With two deaths and 27 new cases Monday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is reporting its lowest case count in over a month.
After a month of record-setting numbers, Monday marks the lowest case count since Dec. 15, when the region saw 25 cases.
There are now a total of 5,470 COVID-19 cases in the region, which includes 170 deaths and 3,731 recoveries — 33 more than the day before.
Monday’s new deaths involve a man in his 90s and a woman in her 70s, both associated with a long-term care home.
This comes a day after a 19-year-old working at a long-term care home in the region died of COVID-19.
Unifor Local 302 said in a statement that Yassin Dabeh was working with a cleaning service that was brought into Middlesex Terrace, a long-term care home in Delaware, Ont., during its COVID-19 outbreak.
Middlesex Terrace is represented by Unifor Local 302, but Dabeh was not a member, the statement said.
At least 64 people have died since the month began.
Monday marks the 25th day in a row the region has reported a COVID-19-related death.
In addition to being the deadliest month the pandemic has seen, January has also recorded the most new coronavirus cases with 2,097. December, which stands as the second-worst month for cases, saw 1,723.
As of Monday, at least 1,569 cases were active in the region.
The region’s seven-day case average stands at 37.8 Monday, down from 68.57 on Friday.
The cumulative incidence rate for London-Middlesex is 1,077 cases per 100,000 people compared to Ontario’s 1,715.5.
London has recorded at least 4,732 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 versus London’s 1,163.
Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 189 cases, Thames Centre 94, Lucan Biddulph 34, Southwest Middlesex 36, North Middlesex 28, Adelaide Metcalfe 13 and Newbury two. At least 105 cases are pending location data.
There are 15 COVID-19 inpatients hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre as of Monday, down by seven since Friday.
Six patients are in critical or intensive care, a decrease of two from Friday.
Active staff cases within LHSC numbered 21 Monday.
St. Joseph’s Hospital remains free of any COVID-19 patients.
However, St. Joseph’s Health Care London reported late Friday that at least nine 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 333 people have been hospitalized due to the virus — two more than the day before — with 66 in intensive care.
An outbreak on the first floor of Fox Hollow Retirement Residency on Jan. 9 has been declared over.
As of Monday, the health unit said the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre outbreak had led to at least 19 cases at the jail, involving 11 staff members and four inmates.
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.
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.
- Jan. 22 at Dorchester Terrace (Facility wide)
- 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 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).
One outbreak is still active at University Hospital. It was declared on Jan. 15 and impacts its emergency department. It’s linked to eight staff cases.
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.
One case was reported linked to Thames Valley District School Board’s Chippewa Public School.
Darbi Daycare, Gibbons Park Montessori School and London Children’s Connection – Rick Hansen Children’s Centre all have one confirmed case of COVID-19.
The health unit says at least 179 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 on 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
“We will have all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes vaccinated by Wednesday,” Dr. Chris Mackie, London’s medical officer of health, said on Monday.
The health officials initially said they would finish vaccinating all residents in long term care homes by the end of last week.
Mackie said once they finish on Wednesday, they will have vaccinated just over 6000 residents of LTCH and retirement homes and approximately 10,000 staff through the clinic and the Western Fair District Agriplex.
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, began 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 the 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 centres also stopped testing for travel two weeks ago. Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only.
Ontario is reporting 1,958 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 256,960.
Monday’s case count is lower than Sunday’s, which saw 2,417 new infections. On Saturday, 2,359 cases were recorded.
It is also fewer than 2,000 new cases as Canada marks the one-year anniversary of the first known COVID-19 case in the country.
“Locally, there are 727 new cases in Toronto, 365 in Peel and 157 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
The death toll in the province has risen to 5,846 after 43 more deaths were reported.
Meanwhile, 227,494 Ontarians have recovered from COVID-19, which is about 88 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 2,448 from the previous day.
Elgin and Oxford
A new death along with 9 new COVID-19 cases were reported by Southwestern Public Health Monday.
The region’s case tally stands at 2,221, of which 1,918 people have recovered and 26 have died.
At least 40 of the region’s deaths and 842 of its cases have been reported just this month.
As of Monday, at least 249 cases were considered active in Elgin and Oxford.
Of those, at least 60 are in Tillsonburg, 45 in Woodstock, 33 are in Norwich, 30 in St. Thomas, 26 in Aylmer, 13 in East Zorra-Tavistock and 11 in Ingersoll. Nine other municipalities have active case tallies of 10 or fewer.
At least nine people were listed as being in hospital in the region as of Monday, with two in intensive care, the health unit says.
At least 12 outbreaks 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 and one staff 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. 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, two staff case)
- Dec. 19 at Terrace Lodge in Aylmer (six staff cases)
- Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (46 resident, 36 staff cases, nine deaths)
- Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 53 staff cases, 20 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 386 cases during the pandemic, followed by Woodstock with 377 and Aylmer with 351.
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 992 per 100,000 while Woodstock’s is 912.
Elsewhere, 320 cases have been in Tillsonburg, 191 in Norwich, 158 in Bayham, 97 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 90 in Ingersoll, 51 in Zorra, 44 in Blandford-Blenheim, 43 in Central Elgin, 44 in South-West Oxford, 24 in Southwold, 20 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
Officials with Huron Public Health reported three new deaths, 36 new COVID-19 cases and 36 new recoveries on Monday in their first update since Saturday.
As of Monday, the region’s total case tally stood at 1,173.
At least 964 of the region’s cases have recovered and 36 people have died.
Of the cases reported Monday, 21 came from Huron East, six came from North Perth and three each from Bluewater and Stratford.
At least 137 cases were active in the county as of Saturday’s update.
Of those, 66, or 48 per cent, are in North Perth. Thirty-four are in Huron East and 14 are in Stratford.
Caressant Care has reported a combined 106 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 Monday, health officials said a total of 30 residents and eight staff members had tested positive and one resident had died.
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 25 staff members.
At least six long-term care home residents have since died, including the three reported on Friday.
All outbreaks but the two at Caressant Care have since been resolved.
Including Caressant Care, active outbreaks remain in place at six seniors’ facilities in the region. The active seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared on:
- Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 26 staff, at least six deaths; three deaths more than the day before)
- Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, eight staff cases; one death)
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.
Global News does not update school cases over the weekend.
No new school cases were reported Friday by the Avon-Maitland District School Board or the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.
At least 18 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 (three cases)
- 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 511 cases have been reported in Perth County, including 325 in North Perth, while 353 have been in Huron County, 281 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
Lambton Public Health reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and 33 new recoveries on Monday.
The region’s case tally is 1,782, of which 1,588 people have recovered.
At least 35 people have died during the pandemic and at least 159 cases are currently active in the region.
Bluewater Health says there are 10 people in hospital as of Monday.
Health unit figures show some 934 cases have been reported so far this month, more cases than were reported through the entirety of 2020 — 847.
Outbreaks at Sumac Lodge in Sarnia, Fiddick’s Nursing and Retirement Homes and Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia are all resolved.
As of Friday, eight outbreaks remain active in the county, including four at long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:
- Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (29 resident, six staff cases — seven more resident cases than the day before)
- Jan. 11 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (two staff cases)
- Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (17 resident, five staff cases, one death — one more resident and staff cases than the day before)
- Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (27 resident, 12 staff cases, three deaths; one staff case more than the day before — one more resident case than the day before)
An outbreak at Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia declared on Jan. 22 currently involves two patients and five staff cases.
Elsewhere, two workplace outbreaks remain active, tied to 13 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.
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. A total of at least 86,472 people have been tested in Lambton.
— With files from Matthew Trevithick, Jacquelyn LeBel, Kelly Wang, Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press