Three people have died and 52 others have tested positive for the coronavirus in London and Middlesex, the 22nd day in a row that the region has reported a COVID-19-related death, local health officials reported on Friday.
The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 5,347, of which 3,648 people have recovered, an increase of 54 from the day before.
At least 164 people have died during the pandemic, including at least 58 since the month began.
The three deaths reported Friday involved a woman in her 70s who was not associated with a seniors’ facility and two people in their 90s, a man and woman, who were both linked to long-term care.
In addition to being the deadliest month the pandemic has seen, January has also recorded the most new coronavirus cases with 1,977. December, which stands as the second-worst month for cases, saw 1,723.
As of Friday, at least 1,535 cases are active in the region.
Of the 52 new cases Friday, 45 are from London, two each are from Middlesex Centre and Strathroy-Caradoc and one is from Thames Centre. Two are pending a location.
Those infected skew younger, with people under 30 making up some 46 per cent of cases. Ten are aged 19 or younger, 14 are in their 20s, five are in their 30s, six are in their 40s, seven are in their 50s, three each are in their 60s and 70s, and four are 80 or older.
Exposure source information is only available for six cases. Four are due to outbreaks and two have no known link. The remaining 46 have their source listed as pending.
During Thursday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said the recent drop in new cases suggests the region’s second wave has peaked.
“It doesn’t mean it’s the last peak that we’ll see,” he stressed. “Hopefully this decline is something we can continue in the weeks and months to come.”
“There could be any number of reasons why we might see case counts go back up again. If we see behaviour being relaxed too quickly, we could see a jump in cases. If we do see U.K. variant spreading more rapidly here, we could see a jump in cases.”
The region has, so far, recorded one confirmed case of the U.K. variant B.1.1.7. Researchers have yet to determine whether any of the new variants, including those detected in South Africa and Brazil, are more deadly, but the U.K. strain is known to spread much faster.
“We’re all very much hoping that people can keep up the good behaviour that has brought cases down and we can keep seeing things improve across the community.”
The region’s seven-day case average stands at 68.57 as of Friday, down from 69.7 Thursday. The 14-day average stands at 87.5, down from 90.28 on Thursday.
The cumulative incidence rate for London-Middlesex is 1,053 cases per 100,000 people compared to Ontario’s 1,665.
London has recorded at least 4,623 cases during the pandemic, followed by Middlesex Centre with 236.
Due to Middlesex Centre’s lower population, its caseload has hit harder. The municipality’s incidence rate is 1,335 cases per 100,000 people to London’s 1,142.
Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 187 cases, Thames Centre 89, Lucan Biddulph 34, Southwest Middlesex 34, North Middlesex 28, Adelaide Metcalfe 13 and Newbury two. At least 101 cases are pending location data.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre numbered 22 as of Thursday, unchanged from the day before.
Eight patients are in critical or intensive care, a decrease of two from Thursday.
At the same time, active staff cases within LHSC numbered 23 Friday, up one from the day before.
St. Joseph’s Hospital remains free of any COVID-19 patients.
However, St. Joseph’s Health Care London reported late Thursday that at least 10 staff members within the organization were currently infected.
All but one are linked to an outbreak at Mount Hope for Long-Term Care, which is also tied to two active resident cases and five deaths.
The health unit says 328 people have been hospitalized due to the virus, with 65 in intensive care.
No new institutional outbreaks have been declared or deemed resolved, the health unit says, but an outbreak at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre has grown.
As of Friday, the health unit said the outbreak had led to at least 14 cases at the jail, including 10 staff members and four inmates.
There were no active inmate cases on Jan. 18. The outbreak was declared at the facility on Monday after four staff there tested positive.
In a statement, a Ministry of the Solicitor General spokesperson said any inmate who tests positive is isolated from the rest of the inmate population as they receive appropriate medical care.
“The ministry continues to work with the local health unit to complete contact tracing, and voluntary testing of inmates is ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
One outbreak was declared over on Thursday at Strathmere Lodge.
At least 14 outbreaks remain active at local long-term care and retirement homes in London and Middlesex. How many cases and deaths are linked to all of the outbreaks is not clear.
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 and eight staff are presently infected, a notable drop from previous weeks. Five people have also died.)
- Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility-wide).
Three outbreaks are also still active within London Health Sciences Centre.
No new cases or deaths have been reported between them.
One outbreak is located at University Hospital. Declared on Jan. 15 in its emergency department, it’s linked to eight staff cases.
Meantime, two outbreaks are active at Victoria Hospital, declared Jan. 6 in B41 Antenatal and Jan. 12 in the C6-100-Geriatric Behavioural Unit. Both are linked to fewer than five patient and staff cases and no deaths.
A fourth hospital outbreak is also active in the region, located at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital in 2 South. A case tally was not immediately available.
No new school cases have been reported by local school boards or by the health unit.
One school-associated case is active in the region. It was reported on Jan. 16 and is linked to Clarke Road Secondary School.
The health unit says at least 178 cases have been reported during the pandemic involving elementary and secondary schools and child-care centres.
Students in the London region have been learning remotely and won’t be back in the classroom until at least Feb. 11.
Mark Fisher, director of education for the Thames Valley District School Board, and Linda Staudt, director of education for the London District Catholic School Board, confirmed the timeframe to 980 CFPL on Thursday.
Staudt said the board had been told remote learning would continue “until this stay-at-home emergency order is no longer in effect.”
The order, launched Jan. 14, is to remain in place until at least Feb. 10.
“It’s our hope that sometime in that first week of February, we would find out if, in fact, we can go back,” Staudt said.
While the majority of students are learning remotely, students with special education needs who are unable to participate in remote learning have been back in schools.
Fisher says roughly 1,100 students are attending in-person school within the public board, while Staudt estimated the number at 300 in the Catholic board.
Vaccinations and testing
All long-term care home residents in the region will be vaccinated by the end of the weekend, local health officials stress.
That’s despite shipment delays from Pfizer and a shrinking local supply of doses — issues that prompted the city’s vaccination clinic to be temporarily shut down.
The closure of the clinic, located at the Western Fair District Agriplex with the city’s field hospital, begins Friday and will last at least two weeks.
“The facilities we’ll be vaccinating between (Thursday) and Monday include the following: Henley Place, Craigwiel Gardens, Chartwell Parkhill, Kensington Village, The Village of Glendale Crossing, Westmount Gardens, Babcock Community Care, and PeopleCare Oakcrossing,” Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said during Thursday’s briefing.
“The other positive part of this story is that we’re now in our 11th day after vaccinating at the Oneida long-term care facility, and that means that the people vaccinated there are now becoming immune.
“It’s around day eight that immunity starts to develop and by around day 12 to 14, you’ve got almost 90 per cent and potentially over 90 per cent protection against the virus.”
Mackie says health unit teams are planning to begin vaccinations at high-risk retirement homes on Monday once long-term care residents have all been given a first dose, but says those plans are tentative depending on available supply.
“If we have some indication between now and Monday that there will be further delays in the provincial supply, we may not be able to go out into those homes. Otherwise, we do plan to at this point.”
Mackie says there are still several weeks of work ahead to figure out which groups come next in the vaccination queue, including when health-care workers more broadly can expect shots. He says the health unit expects direction on the matter will come from the province.
According to the health unit, 3.6 per cent of tests were coming back positive as of the week of Jan. 10, down from 6.1 per cent the week prior. Updated numbers are expected Wednesday.
At least 12,103 tests were conducted the week of Jan. 10, down from 12,901 a week earlier.
The city’s two main COVID-19 assessment centres have seen lower turnout this week compared to last.
The Carling Heights assessment centre reported 458 visits on Monday, 349 on Tuesday, 305 on Wednesday and 272 on Thursday, while Oakridge Arena reported 347, 327, 283 and 221.
Carling Heights had reported between 385 and 513 visits between Jan. 11 and 15, and between 475 and 537 the week of Jan. 4 to 8. Oakridge Arena reported between 306 and 369 visits per day over both weeks.
A spokesperson with Thames Valley Family Health Team, which runs the centres alongside LHSC, said the slump is due to several factors.
Among them, the province’s stay-at-home order, which has resulted in less demand as students continue with remote learning and more adults shift to working from home.
The centres also stopped testing for travel last Friday.
Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only.
Ontario is reporting 2,662 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 87 more deaths related to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 779 new cases in Toronto, 542 in Peel Region and 228 in York Region.
She said there are also 128 more cases in Waterloo Region and 118 in Windsor-Essex County.
More than 71,000 tests have been completed in Ontario since the last daily update.
The province is also reporting that 11,168 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since its last daily update.
A total of 264,985 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is sending two mobile health units to the Greater Toronto Area to help address the strain COVID-19 is placing on hospitals.
The units will bring an additional 200 hospital beds to the area, to help free up space for people who need intensive care, and will provide medical equipment and supplies.
Ontario’s hospitals have been struggling with capacity challenges for weeks because of surging COVID-19 cases, especially in hotspots.
On Monday, the province said a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont., will be used to help relieve the capacity crunch.
Premier Doug Ford said some patients from overcrowded Greater Toronto Area hospitals would be transferred to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital when it opens on Feb. 7.
Elgin and Oxford
Fifteen new coronavirus infections have been reported, along with 31 recoveries, Southwestern Public Health reported Friday.
The region’s pandemic case tally stands at 2,151, of which 1,847 people have recovered and 49 have died. One death was reported on Thursday involving a woman in her 70s whose death was linked to an outbreak at PeopleCare in Tavistock.
At least 35 of the region’s deaths and 772 of its cases have been reported just this month.
As of Friday, at least 255 cases were considered active in Elgin and Oxford.
Of those, at least 70 are in Tillsonburg, while 37 are in Norwich, 30 in Woodstock, 28 in St. Thomas, 24 in Aylmer and 13 in East Zorra-Tavistock. Ten other municipalities have active case tallies of 10 or fewer.
At least 12 people were listed as being in hospital in the region as of Thursday, with four in intensive care, the health unit says.
Two new institutional outbreaks have been declared in the region, the health unit says.
One has been declared at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock, tied to one resident case, while the other has been declared at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas, tied to one staff case.
The new outbreaks are among at least 13 that are currently active in the region.
Long-term care and retirement home outbreaks remain active at the following facilities, declared on:
- Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (one resident case)
- Jan. 21 at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas (one staff case)
- 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 (46 resident, 36 staff cases, nine deaths; three resident cases more than the day before)
- Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 53 staff cases, 17 deaths)
At least 24 institutional outbreaks have been declared in the region during the pandemic.
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 counties.
It’s unclear whether new cases have been reported at other school boards or at private schools, as the health unit defers to the province for school case information, and the province has paused its reporting of cases during remote learning.
St. Thomas has reported 375 cases during the pandemic, followed by Woodstock with 345 and Aylmer with 338.
Due to its low population size, Aylmer’s caseload equates to 4,511 cases per 100,000 people, well above any other municipality in the region.
St. Thomas’s incidence rate is 963 per 100,000 while Woodstock’s is 843.
Elsewhere, 318 cases have been in Tillsonburg, 187 in Norwich, 155 in Bayham, 96 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 87 in Ingersoll, 51 in Zorra, 45 in Blandford-Blenheim, 43 in Central Elgin, 43 in South-West Oxford, 24 in Southwold, 19 in West Elgin, 16 in Dutton/Dunwich and eight in Malahide.
The health unit says the region’s test 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.
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
Three people have died and 26 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with Huron Perth Public Health reported on Friday.
The region’s total case tally now stands at 1,122, an increase of 25 from the day before. Health officials say one previously confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit.
At least 937 of the region’s cases have recovered and 32 people have died.
The three deaths Friday all involved long-term care residents at Caressant Care in Listowel, which has been dealing with two separate, deadly outbreaks over the last several weeks in its long-term care home and retirement home, health officials said.
The health unit says more than half of the cases reported Friday, 15, came from North Perth. Elsewhere, three cases are from Central Huron and two cases each are from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Huron East, Perth East and Stratford.
At least 153 cases were active in the county as of Friday’s update.
Of those, 89, or 58 per cent, are in North Perth. Fifteen are in Stratford, 14 in Huron East, and 10 in Central Huron. Eight other municipalities have active case tallies under 10.
Roughly 80 per cent of the active cases in North Perth, or about 47 per cent of active cases in the Huron-Perth region, are located at Caressant Care.
The facility has reported a combined 100 cases and seven deaths in its long-term care home and retirement home this month.
The first outbreak at the facility was reported on Jan. 7 in its retirement home. As of Thursday, health officials said a total of 29 residents and seven staff members had tested positive and one resident had died.
As of Thursday, 16 resident and three staff cases were still considered active.
Three days after the retirement home, the facility’s long-term care home was struck by an outbreak on Jan. 10.
Since it was declared, that outbreak has infected 43 residents and 21 staff members. As of Thursday, 34 resident cases and 19 staff cases were still active, health officials said.
At least six long-term care home residents have since died, including the three reported on Friday.
No new cases were reported at Caressant Care on Friday.
Including Caressant Care, active outbreaks remain in place at eight seniors’ facilities in the region. The active seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared on:
- Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor in Huron East (seven resident, four staff cases; two resident cases more than the day before)
- Jan. 16 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [Retirement Home] (one resident, one staff case)
- Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 21 staff, at least six deaths; three deaths 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; 1 death)
- Dec. 18 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [LTC] (36 resident, 11 staff cases)
Elsewhere, an outbreak remains in place at Stratford General Hospital. Health officials say the outbreak, located in the surgery unit, is tied to four staff cases, unchanged from the day before.
No new school cases were reported Friday by the Avon-Maitland District School Board or the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.
At least 16 cases are listed as active by the Avon-Maitland board. No active cases are located within the Huron-Perth Catholic board.
Active cases are located at:
- 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 501 cases have been reported in Perth County, including 316 in North Perth, while 321 have been in Huron County, 272 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.
Sarnia and Lambton
Two people have died and six others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Lambton Public Health reported Friday in what is the region’s lowest single-day case increase in roughly a month.
The region’s pandemic case tally is 1,736, of which 1,511 people have recovered, an increase of 28 from the day before.
At least 35 people have died during the pandemic. Details on the two deaths reported Friday were not immediately available.
At least 190 cases are currently active in the region. At least 11 people are in hospital as of Friday, according to Bluewater Health, a decrease of two from the day before.
Health unit figures show some 888 cases have been reported so far this month, more cases than were reported through the entirety of 2020 — 847.
No new outbreaks have been declared or resolved.
As of Friday, 12 outbreaks remain active in the county, including eight at long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:
- Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (22 resident, six staff cases)
- 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, one death)
- Jan. 4 at Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia (five resident, three staff cases)
- Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (26 resident, 12 staff cases, three deaths; one staff case more than the day before)
Elsewhere, three workplace outbreaks remain active, tied to 15 cases. The names and locations of the workplaces have not been made public.
One outbreak is also active at Sarnia’s jail involving four staff cases, unchanged from the day before. No inmates are currently positive with the virus, according to provincial data.
Meantime, no data is available as to whether any new school-linked cases have been reported. The health unit does not report school cases, and the Lambton Kent District and St. Clair Catholic District school boards have paused public reporting during the remote learning period.
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.
— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian PressView link »