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Coronavirus: 2 deaths, 120 new cases in London-Middlesex; 2 deaths, 40 cases in Elgin-Oxford

A nurse holds a vial containing a patients test swab at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre at the National Arts Centre Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 in Ottawa. Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

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Two people have died and 120 others have tested positive for the coronavirus in London and Middlesex, local health officials reported on Wednesday.

The update, which is at least the seventh time this month the region has seen a triple-digit case increase, brings the region’s case total to 4,710, of which 3,212 people have recovered, 55 more than the day before.

At least 134 people have died. At least 32 deaths have been reported just this month.

The two deaths reported Wednesday involved a man in his 80s who was associated with a long-term care home, and a woman in her 90s who was not linked to a seniors’ facility.

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It’s at least the 12th day in a row the region has reported a COVID-19-related death, and the 11th day in a row the region has reported two deaths in one day.

According to the health unit, at least 1,218 new confirmed cases have been reported in London and Middlesex from Jan. 1 to 12. At least 1,724 cases were reported through the entire month of December 2020, which stands as the worst month for new cases.

Wednesday’s case update comes less than a day before a month-long provincewide stay-at-home order is set to take effect.

Read more: Ontario attempts to clarify what is essential under COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order

Of the 120 new cases reported Wednesday, at least 86 are from London, according to the health unit. Elsewhere, eight cases were reported in Strathroy-Caradoc, five in Middlesex Centre, two in Southwest Middlesex, one in Lucan Biddulph and one in North Middlesex. At least 17 cases are pending location data.

As was the case Tuesday and Monday, those infected skew younger, with people under 30 making up roughly half of the cases, largely people in their 20s.

Fourteen cases involve people aged 19 or younger, 44 involve people in their 20s, 17 in their 30s, 14 in their 40s, 15 in their 50s, eight in their 60s, three in their 70s and five 80 or older.

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With local contact tracing efforts still hampered by the deluge in recent cases, exposure source information was not available for 108 of the 120 new cases. At least nine are due to outbreaks and three to close contact with a confirmed case.

According to the health unit, it took just nine days for the region to report 1,000 cases between Dec. 29 and Jan. 6, compared to 262 days for it to see its first 1,000 cases.

Read more: Lockdowns, curfew, stay-at-home order — What’s next in Canada’s COVID-19 fight?

The region’s seven-day case average stands at 110.28 as of Wednesday, a fraction of a change from Tuesday’s 109.42. The seven-day average was 80.28 as of Dec. 31.

The 14-day average, meantime, stands at 109.07, a minor increase from Tuesday’s 106.92. The 14-day average was 75.78 as of Dec. 31.

The region’s cumulative incidence rate is 928.0 per 100,000 people, compared to Ontario’s 1,493.7.

Middlesex Centre remains the hardest-hit area when it comes to caseload, clocking in an incidence rate of 1,256 cases per 100,000 people. The locale has seen a total of 222 cases since the pandemic started.

London, meantime, which has seen 4,094 cases, has an incidence rate of 1,011 per 100,000.

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Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has posted 157 cases, Thames Centre 83, Lucan Biddulph 29, Southwest Middlesex 26, North Middlesex 24, Adelaide Metcalfe seven and Newbury two. At least 66 cases are pending location data.

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Hospitalizations

The number of active COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre has declined by three to 37, the organization said Wednesday.

The number of people in critical or intensive care, however, remained unchanged at 15, while active staff cases dropped by one to 28.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHCL), no COVID-19 inpatients were reported in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital as of late Tuesday afternoon, the most recent update.

Staff cases within SJHCL stand at a total of 19 as of Tuesday. Twelve of the cases are linked to an outbreak at Mount Hope. At least 22 people have tested positive in the outbreak and two have died.

At least 313 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, according to the health unit. At least 62 people have needed intensive care.

Read more: Former London hospital CEO files $2.5M lawsuit after being fired for traveling to the U.S.

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During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Adam Dukelow, chief medical officer for London Health Sciences Centre, noted that the two dozen beds opened at Victoria Hospital in late November in the wake of admissions reductions at University Hospital have remained open.

The organization now plans to open an additional 26 acute care beds there to provide additional capacity for COVID-19 patients as LSHC continues to deal with internal and external capacity pressures, he said. Fourteen beds will be opened this week.

At least nine of the 15 operating rooms at University Hospital and 14 of the 19 operating rooms at Victoria Hospital are in operation this week — figures unchanged from last week.

“It would be the priority three and priority four cases that would be not scheduled,” he said of the procedures being impacted. “We haven’t been cancelling procedures because of the pandemic this week, just scheduling less.”

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LHSC has taken in additional patients to help harder-hit regions, including from Windsor-Essex, Dukelow said.

“There’s ongoing conversations about the possible need for us to take more patients from Windsor,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard to create a 15 per cent buffer in our capacity so we can respond both to local and regional as well as provincial surges.”

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Institutional outbreaks

One new outbreak has been declared in the region, located at Victoria Hospital, the health unit says.

The outbreak was declared on Tuesday in C6-100 – Geriatric Behavioral Unit, and is associated with fewer than five patient and five staff cases. No deaths have been reported.

Read more: Coronavirus vaccine a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for LTC homes

It comes in addition to a separate active outbreak at the hospital in B41 Antenatal. It too is tied to fewer than five patient and five staff cases and no deaths.

Outbreaks also remain active at several long-term care and retirement homes in the region, declared on:

  • Jan. 11 at Elmwood Place (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 10 at Queens Village (Memory Lane area)
  • Jan. 9 at Fox Hollow Retirement Residence (first floor)
  • Jan. 9 at Glendale Crossing (Lambeth, Westminster)
  • Jan. 8 at Chelsey Park Retirement Community (fifth floor)
  • Jan. 8 at Strathmere Lodge (Sydenham Meadows)
  • Jan. 5 at Oneida Long-Term Care Home (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (Long-term Care – fifth floor, second floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Earls Court Village (third floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (third floor, second floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Oakcrossing Retirement Living (second floor)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (SM1, MV4, MV5. Outbreaks in SM2 and SM3 were resolved Jan. 6. At least 22 residents and 12 staff are currently infected and two people have died.)
  • Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility-wide).

The outbreak at Mount Hope has been tied to cases involving at least 22 residents, two of whom have since died, and 12 staff members, according to St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

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It’s unclear how many cases or deaths have occurred at the other facilities.

Since March, the region has seen at least 87 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 62 at local seniors’ facilities.

The health unit says seniors’ facility outbreaks are linked to at least 317 resident cases — an increase of five from Tuesday — and 297 staff cases — an increase of 13.

They’re also tied to at least 65 of the region’s 134 deaths.

Read more: Labour Ministry launches investigation days after COVID-19 outbreak declared at London shelter

Elsewhere, an outbreak is also active at the Men’s Mission in London, where at least five staff members and four clients have tested positive for the virus.

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A spokesperson with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development says an order was issued to Mission Services of London after a field visit to the mission on Tuesday.

The ministry says an investigation is ongoing.

Peter Rozeluk, executive director of Mission Services of London, says one order was issued regarding “disinfecting a couple of items within the facility more frequently.”

“Specifically, carts used to move goods and a spreader used to spread ice melter were not being regularly cleaned and disinfected between uses,” he said.

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Schools

No new school cases were reported Wednesday and none are currently active in the region, the health unit says.

At least 175 cases have been reported tied to schools and child-care centres in London and Middlesex during the pandemic so far.

An outbreak declaration remains active at Lord Dorchester Secondary School, declared Jan. 4.

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Schools in parts of Canada resume in-person learning – Jan 11, 2021

One case is active at a child-care centre, Tia’s Castle in London, the health unit says.

Students in the region, and across southern Ontario, will stay in remote learning until at least Jan. 25.

Elementary school students in northern Ontario returned to in-class learning on Monday.

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Vaccinations and testing

Roughly two-thirds of long-term staff in the region have been vaccinated, local health officials reported earlier this week.

Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said Monday that vaccinations at long-term care homes were underway, with several set to be finished by late this week.

Vaccinations are ongoing at the Western Fair District Agriplex, with plans of administering 1,000 doses per day. Just under 6,500 people had been vaccinated at the Agriplex vaccination clinic as of late Sunday, according to LHSC.

Provincewide, some 144,784 doses had been administered as of Tuesday evening, with about 11,231 doses being administered per day.

With the vaccine requiring two doses spaced a few weeks apart, the province says 8,778 total vaccinations have been completed.

Read more: Canada can delay 2nd coronavirus vaccine dose if there’s a shortage, panel says

The region’s test positivity rate stood at around 5.9 per cent as of the week of Jan. 3 according to new figures issued by the health unit Wednesday.

The rate is up from the 5.8 per cent seen the week before, according to the revised numbers, and 3.7 per cent the week before that.

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The city’s two main assessment centres have continued to see steady turnout, with Carling Heights seeing the largest demand.

Carling Heights has been recording an average of 485 visits per day over the last seven days. Oakridge Arena, which is not open on weekends, has seen an average of 330 between Jan. 4 and 12.

Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only. Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at some local pharmacies.

As of Friday, assessment centres in London-Middlesex will no longer perform COVID-19 tests for international travel, in compliance with a recent provincial change.

Those in need of a COVID-19 test before travelling or entering their country of destination are asked to consult alternative local testing options.

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Ontario

Ontario is reporting 2,961 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 74 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 738 new cases in Toronto, 536 in Peel Region, and 245 in Windsor-Essex County.

She says there are also 219 new cases in York Region and 171 in Hamilton.

Elliott says more than 50,900 tests have been completed since the last daily report.

Read more: Ontario plans to provide 1st COVID-19 vaccine shot in all nursing homes by Feb. 15

Ontario plans to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in all nursing homes and high-risk retirement homes by Feb. 15.

The province says residents, workers and essential caregivers at those facilities will get the first dose of the vaccine by that date.

The plan builds on an earlier pledge to give the COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care facilities in hotspots by Jan. 21.

The government says it’s now able to move the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine safely to long-term care facilities, which has allowed it to speed up immunizations in nursing homes.

Long-term care homes have been hit hard during the pandemic, with 3,063 residents dying of COVID-19 since March.

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The province is currently focusing on vaccinating health-care workers and those in long-term care facilities but says people over the age of 80 will be the first priority group to receive the shot when Ontario enters the second phase of its vaccine rollout in April.

Elgin and Oxford

A nursing home outbreak in Tillsonburg has claimed the lives of two more people, Southwestern Public Health reported Wednesday.

In addition, at least 40 people across the region have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the region’s total case count to 1,865. The region posted a record single-day case jump on Jan. 2 with 75 cases.

At least 1,466 people have recovered, an increase of 41 from the day before, and at least 37 people have died, 24 this month alone.

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The two deaths reported on Wednesday involved an 82-year-old man and a 96-year-old man, health officials said. Both deaths were associated with an ongoing outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home that has left at least 13 people dead.

At least 362 cases are currently active in the region, with at least 117 in Tillsonburg alone. Elsewhere, 67 cases are active in St. Thomas, 42 are in Woodstock, 38 are in Aylmer and 34 are in Norwich. Eleven other areas have active case tallies under 20.

At least 16 people were hospitalized as of last Thursday with three in intensive care, according to the most recent figures available. New figures are expected tomorrow. At least 73 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic began, including 27 in intensive care.

According to a provincial modelling document published Tuesday, the region’s largest hospital, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, is among one-quarter of hospitals in Ontario that had no free ICU beds as of late last week.

The hospital, which only has eight L3 Medical Surgical ICU beds, reported roughly 120 per cent occupancy for the beds as of Jan. 8. The document shows that COVID-19 patients have pushed up the occupancy rate from just under 80 per cent.

Read more: Medical staff need guidance on life or death triage decision as Ontario ICUs fill up, experts say

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared.

An outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg has claimed the lives of two additional people at the facility.

Since it was declared on Dec. 12, the outbreak has led to infections involving 80 of the facility’s 92 residents, 13 of whom have since died. At least 48 staff members have also tested positive during the outbreak.

The Maple Manor outbreak is among eight institutional outbreaks that remain active in the region, located at the following facilities, as declared on:

  • Jan. 8 at Extendicare Port Stanley (one staff case)
  • Jan. 6 at Trillium Retirement Home (12 resident, five staff cases)
  • Jan. 4 at Goodness Retirement Living (one staff case)
  • Jan. 4 at Caressant Care Bonnie Place – St. Thomas (one resident case)
  • Jan. 1 at Woodingford Lodge – Woodstock (two resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 19 at Terrace Lodge in Aylmer (five staff cases)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (40 resident, 33 staff cases; one new case each from the day before)

Meantime, no new school cases have been reported in the region.

Neither the Thames Valley District School Board nor the London District Catholic School Board is reporting any active cases at its schools.

Read more: Second year of pandemic ‘could even be tougher’ as coronavirus surges, WHO says

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The health unit says at least 335 cases have been reported during the pandemic in St. Thomas, while 305 have been reported in Aylmer.

Due to the two municipalities’ population differences, the impact on St. Thomas hasn’t been nearly as bad as it has been on Aylmer.

According to the health unit, the town’s case incidence rate is the equivalent of 4,071 cases per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, compared to St. Thomas’s 861.

Elsewhere, 291 cases have been reported in Woodstock, 280 in Tillsonburg, 153 in Norwich, 140 in Bayham, 81 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 71 in Ingersoll, 44 in Blandford-Blenheim, 43 in Zorra, 36 in South-West Oxford, 31 in Central Elgin, 17 in West Elgin, 15 each in Dutton/Dunwich and Southwold, and six in Malahide.

At least six per cent of tests were coming back positive as of the week of Jan. 3, the health unit said, a slight decrease from the week before at 6.2. The health unit says about 5,081 people were tested, down slightly from 5,149 the week before.

Huron and Perth

Twelve people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 16 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Wednesday.

The region’s total case tally now stands at 922, of which 797 people have recovered. Twenty-five deaths have been reported, most recently on Monday.

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Of the 12 new cases, seven are from North Perth, according to health unit figures. Two cases were reported in Stratford, while one each is from Huron East, North Huron and Perth East.

The update leaves at least 100 active cases in the region, the lowest it’s been since Nov. 30. The region saw a peak of 198 active cases on Jan. 2.

The health unit says at least 32 cases are active in North Perth, while 27 are active in South Huron and 13 in Stratford. Ten other municipalities have active case counts under 10.

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One previously unreported outbreak has been declared active while two outbreaks have been declared over, according to the health unit.

The newest outbreak was declared on Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth, linked to three resident cases.

One resolved outbreak involved Braemar Nursing Home in North Huron. Declared on Boxing Day, the outbreak was linked to two staff cases.

The other resolved outbreak, declared Dec. 21 at Exeter Villa in its retirement home, was linked to one resident case. An outbreak remains active in Exeter Villa’s long-term care home, linked to 36 resident cases and 10 staff cases — figures unchanged from the day before.

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Active cases are located at the following facilities, declared on:

  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (three resident cases)
  • Jan. 10 at Spruce Lodge in Stratford (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fordwich Village in North Huron (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 8 at Wildwood Care Centre in St. Marys (one staff case)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (11 resident, three staff cases; two staff cases more than the day before)
  • Jan. 7 at Greenwood Court in Stratford (one staff case)
  • Jan. 4 at Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 3 at Seaforth Manor in Huron East (one staff case)
  • Jan. 1 at Livingstone Manor in North Perth (two resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 18 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [LTC] (36 resident, 10 staff cases)

Read more: Territories will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for 75% of adults by end of March

Two new school-linked cases have been reported in the region. The cases involve South Huron District High School, according to the Avon Maitland District School Board.

The cases are among at least 13 that the school board says are currently active involving its schools. All 13 cases have been deemed “non-school exposure” by the health unit, the board says.

No active cases were reported by the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board.

Cases are currently active at:

  • Avon-Maitland board
  • Elma Township Public School
  • F.E. Madill Secondary School
  • South Huron District High School (four cases)
  • St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute (three cases)
  • Stratford District Secondary School (three cases)

Of the region’s total case count, 392 cases have been located in Perth County, including 216 in North Perth and 127 in Perth East.

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Elsewhere, 257 cases have been in Huron County, 245 have been in Stratford and 26 have been in St. Marys.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 3.3 per cent as of the week of Jan. 3 according to new figures released by the health unit. It’s a minor drop from the 3.5 per cent seen the week before. The region had a 2.5 per cent positivity rate as of the week of Dec. 20.

At least 3,616 people were tested during the week of Jan. 3, slightly higher than the 3,537 tested the week before.

A total of 83,792 tests have been conducted.

Sarnia and Lambton

Fifty-nine people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 46 have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Wednesday.

The update brings the region’s total case tally to 1,453, of which 1,164 people have recovered and 28 have died. The most recent death was reported on Dec. 19.

According to the health unit, at least 261 cases remain active in the county as of Wednesday. It’s unclear where the cases are located as the health unit has not made such information public.

At least 13 people are in hospital, according to Bluewater Health, nearly double the number seen a week ago.

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The health unit says at least 606 cases have been reported in the region just since Jan. 1, more than all cases reported in the region between March 25 and Nov. 30, 412.

According to the province, the county’s weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 residents stands at 253, second in the province only to Windsor-Essex, whose figure is 323.

Read more: Quebec adds 2,071 new coronavirus cases as hospitalizations top 1,500

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, but one has been resolved.

The outbreak had been declared on New Year’s Eve at North Lambton Lodge in Forest, linked to one resident case.

Elsewhere, at least 10 other institutional outbreaks remain active in the region, located at the following facilities as declared on:

  • Jan. 11 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 9 at Sumac Lodge in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fiddick’s Nursing Home in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fiddick’s Retirement Home in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (15 resident, two staff cases; three resident cases more than the day before)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (Retirement) in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 4 at Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia (five resident, two staff cases; one resident case more than the day before)
  • Jan. 1 at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (two staff cases)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (21 resident, six staff cases)
  • Dec. 19 at Trillium Villa in Sarnia (four staff cases).

Seniors’ facility outbreaks have been tied to 104 resident and 70 staff cases, and 16 deaths.

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No new workplace outbreaks have been declared. Four are still active, linked to 18 cases.

No information is available as to whether any new school cases have been confirmed.

The Lambton Kent District School Board says it is not reporting case data during the mandated remote learning period.

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board, meantime, has not updated its online COVID-19 page since before the holidays.

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The region’s weekly test per cent positivity stands at 6.2 per cent as of the week of Jan. 3 according to the health unit.

The rate is lower than the roughly 10 per cent rate reported in a pandemic projections document released by the province on Tuesday. The reason for the discrepancy isn’t clear.

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According to the health unit, some 4,614 people were tested during the week of Jan. 3, roughly the same as was done the previous week, when the test per cent positivity rate was 6.8 per cent.

A total of at least 80,552 people have been tested in Lambton.

— With files from The Canadian Press