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Coronavirus: 1 death, 63 new cases recorded in London and Middlesex, health unit says

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 80 new cases of COVID-19 and one death related to the virus on Thursday. Getty Images

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One person has died and 63 others have tested positive for the coronavirus in London and Middlesex, local health officials reported on Thursday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 5,296, of which 3,594 people have recovered, an increase of 35 from Wednesday.

At least 161 people have died during the pandemic, according to the health unit.

The latest death involved a man in his 80s who was associated with a long-term care facility.

Thursday marks the 21st day in a row that at least one COVID-19-related death has been reported in the region. This week alone saw three days in a row where four deaths were reported.

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Ten days remain in the month of January, which stands as the deadliest month of the pandemic so far, and the month that has seen the highest number of new cases reported.

At least 55 deaths and 1,925 cases have been reported since Jan. 1.

Read more: Canadian researchers find COVID-19 antibodies last for months, likely years

Of the 63 new cases reported on Thursday, health officials say 56 are from London, two are from Strathroy-Caradoc, one is from Middlesex Centre, one is from Lucan Biddulph and one is from Southwest Middlesex. Two cases are pending a location.

Nearly 60 per cent of those infected are under the age of 40, according to health unit figures. None are in their 70s.

Six are aged 19 or younger, 20 are in their 20s, 11 are in their 30s, nine are in their 40s, 11 are in their 50s, four are in their 60s and two are 80 or older.

According to the health unit, at least 50 cases are still pending exposure source data. At least six are due to close contact, four to outbreaks and one to travel. Two have no known link.

More information on the region’s current caseload is expected to be released during Thursday’s media briefing.

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Read more: More than 200K small businesses could close permanently amid pandemic, CFIB says

The region’s seven-day case average stands at 69.7 as of Thursday, down from 73.7 on Wednesday. The 14-day average stands at 90.28, down slightly from 92.5 on Wednesday.

The cumulative incidence rate for London-Middlesex is 1,043.5 per 100,000 people, compared to Ontario’s 1,647.8.

London has seen the large bulk of cases during the pandemic, recording at least 4,577, followed by Middlesex Centre with 234.

The impact of the cases has been greater on Middlesex Centre given its much smaller population. The municipality’s incidence rate stands at 1,324 cases per 100,000 people to London’s 1,131.

Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 185 cases, Thames Centre 88, Lucan Biddulph 34, Southwest Middlesex 34, North Middlesex 28, Adelaide Metcalfe 13 and Newbury two.

At least 101 cases are pending location data.

Hospitalizations

Twenty-two people with COVID-19 are in the care of London Health Sciences Centre as of Thursday, a decrease of one from the day before, the organization reported.

Of those, 10 people are in critical care or intensive care, a tally unchanged from Wednesday.

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At the same time, active staff cases within LHSC fell by five to 22, according to LHSC. The organization is dealing with three active outbreaks at its two hospitals.

Within St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meantime, no COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

However, at least 10 staff members with STHCL are currently infected, an increase of one from the day before. All but one are linked to an outbreak at Mount Hope for Long-Term Care, which is also tied to two active patient cases and five deaths.

Read more: London, Ont., expands work to prevent homelessness after hospital stays

At least 328 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in London and Middlesex, according to the health unit.

Of those, at least 64 have needed to be admitted to intensive care.

On Wednesday, two operating rooms came back online at University Hospital and three at Victoria Hospital, LHSC officials said, boosting surgical capacity in the region.

University’s OR capacity stands at 75 per cent, while Victoria is just under 90 per cent.

Institutional outbreaks

One institutional outbreak has been resolved in the region, the health unit says.

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The outbreak had been declared on Jan. 8 at Strathmere Lodge in its Sydenham Meadows area. It was deemed over on Wednesday.

At least 14 outbreaks remain active at local long-term care and retirement homes in London and Middlesex.

Active outbreaks at seniors' facilities as declared on:

  • Jan. 19 at Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Red Oak)
  • Jan. 16 at Longworth Retirement Residence (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 14 at Kensington Village (first floor of long-term care home)
  • 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 (third and fifth floors)
  • 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 Extendicare (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (facility-wide; at least two residents are currently infected, down from seven on Tuesday. At least eight staff are infected due to the outbreak, one more than the day before. Five people have also died.)
  • Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility-wide).

A non-institutional outbreak remains active at London’s Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, linked to at least four staff cases.

One new inmate case was reported at the facility on Jan. 19, provincial data shows, however it’s unclear if the case is the result of the declared outbreak.

It’s the third inmate case to be reported at the facility during the pandemic. Previously, one case was reported in late October and one in June.

Read more: London, Ont., COVID-19 antibody test under review could allow for fast, inexpensive testing

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Elsewhere, three outbreaks remain active within London Health Sciences Centre.

One, located at University Hospital, was declared on Jan. 15 in its emergency department, and is linked to eight staff cases, a tally unchanged from the day before. No patient cases or deaths have been reported.

Two outbreaks are active at Victoria Hospital, declared Jan. 6 in B41 Antenatal and Jan. 12 in C6-100-Geriatric Behavioural Unit. Both are linked to fewer than five patient and staff cases and no deaths.

One outbreak is also still active at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital in 2 South, the health unit says. It’s unclear how many cases are associated with the outbreak.

Schools

No new school cases have been reported in the region.

One is currently active, reported on Saturday at Clarke Road Secondary School by the Thames Valley District School Board.

At least 177 cases have been reported at schools and child-care centres since the start of September, the health unit says.

Read more: Schools in just 7 southern Ontario regions to open in-person Monday, rest stay online

Students in the London and Middlesex region will be staying with remote learning for the time being, according to the province.

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For how long, however, remains unclear.

The province announced Wednesday that schools located in only seven public health units in southern Ontario will be returning to in-person learning on Monday.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit is not among them, nor are health units from neighbouring regions.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government made its decision based on advice from the province’s top doctor.

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“Getting students back into class is our top priority,” he said in a statement.

Read more: ‘Loneliness pandemic’ — Work from home during COVID-19 takes mental toll on Canadians

A spokeswoman for Lecce said the province’s chief medical officer of health will advise the government on when in-person learning can resume in the schools that are currently teaching all classes online.

The president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said Wednesday’s announcement was confusing and adds “chaos and uncertainty” to Ontario’s school system.

Despite pledges from the government to bolster safety measures ahead of the return to class, Sam Hammond said he’s seen no evidence that has taken place.

Vaccinations and testing

More information is expected Thursday on the state of local vaccination efforts.

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On Wednesday, officials with LHSC and the health unit announced that vaccinations were being temporarily halted at the Western Fair District Agriplex beginning Friday.

Read more: Coronavirus vaccinations temporarily halted at London, Ont., clinic amid supply challenges

The pause, set to last at least two weeks, comes amid a shrinking local supply of vaccine doses and major delays in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

A production slowdown at Pfizer’s Belgium facility to implement capacity upgrades will result in Canada receiving no doses from the U.S. drugmaker next week, federal officials said Tuesday.

Shipments are expected to pick up again in the first week of February, but details remain scant.

Local health officials say that despite the supply constraints, all area long-term care residents will still be vaccinated by the end of the week with the remaining stock.

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The local vaccination campaign shifted focus early last week to long-term care following updated guidance at the provincial level.

Already, some 1,500 doses have been distributed to long-term care since Jan. 11.

Officials say efforts will be made to get second doses to long-term care residents and staff within 21 to 27 days of their initial dose, should stock be available.

Those not in long-term care who have already received an initial shot will see their second dose pushed back. Health officials say those followup shots are being rescheduled to 42 days from the date of their initial dose.

The Agriplex clinic has administered at least 9,516 doses since the first one was handed out there on Dec. 23.

Read more: Pfizer pushes Liberals to include corporate tax breaks in next federal budget

Meantime, the region’s test per cent positivity rate fell to 3.6 per cent as of the week of Jan. 10, down from 6.1 per cent the week prior, new figures released Wednesday show.

At least 12,103 people were tested the week of Jan. 10, down from 12,901 a week earlier, according to the health unit.

London’s two assessment centres continue to see very high demand.

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Carling Heights has seen an average of about 420 visits per day over the last seven days. Oakridge Arena, which is closed on weekends, reported an average of 331 visits between Monday and Friday of last week.

Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only.

Ontario

Ontario is reporting 2,632 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 46 more deaths linked to the virus.

A technical issue from earlier this week was resolved, adding 102 cases from Toronto Public Health to Thursday’s total.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 897 new cases in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region and 245 in York Region.

She says there were 162 more cases in Ottawa and 118 in Waterloo Region.

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Read more: Ontario reports 2,632 new coronavirus cases, 46 more deaths

Ontario is reporting that nearly 70,300 tests were completed since the last daily update.

The province says that 15,899 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the last daily report.

A total of 253,817 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province so far.

Ontario says 2,990 more novel coronavirus cases were resolved since the last daily update.

A total of 247,564 Ontarians have had COVID-19 since the pandemic began, 215,887 cases have been resolved and 5,614 people have died.

 

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Elgin and Oxford

One person has died and 23 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with Southwestern Public Health reported on Thursday.

The region’s pandemic case tally now stands 2,136, of which 1,816 people have recovered, an increase of 43 from the day before.

At least 49 people have died during the pandemic, including 35 just this month.

The most recent death involved a woman in her 70s from Oxford County who was a resident of PeopleCare, a seniors’ facility in Tavistock that has been experiencing a severe outbreak of the virus since mid-December.

As of Thursday, at least 271 cases were active in the region, the health unit said, including at least 71 in Tillsonburg, 36 in Norwich, 35 in St. Thomas, 33 in Woodstock and 26 in Aylmer.

At least 12 people are in hospital as of Thursday with four people in intensive care.

The health unit has reported at least 757 cases so far this month.

Read more: Ontario farmers urge feds to reconsider pre-departure COVID-19 tests for migrant workers

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared or resolved, the health unit says.

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An outbreak at PeopleCare Tavistock has grown to include three more resident infections and one new death as of Thursday.

At least 43 residents and 36 staff members have tested positive since the outbreak was declared on Dec. 16. At least nine have died. The total number of staff cases fell by one from the day before for reasons unclear.

Eleven outbreaks remain active at local long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:

  • Jan. 18 at Harvest Crossing Retirement Home in Tillsonburg (one staff case)
  • Jan. 16 at Chartwell Oxford Gardens (one staff case)
  • Jan. 16 at Seasons Retirement Home in St. Thomas (one staff case)
  • Jan. 15 at Dayspring Residence in Tillsonburg (one resident case)
  • Jan. 8 at Extendicare Port Stanley (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 6 at Trillium Retirement Home (13 resident, five staff cases)
  • Jan. 4 at Caressant Care Bonnie Place – St. Thomas (two resident cases and one death)
  • Jan. 1 at Woodingford Lodge – Woodstock (two resident, one staff case)
  • Dec. 19 at Terrace Lodge in Aylmer (six staff cases)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (43 resident and 36 staff cases and nine deaths; three resident cases and one death more than the day before. The number of overall staff cases fell by one for reasons unclear)
  • Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 53 staff cases, 17 deaths; one staff case more than the day before).

At least 22 institutional outbreaks have been declared in the region during the pandemic, health unit figures show.

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Read more: Coronavirus tracker — how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

No new school cases were reported in the region by the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.

No school cases within those boards are active in either Elgin or Oxford county.

Whether new cases have been reported at other school boards or at private schools is unclear. The health unit defers to the province for school case information. The province has paused its reporting of cases during remote learning.

St. Thomas has reported 372 cases during the pandemic, followed by Woodstock with 341 and Aylmer with 333.

Aylmer’s low population size means its total case count equates to an incidence rate of 4,444 cases per 100,000 people, compared to St. Thomas’s 956.

Elsewhere, 310 cases have been in Tillsonburg, 183 in Norwich, 152 in Bayham, 90 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 86 in Ingersoll, 50 in Zorra, 45 in Blandford-Blenheim, 43 in Central Elgin, 43 in South-West Oxford, 23 in Southwold, 19 in West Elgin, 16 in Dutton/Dunwich and seven in Malahide.

The health unit says the region’s test per cent positivity rate has fallen to 3.2 per cent as of the week of Jan. 10, a notable drop from the 5.9 per cent seen a week earlier.

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Health officials say 5,572 tests were conducted the week of Jan. 10, down slightly from the 6,160 the week before.

Huron and Perth

Eighteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 19 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Thursday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,097, of which 919 have recovered and 29 have died. Two deaths were reported on Wednesday.

The health unit says seven of the new cases are from North Perth, three are from Central Huron, two each are from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Huron East and Stratford, and one each are from South Huron and West Perth.

There are at least 148 active cases of the virus in the region, of which more than half, 82, are in North Perth. Elsewhere, 21 are active in Stratford and 12 in Huron East.

At least eight people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19. The health unit says at least 30 of the region’s active cases involve health-care workers.

Read more: 1st round of COVID-19 vaccinations complete at LTC homes in 7 regions across Ontario

One institutional outbreak has been declared over.

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The outbreak was located at Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East and had been declared on Jan. 4, linked to two staff cases. It was deemed over on Tuesday but the news was just reported Thursday.

Elsewhere, nine other outbreaks remain active in the region, including six at long-term care homes and two at retirement homes.

One, located at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth, has seen three new resident cases and two new staff cases reported since Wednesday.

Four new resident cases were also reported at Caressant Care Retirement Home, also in North Perth.

Active outbreaks, as declared on:

  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor in Huron East (five resident, four staff cases; two staff cases more than the day before)
  • Jan. 16 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [Retirement Home] (one resident, two staff cases)
  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 21 staff; three resident and two staff cases more than the day before)
  • 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 (29 resident, seven staff cases; four resident cases more than the day before)
  • Dec. 18 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [LTC] (36 resident, 11 staff cases)

One outbreak also remains active at Stratford General Hospital, linked to four staff cases, unchanged from the day before.

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Read more: Toronto’s SickKids hospital report urges more masking, distancing for schools planning to reopen

One new school case has been reported in the region by the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

The case, confirmed Jan. 20, involves Listowel District Secondary School. The case was deemed a “non-school exposure” by the health unit.

It’s among at least 17 cases that the Avon-Maitland school board lists as active on its website. No cases are currently listed as active under the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

The active cases involve:

  • Avon-Maitland board employee
  • Clinton Public School (two cases)
  • Listowel District Secondary School (two cases)
  • North Perth Westfield Elementary School
  • South Huron District High School (three cases)
  • St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute (three cases)
  • Stratford District Secondary School (three cases)
  • Stratford Intermediate School (two cases)

The health unit says at least 484 cases have been reported in Perth County, including 301 in North Perth, while 314 have been in Huron County, 271 in Stratford and 28 in St. Marys.

According to the health unit, the region’s test positivity rate was 3.1 per cent as of the week of Jan. 10, down from 3.3 per cent a week earlier.

At least 3,949 people were tested that week, down from 4,126 a week earlier.

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Sarnia and Lambton

More cases have been reported in Lambton County during the month of January than were reported in all of 2020, figures from Lambton Public Health show.

The health unit reported 45 new cases and 33 recoveries on Thursday, bringing the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,730. At least 1,483 people have recovered and 33 have died. Two deaths were reported Monday.

As of Thursday, at least 882 cases have been reported so far this month, more than the 847 reported through all of 2020.

At least 214 cases remain active in the region, the health unit says, however it’s unclear where they are located as local health officials don’t make such information public.

At least 13 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 at Bluewater Health on Thursday, an increase of three from the day before.

Read more: W-shaped recovery would be ‘severe’ without government relief, CMHC says

No new institutional outbreaks have been reported but two have been declared over by the health unit and one active outbreak has worsened.

The two resolved outbreaks were declared on Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace and on Jan. 15 at Marshal Gowland Manor, both in Sarnia. They were linked to one staff case each. An outbreak remains active at Twin Lakes Terrace in its long-term care home.

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Meantime, an active outbreak at Vision Rest Home has seen six new resident cases and four new staff cases since Wednesday’s update for a total of 22 resident and six staff cases.

It’s among eight active outbreaks at long-term care homes, declared on:

  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (22 resident, six staff cases; six and four cases more, respectively, than the day before)
  • Jan. 11 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (two staff cases)
  • 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 (16 resident, four staff cases)
  • Jan. 4 at Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia (five resident, three staff cases)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (26 resident, 11 staff cases; one case more each than the day before)

Elsewhere, an outbreak remains active at Sarnia’s jail, linked to four staff cases. No inmates are currently positive with the virus.

A new workplace outbreak was also declared Wednesday, linked to four cases. The name and location of the workplace were not released.

Two other workplace outbreaks also remain active, both declared on Jan. 16, and linked to seven and four cases, respectively.

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Coronavirus: Over 1.1 million vaccine doses distributed across Canada – Jan 21, 2021

It’s unclear whether any new school cases have been reported during the remote learning period.

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Both the Lambton Kent District and St. Clair Catholic District school boards have paused public reporting for the time being.

During a meeting of county council on Wednesday, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, said first doses of the vaccine were set to arrive in Lambton during the week of Feb. 1, but noted the frequency with which timelines change, according to a report in the Sarnia Observer.

At the same time, Ranade noted it wasn’t clear why the county had yet to see any doses of the vaccine despite local case numbers surging in the last several weeks.

Those prioritized for the vaccine when it arrives will be residents and staff of long-term care and retirement homes, and essential caregivers.

Despite the lengthy wait for vaccines, the health unit says it believes it will still be able to meet the provincial directive and have long-term care and retirement homes see initial doses by Feb. 15.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate fell to 4.5 per cent for the week of Jan. 10, down from 6.2 a week earlier.

At least 4,920 people were tested. A total of 5,548 were tested a week earlier. The Jan. 10 figure is expected to be updated and finalized next week. A total of at least 86,472 people have been tested in Lambton.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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