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Coronavirus: London-Middlesex records 31 new cases, death of man in his 30s

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Global News senior correspondent Jeff Semple is back to answer your latest coronavirus questions – Feb 5, 2021

Jump to: HospitalizationsOutbreaksSchoolsVaccinations and TestingOntarioElgin and OxfordHuron and PerthSarnia and Lambton


One person has died and 31 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported on Friday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case total to 5,808, of which 3,859 people have recovered, an increase of 10 from the day before.

At least 177 people have died during the pandemic.

The death reported on Friday involved a man in his 30s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, officials said. Few other details have been reported.

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At least 71 deaths have been reported so far this, year, including 69 through the month of January.

Read more: London-St. Thomas jobless rate holds steady from December to January

Of the 31 new cases, 27 are from London, while two are from North Middlesex and one each is from Adelaide Metcalfe and Strathroy-Caradoc.

Those infected skew younger, with roughly 58 per cent being listed as under the age of 40. Seven are 19 or younger, six are in their 20s, five are in their 30s, three are in their 40s, five are in their 50s, one is in their 60s, three are in their 70s and one is 80 or older.

Exposure source data is not available for 21 of the cases, which have their source listed as pending or undetermined. Five are due to close contact and five have no known link.

No new cases have been found to involve coronavirus variants B.1.1.7, first detected in the U.K., or B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, according to the most recent epidemiologic summary from Public Health Ontario.

London and Middlesex has seen at least four cases of the U.K. variant and none of the South African variant.

Health officials have warned that cases could spike again if people fail to follow pandemic measures, especially as concerns mount over those more contagious variants.

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Read more: Canadian insolvencies hit lowest level in 20 years thanks to feds’ COVID-19 aid

With the Super Bowl taking place this Sunday, Mayor Ed Holder on Thursday warned against holding any gatherings to watch the game.

“The desire to maintain your annual tradition shouldn’t supersede your desire to save lives, keep our kids in school and hopefully get countless numbers of small businesses up and running again across our broad community,” he said.

“We’ve seen how quickly a single outbreak can quickly expand and multiply from household to household and workplace to workplace. After all the sacrifices made to get the virus back under control, especially recently, it would be so disappointing to see it all undone because of someone’s Super Bowl party.”

The region’s seven-day case average stood at 27.71 on Friday, down from 30.0 on Thursday. The 14-day average is 32.57, down from 33.78.

At least 5,043 cases have been reported in London during the pandemic, followed by 240 in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 194 cases; Thames Centre, 97; Lucan Biddulph, 49; Southwest Middlesex, 36; North Middlesex, 28; Adelaide Metcalfe, 13; and Newbury, two. At least 105 cases are pending location data.

People under the age of 40 have accounted for roughly 54 per cent of the region’s overall caseload. People in their 20s account for 23 per cent.

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Hospitalizations

The number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 16 as of Friday, unchanged from the day before.

The number of patients in intensive or critical care also remained unchanged at eight, while active staff cases remained at 11.

Read more: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and the ‘seniors’ question

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

At least three active staff cases, linked to a since-resolved outbreak at Mount Hope, were listed by the organization.

One patient case was also listed as active at Parkwood’s Mental Health Care Building.

At least 343 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the region, including 66 who have needed to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Institutional outbreaks

One new outbreak has been declared in the region, according to the health unit.

The outbreak, declared active Thursday, is located at Chartwell Parkhill in the facility’s Country Unit. It’s not clear how many cases have been reported in connection to the outbreak.

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The most recent outbreak to be resolved in the region was on Thursday at University Hospital. The outbreak, declared Jan. 15, had been linked to at least 10 staff cases.

Read more: AztraZeneca’s vaccine effective in elderly and against U.K. variant, new reports suggest

At least eight institutional outbreaks are active in the region at long-term care and retirement homes.

Since March 2020, the region has seen at least 96 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including 70 at local seniors’ facilities.

Active outbreaks (as of Feb. 5) at seniors' facilities, as declared on:

  • Feb. 4 at Chartwell Parkhill (Country Unit)
  • Feb. 3 at Westmount Gardens (Lily and Daisy units)
  • Jan. 30 at Henley Place LTC Residence (Victoria unit)
  • Jan. 27 at Kensington Village Retirement (5th, 6th and 7th Avenue)
  • Jan. 8 at Chelsey Park Retirement Community (third and fifth floors)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)

One outbreak also remains active at the city’s jail, declared on Jan. 18.

At least 22 inmates and 21 staff members have tested positive in connection to the outbreak at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, health officials said Thursday.

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At least four inmates have since recovered, according to provincial data. Similar information was not immediately available for staff members.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General said the facility had not recently transported any inmates to hospital.

Schools

Two new school cases have been reported in the London and Middlesex region, both within the Thames Valley District School Board.

School board officials confirmed the cases late Thursday, saying one involved Hickson Central Public School while the other involved Sir Isaac Brock Public School.

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The cases are among three presently active in the region.

One case was also reported late Tuesday at Kensal Park French Immersion Public School.

Read more: Record-breaking Corus Radiothon raises $230k for London Children’s Hospital

As of Thursday, high schools in the London-Middlesex region are open for in-person learning. Elementary schools returned on Monday.

The province says it’s added a number of safety measures, including asymptomatic testing and enhanced screening for secondary students and staff.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, was asked about the testing angle, the details of which remain somewhat murky.

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“The information we have around asymptomatic testing in schools is that it will be available as needed, as deemed by local public health,” Mackie said.

“There is the caveat to that testing. The supplies available are primarily the Panbio, which is not as sensitive as the PCR testing and generally requires a PCR followup, if positive. It also requires a nasopharyngeal swab, so it doesn’t actually free up the human resources that some of the other rapid tests do.”

Mackie said the health unit is keeping an eye on local schools, and will use the available testing if needed, “but we’re not seeing an opportunity at this point.”

Vaccinations and testing

Health officials provided the latest details in the region’s ongoing vaccination campaign Thursday, announcing that a second vaccination clinic in London and Middlesex will open in the coming weeks in Mount Brydges.

The clinic will be located at the Caradoc Community Centre, according to the announcement from the health unit, Middlesex County, Middlesex-London Paramedic Service, Middlesex Hospital Alliance and the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc.

A date for opening was not immediately available. The clinic is set to come online as more vaccine is made available in the region in the near future.

“The Health Unit has been working closely with Strathroy-Caradoc administration to ensure all necessary measures are being put in place to ensure the facility will be ready to support the vaccination operations that will happen there, once additional supply becomes available,” read a joint statement from the parties involved.

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“Work currently being done at the Caradoc Community Centre includes implementing the necessary security measures and upgrading the building’s technological infrastructure.”

Mackie said the London-Middlesex region is expected to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine, noting that some other communities have seen a mix of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“You can imagine that logistically that’s a major challenge that we’re hoping to avoid,” he said.

A large number of the doses expected later this month are doses that would have been delivered early this month or later last month, had Pfizer not embarked on upgrades at its Belgium facility that resulted in major supply issues.

Read more: Prime Minister Trudeau rejects plea from premiers to release details of vaccine contracts

The news came nearly two weeks to the day since the region’s first, and currently only, vaccination clinic at the Western Fair District Agriplex, closed temporarily due to supply issues with the Pfizer vaccine. The clinic is set to reopen on Monday.

The health unit plans to open as many as four vaccination clinics in the region, with the aim of vaccinating as many as 3,000 people per day, according to a draft vaccination plan released last month by the health unit. The locations of the remaining two pending clinics have not been released.

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Currently, long-term care and high-risk retirement homes are receiving second doses of the vaccine for residents.

The region’s test positivity rate fell to 2.2 per cent the week of Jan. 24 from 2.6 the week prior, figures released Wednesday show.

Roughly 10,246 people were tested that week, down from 11,455 the week before.

Ontario

Ontario reported 1,670 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, although 125 of them were older infections from Toronto that weren’t previously recorded by the province.

Public health officials noted that updates to the provincial case database were causing fluctuations in this week’s tallies.

The province also said Friday that there are 325 patients with COVID-19 in hospital intensive care units, with 225 on ventilators.

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Ontario reported 45 deaths linked to the virus on Friday. A total of 6,438 Ontarians have died from the novel coronavirus.

Read more: Ontario reports 1,670 new coronavirus cases, province notes an overestimation due to data migration

Premier Doug Ford will announce details on reopening Ontario’s economy next week, the labour minister said Friday as the government debated whether or not to extend the province’s state of emergency.

Monte McNaughton did not provide further specifics but his comments came before Ford and his cabinet were to meet to discuss the emergency order set to expire on Tuesday.

Ontario’s Solicitor General’s office said no decisions have been made regarding whether to end or extend the emergency order.

A provincial lockdown was imposed in late December and was followed by the state of emergency and a stay-at-home order that took effect Jan. 14 as COVID-19 rates surged.

While cases have since declined, public health officials have said the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19 is a concern.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, has said he would like to see daily case rates drop below 1,000 and the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital intensive care units below 150 before lifting restrictions.

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Elgin and Oxford

Twenty-one people have tested positive for the coronavirus while eight have recovered, officials with Southwestern Public Health reported Friday.

The region’s pandemic case tally now stands at 2,357, of which 2,173 people have recovered and 61 have died.

The region’s two most recent deaths were reported on Thursday involving a man in his 70s from Oxford and a woman in her 80s from Oxford whose death was linked to an outbreak at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock.

As of Friday, at least 123 cases are active in Elgin-Oxford. Of those, at least 73, or 59 per cent, are located in Woodstock.

Elsewhere, 14 cases are in St. Thomas and 10 are in Ingersoll. Eleven other municipalities have six or fewer active cases.

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At least eight people were in hospital as of Thursday, with one in intensive care.

Read more: Aylmer’s Church of God receives cease and desist letter from attorney general

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none have been resolved.

An outbreak at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock grew by 14 cases, after nine new resident cases and five staff cases were confirmed at the facility.

The home has seen a total of 49 resident and 16 staff cases along with one reported death.

Eight outbreaks are currently active, declared on:

  • Feb. 2 at Trillium Retirement Home in Norwich (one resident case)
  • Jan. 28 at Extendicare in Port Stanley (one staff case)
  • Jan. 24 at Arches Transitional Bed Program in Woodstock (one staff case)
  • Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (49 resident, 16 staff cases, one death; nine resident, five staff cases more than the day before)
  • Jan. 15 at Dayspring Residence in Tillsonburg (one resident case)
  • Jan. 1 at Woodingford Lodge – Woodstock (two resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 38 staff cases, 10 deaths)
  • Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 52 staff cases; 20 deaths)

Meantime, no new school cases were reported by the Thames Valley or London district Catholic school boards.

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One remains active in the Elgin-Oxford region, located at Central Public School in Woodstock.

Elementary schools within Southwestern Public Health were allowed to return to in-person learning on Monday, and high schools on Thursday.

Read more: Canada’s COVID rules on leisure travel straining business: industry experts

The health unit says a total of 446 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 405 have been in St. Thomas, 359 in Aylmer and 320 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 199 cases have been in Norwich, 161 in Bayham, 103 in Ingersoll, 101 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 53 in Zorra, 47 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 44 in Central Elgin, 24 in Southwold, 21 in West Elgin, 19 in Dutton/Dunwich and eight in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.4 per cent as of the week of Jan. 24, health unit figures released Wednesday show. At least 4,946 people were tested the week of Jan. 24, down from 5,331 a week earlier.

Huron and Perth

One person has died and six others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Huron Perth Public Health reported.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,250, of which 1,132 people have recovered, an increase of seven from the day before.

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At least 45 people have died. Details about the death reported Friday were not immediately available.

The health unit says two of Friday’s new cases were from South Huron, while one each was from Central Huron, Goderich, Morris Turnberry and Stratford.

The update leaves at least 73 active cases in the region. At least 43 of them are in Huron East, while eight are in North Perth and seven in Goderich. Six other municipalities have fewer than five active cases.

At least two people are in hospital.

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No new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none have been resolved.

At least seven outbreaks remain active in the region, with six at long-term care homes and retirement homes, and one at a hospital.

The active seniors’ home outbreaks were declared on:

  • Feb. 3 at Hillside Manor in Perth East (two staff cases; one more than the day before)
  • Jan. 31 at St Marys Memorial Hospital (one patient, five staff cases)
  • Jan. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East (five resident cases)
  • Jan. 30 at Fordwich Village in Howick (one staff case)
  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor Nursing Home in Huron East (41 resident, 17 staff cases, at least five deaths; one staff case more than the day before.)
  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 27 staff cases, 13 deaths)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, 10 staff cases, at least one death)

No new school cases have been reported, but two have resolved. The cases were both reported on Jan. 22 at North Perth Westfield Elementary School.

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Three cases remain active at local schools, all under the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

One case is active at Elma Township Public School, while two are active at Listowel District Secondary School.

Schools in the region are set to return to in-person learning next week.

Read more: Anti-poverty groups slam Canada for drawing from COVAX vaccine program

At least 525 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 337 in North Perth 132 in Perth East, 29 in Perth South and 27 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 407 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 92 in South Huron, 82 in Huron East, 50 in Central Huron, 41 in Morris Turnberry, 38 in North Huron, 34 in Howick, 32 in Bluewater, 21 in ACW and 17 in Goderich.

At least 288 cases have been reported in Stratford and 30 in St. Marys.

The region’s test positivity rate fell to 1.6 per cent the week of Jan. 24 from 3.3 per cent a week earlier, figures released Wednesday show.

Roughly 3,311 people were tested the week of the 24th, down from 3,689 the week prior.

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Sarnia and Lambton

Two people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another eight have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Friday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,854, of which 1,764 people have recovered and 41 have died. The three most recent deaths were reported Thursday involving two people aged 80 or older who died in hospital, and one person aged 90 or older.

At least 49 cases remain active in the county. Bluewater Health reported Friday that five COVID-19 patients were in its care, down from eight on Thursday.

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No new outbreaks have been declared and no previous outbreaks have been resolved.

Six remain active in the region, with four at seniors’ facilities, one at Bluewater Health hospital and one at an unnamed workplace.

The seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared on:

  • Jan. 28 at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (32 resident, 16 staff cases, three deaths)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (18 resident, five staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (28 resident, 15 staff cases, four deaths; one staff case more than the day before)

The hospital outbreak, meantime, was declared Jan. 22 and is linked to four patient and six staff cases, unchanged from Thursday.

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The unidentified workplace outbreak was declared Jan. 29 and is tied to three cases, also unchanged.

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No information has been released regarding possible new school cases.

The health unit itself does not report school cases, and both the Lambton Kent district and St. Clair Catholic district school boards have paused public reporting while students are in remote learning.

Schools in the county are set to return to in-person learning next week.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate sat at 1.5 per cent as of the week of Jan. 24, down from 2.3 the week before, figures released Wednesday show.

It’s a far cry from the 6.2 per cent rate seen during the week of Jan. 3.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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