from London while one is from Strathroy-Caradoc, health unit figures show.

The ages of those infected span several age groups, but a solid majority are under the age of 40. One is aged 19 or under, five each are in their 20s and 30s, two are in their 40s, one is in their 50s and two are in their 60s.

Five contracted the virus through close contact, five through an outbreak and one through travel. Three cases have no known link and two are pending or undetermined.

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The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 16.57 as of Thursday, while the 14-day average stands at 15.21.

According to the health unit, 1,408 cases have been reported in London since the pandemic began, while 36 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 35 in Middlesex Centre and 29 in Thames Centre. Lucan Biddulph has seen nine, North Middlesex eight, Southwest Middlesex two and Newbury one.

Read more: Coronavirus — 3 London, Ont., women charged in connection with Victoria Park ‘Freedom Rally’

On Thursday, police announced charges under the Reopening Ontario Act against three London women who they say were behind an anti-pandemic restrictions rally in Victoria Park over the weekend that drew roughly 200 people.

Police said they warned the organizers ahead of time that holding a rally would be in breach of the act, but the rally went ahead anyway on Sunday afternoon.

Three women, 36, 37 and 44, have been charged with participating in an outdoor gathering that exceeded the number permitted and hosting an outdoor gathering that exceeded the number permitted.

The news came hours after police announced charges against a 19-year-old Toronto woman who they say hosted a large indoor gathering in the city that was also in violation of the act.

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Police responded to an address in the 1100 block of Richmond Street, near Huron, and located a gathering with approximately 30 people.

Previously, police charged a 20-year-old woman on Monday in relation to an indoor party on Ann Street over the weekend, and 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.

People under 30 have accounted for about half of all cases seen in the region since the start of the month — 82 involving people 19 and under, and 113 involving people in their 20s.

Those in their 20s have factored in about a quarter of all cases seen in London and Middlesex during the entire pandemic — 392.

Hospitalizations

The number of people hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre with COVID-19 has declined by four compared to Wednesday, however the number of staff cases at LHSC has risen by six.

As of Thursday, 23 inpatients are currently hospitalized at LHSC with COVID-19, while 26 staff members are currently infected, the organization reported.

LHSC is continuing to grapple with what the health unit now considers to be multiple separate outbreaks at University Hospital spanning four floors of the facility, linked to 49 cases and two deaths.

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

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At the same time, the health unit’s non-intensive care hospitalization tally has risen by four. It’s not clear, however, if these are recent or current hospitalizations, or previous hospitalizations that are just now being added into the dataset.

As previously reported, daily hospital admissions data for patients with COVID-19 is not readily available, nor is it made public by the hospitals.

The largest number of concurrent inpatients with COVID-19 to be recorded at LHSC was 38 on April 26, according to data from the Ministry of Health that was supplied to the province by LHSC.

The data only shows how many inpatients with COVID-19 were in the care of each hospital on a given day, not how many people were admitted on a given day.

As of Nov. 18, 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’.)

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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.

Schools

No new cases have been reported that are linked to schools in London and Middlesex, according to the health unit and local school boards.

No school cases have resolved since Wednesday.

Seven school cases remain active in the region, 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) Catholic Central High School (two students) and Lord Dorchester Secondary School (one student).

At least 45 cases have been reported at local schools since the start of the school year.

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 as of Thursday 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 nine infections — the health unit had previously issued a tally of 10, which has since been revised — while the other, declared Nov. 21, involves Perth Hall and has been tied to at least three cases.

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Institutional outbreaks

No new outbreaks have been declared active or declared resolved, the health unit reports.

Outbreaks remain active at two facilities: 2-Perth in Parkwood Institute’s main building, where one staff member has tested positive, and University Hospital, where a total of at least 49 people have tested positive, of which two have now died.

The University Hospital outbreaks began as two separate outbreaks, declared Nov. 10 in 4IP General Medicine and on Nov. 11 in 9IP Orthopedics.

Since then, the health unit says the Nov. 10 outbreak has spread to encompass a total of four floors of the hospital, infecting a total of 43 people, including two who have since died. Impacted units include 4IP General Medicine, 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine. On it’s website, the health unit is listing each of the four impacted units as its own outbreak.

Factoring in the separate Nov. 11 outbreak in 9IP Orthopedics, which is tied to six cases, there are currently five listed outbreaks at the hospital linked to a total of two deaths and at least 49 cases.

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LHSC reported Thursday that 23 inpatients are currently hospitalized at LHSC with COVID-19, while 26 staff members are currently infected. It’s unclear how many are linked to the outbreaks.

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 nine 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.

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

This week, Carling Heights recorded 405, 365 and 375 cases on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, while Oakridge reported 332, 330 and 301.

Ontario

Ontario reported 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 21 more deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 572 of those cases are in Peel Region, and 356 are in Toronto.

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Both regions are currently in the “lockdown” stage of the province’s pandemic plan.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,478 new coronavirus cases, 21 deaths

Wednesday’s numbers show that 556 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 33 since yesterday.

The numbers come hours before the province is set to release new COVID-19 projections.

It will be the first time they have released such data since sending Toronto and Peel Region into lockdown earlier this week.

Two weeks ago, the province unveiled modelling that showed Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December unless steps are taken to limit the spread of the virus.

It said the province would reach 2,500 new daily cases by that time if the growth rate was at three per cent, or 6,500 if the growth rate was at five per cent.

Read more: Ontarians should celebrate holidays with own household only, government says

At the time, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, said a five per cent growth rate was “slightly optimistic.”

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Premier Doug Ford announced he would lower thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under the province’s colour-coded restrictions system the following day.

Elgin and Oxford

Nine people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another eight have recovered, Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported Thursday.

The new cases bring the region’s total case count to 516, of which 455 people have recovered. Six have died, most recently on Monday involving a man in his 70s who had been in hospital. His death was first reported on Wednesday.

Three cases were reported in Woodstock, while two each were reported in Ingersoll, St. Thomas and Zorra.

Thursday’s update leaves 55 active cases in the region, with 42 of them in Oxford — including 22 in Woodstock and seven in Ingersoll — and 13 in Elgin County.

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The health unit says two are in hospital as of Thursday, one of whom is in intensive care. They’re among 29 people who have been hospitalized since March.

The health unit has reported at least 191 cases since the start of November. It is currently in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework.

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The total number of school cases in the region has risen by one after the Thames Valley District School Board confirmed a case at Forest Park Public School in St. Thomas.

It’s unclear if the case involves a staff member or student, but the school board said the school would remain open and that buses would continue to operate.

At least 12 cases have been reported at schools in the region since March.

Of those, at least four were active as of Wednesday, including one staff case at Laurie Hawkins Public School in Ingersoll, two student cases at Assumption Catholic Secondary school in Aylmer and one student case at Northdale Public School in Woodstock.

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

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There has been no change when it comes to institutional outbreaks in the region. No new outbreaks have been reported, none have resolved and no new cases have been linked to them.

Three remain active as of Thursday, including at the Arches Transitional Bed Program (one staff case) at Bethany Care Home in Norwich (three resident cases and one staff case) and Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock (one staff case).

The most recent outbreak declared was at Woodingford on Tuesday.

At least 10 outbreaks have been declared since March at nine facilities, linked to at least 20 cases, of which four have involved residents.

Since the pandemic began, at least 109 cases have been reported in Aylmer, which has an incident rate of 1,454.9 cases per 100,000 people.

At least 104 cases have been in Woodstock, while 78 have been in Bayham, 60 in St. Thomas, 39 in Tillsonburg and 38 in Norwich.

Elsewhere, there have been 21 cases in Ingersoll, 13 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 12 in Blandford-Blenheim and 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.

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Huron and Perth

Ten people have tested positive for the coronavirus, nine have recovered and one new school outbreak has been declared in the region, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) said Thursday.

The update brings the region’s total case count to 293, of which 246 people have recovered. Sixteen have died, most recently on Sunday involving a resident from Cedarcroft Place in Stratford.

It leaves at least 31 active cases in the region.

The health unit says six of the cases reported Thursday are from Stratford, while three are from Perth East and one is from North Huron.

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Health officials say an outbreak has been declared at Northside Christian School, a small private religious school in Listowel, after one staff case was reported.

The health unit says an outbreak is declared when there are two or more cases within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have contracted the virus at the school.

“Due to the nature of the school, one cohort could not be identified and therefore HPPH has closed the school until at least December 1. HPPH will determine when the outbreak is over and when the school can be reopened,” the health unit said.

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At least four new cases have also been reported at other local schools.

Two additional cases have been reported at St. Ambrose Catholic Elementary School in Stratford where three cases are now active, according to Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

Elsewhere, one new case each has been reported at Anne Hathaway Public School, and at Goderich District Collegiate Institute, according to the Avon Maitland District School Board.

Since-resolved school cases have been reported at St. Michael Catholic Secondary School (one student), Milverton Public School (two students) and Shakespeare Public School (one student).

One presumptive case was reported Oct. 16 at Stratford’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School, but it’s unclear if it was ever confirmed.

Read more: Accountability office says 50% of Ontario hospitals in poor state of repair

One additional staff case has been reported at Cedarcroft Place, the health unit says.

The Stratford retirement home has been slammed by an outbreak of the virus, first declared on Oct. 27.

At least 44 residents and 20 staff have tested positive for the virus since then — roughly half of its resident population and one-third of its staff.

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Of those, two resident cases and two staff cases remain active, as of Thursday. Eleven residents have died, the health unit says.

Twenty-five 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 Thursday.

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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Stratford has seen 124 cases reported since March, while Perth County has seen 102 and Huron County 59.

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

One person has tested positive for the coronavirus, while two have recovered, Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported Thursday.

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The region’s case count stands at 405, of which 364 people have recovered and 25 have died. The most recent death to be reported was in early June.

At least 16 cases are active in the region, the health unit says. Two people are in hospital as of Thursday, an increase of one from the day before. A total of 62 people in the county have been admitted to hospital due to the coronavirus during the pandemic.

Two cases and two recoveries were reported Wednesday.

The region remains the only one in southwestern Ontario to be in the least restrictive green-prevent tier of the province’s restrictions framework.

Three school cases remain active in the region, located at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School. All three cases involve students.

They’re among at least eight to be reported since the start of the school year.

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 change was reported Thursday regarding institutional outbreaks. No outbreaks are currently active.

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 earlier in the pandemic.

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

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