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Coronavirus: 5 cases reported in London-Middlesex as region returns to red-control restrictions

FILE - A biomedical engineering graduate student, holds a swab and specimen vial, Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Boston University in Boston. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus in London-Middlesex, local health officials reported Tuesday in the region’s lowest single-day case jump in months.

The update comes as the region makes a return to the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework, entering the red-control tier which will see some guidelines loosened slightly.

The new cases bring the region’s pandemic case tally to 6,033, of which 5,695 have resolved, an increase of 34 from the day before. At least 181 people have died, most recently on Saturday.

Tuesday’s increase is the lowest the region has seen since Nov. 16 when three new cases were reported. At least 326 new cases have been reported since Feb. 1 along with six deaths.

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There are currently at least 157 active cases in the region, according to the health unit.

The five new cases involve one person aged 19 or younger, three people in their 20s, and one person in their 50s, all from London.

Two cases are listed as being due to close contact, while two have no known link and one is pending or undetermined.

Read more: ‘Perfect storm’: Is Canada headed for a third wave of COVID-19?

As of Tuesday, the London and Middlesex region has reentered the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework.

As announced last week by the province, the region is now in the red-control tier, as had been the case prior to the provincewide lockdown that went into effect on Boxing Day.

The move back to red-control sees indoor organized public events and social gatherings allowed again, with a maximum of five people. Outdoor gathering size limits are also being loosened, with up to 25 people allowed from five.

Indoor dining is allowed under the red-control tier, with an indoor capacity limit of 10 people where physical distancing can be maintained. Outdoor dining is also allowed, but with limitations, such as distanced seating and table limits.

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Non-essential retail is also allowed to reopen for in-person shopping but with new capacity limits.

Full details on the change in restrictions can be found on the province’s website or by viewing the full regulation itself.

It’s anticipated that the region will remain in red-control for at least two weeks before any change will be made.

Read more: London’s mayor credits community resiliency during State of the City address

The change back to the framework comes despite messaging from provincial health experts that keeping a stay-at-home order, coupled with aggressive vaccination, would help Ontario avoid a third wave and another lockdown with concerns mounting over contagious variants.

So far, London-Middlesex has seen at least six variant cases, with four involving the variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the U.K.

Two cases remain under further investigation. Whole genome sequencing can take upwards of one to two weeks, according to local health officials.

On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford defended the lifting of the stay-at-home order despite warnings it could lead to a third wave, saying the government won’t hesitate to use an “emergency brake” to swiftly move regions back into lockdown if COVID-19 cases spike.

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NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Ford is ignoring the advice of medical experts who have warned of a possible third wave if stay-at-home orders don’t remain in place.

Read more: NDP leader calls for quicker COVID-19 vaccine plan using Canada’s military

The region’s seven-day case average stood at 16.85 as of Tuesday, down from 23.0 on Friday. The 14-day average sits at 22.0.

At least 5,248 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 244 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, at least 201 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 96 in Thames Centre, 52 in Lucan Biddulph, 37 in Southwest Middlesex, 32 in North Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 107 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 inpatients at London Health Sciences Centre stood at 20 as of Tuesday, an increase of three from LHSC’s previous update Friday.

At least seven are in critical or intensive care, unchanged from Friday, while active staff cases number fewer than five, also unchanged.

No COVID-19 patients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital as of late Friday, the most recent update available. One staff case was active — linked to an outbreak, while one patient case was reported at Parkwood’s Mental Health Care Building.

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Outbreaks remain in place at Mount Hope and at Parkwood’s Mental Health Care Building.

At least 352 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, including 66 in intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

No new outbreaks have been declared in the region, according to the health unit.

Six are currently active, with five at seniors’ facilities and one at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building.

The active outbreaks were declared on:

Active outbreaks (as of Feb. 11) at seniors' facilities, as declared on:

  • Feb. 13 at Dearness Home (3 East)
  • Feb. 12 at Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building (G4)
  • Feb. 11 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV2)
  • Feb. 3 at Westmount Gardens (Lily, Daisy, Yellow Rose units)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)

There have been at least 100 institutional outbreaks since the pandemic began. At least 73 have been at local seniors’ facilities.

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An outbreak declaration also remains active at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. The outbreak, declared nearly a month ago, has been tied to at least 22 inmate cases and 21 staff cases.

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Schools

No new school cases were reported by either the Thames Valley District School Board.

At least six school cases were reported between Saturday and Monday, with four at the Thames Valley District School Board and two at the London District Catholic School Board.

Two cases each were reported at East Carling Public School and Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School, while one case each was reported at St. Anne Catholic School and St. Kateri Separate School.

There are at least 13 active school cases in London and Middlesex. A full list can be found on the health unit’s website.

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Two outbreaks remain active, located at Clara Brenton Public School, declared Feb. 10, and at Caradoc North Public School, declared Feb. 11.

The health unit says at least 203 school and child care centre cases have been reported during the pandemic.

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As of Tuesday, four child care centre cases were active in the region. Two involve East Carling YMCA Child Care and School Age Program, while one case each is at Pinetree Montessori School and Springbank Early Childhood Learning Centre.

Tuesday marks two weeks since elementary students in London-Middlesex returned to the classrooms.

Vaccinations and Testing

Health officials say, thanks to the renewed delivery of vaccine and guidance from the province, first-dose vaccinations are being expanded to additional groups identified in phase one of the province’s three-phase vaccination plan.

Starting Tuesday, health officials say they along with health units in Elgin-Oxford and Huron-Perth will be working with long-term care and retirement homes to schedule appointments for staff and essential caregivers who have yet to receive a first dose of the vaccine.

Additional groups now eligible include staff and essential caregivers at long-term care, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and residents of these settings who have yet to receive an initial vaccine dose, officials say.

Also eligible are:

  • Alternative level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care or retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors;
  • Highest Priority health-care workers, followed by Very High Priority health-care workers, as defined in provincial guidance;
  • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher-risk communities, including on-reserve and urban communities.

The Western Fair District Agriplex, which reopened last week, had been administering vaccines to those who had gotten an initial shot but whose follow-up was delayed due to supply issues.

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The health unit says more than 25,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to residents and staff of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, and select hospital staff since Dec. 23.

A second vaccination clinic is expected to open in Mount Brydges at the Caradoc Community Centre, but an opening date has not been determined yet.

During a media briefing Tuesday, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said the clinic was expected to open in the next week.

Two additional clinics are planned to open in the future in the region. Locations have not been publicly announced yet.

The province remains in Phase 1 of the government’s three-phase vaccination rollout.

Read more: Majority of Canadians blame feds, not provinces, for vaccine delays: poll

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The city’s two main COVID-19 assessment centres remain open and operating by appointment.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 2.2 the week before.

At least 10,060 people were tested during the week of Jan. 31, a slight decrease from the 10,341 tested a week earlier.

Ontario

Ontario reported 904 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

The province also logged 964 cases for Monday that were not reported earlier due to the Family Day holiday.

Thirteen more deaths from the virus were reported Tuesday, and there were also 13 recorded Monday.

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Read more: Ontario reports 964 new coronavirus cases on Family Day Monday, 904 on Tuesday

The province said 742 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with 292 in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.

More than 57,300 tests were completed over Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.

The province says 10,679 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered Monday, for a total of 467,626 given out so far.

Elgin and Oxford

Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11 others have resolved, Southwestern Public Health reported Tuesday.

The region’s pandemic case tally stands at 2,441, of which 2,292 have resolved and 64 have died.

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It leaves at least 85 active cases in the region, with 41 in Woodstock and 14 in Tillsonburg. Ten other municipalities have 10 or fewer active cases.

Two people were listed as being in hospital, neither in intensive care.

Tuesday’s update comes as the region returns to red-control tier of the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework.

Read more: Deadline for written public submissions to Ontario’s long-term care commission on Tuesday

One new school case was reported late Monday, located at Huron Perk Secondary School in Woodstock.

At least three school cases were reported over the weekend, all at Annandale Public School in Tillsonburg.

At least four cases are active at Annandale Public School, while one case each is active at Elgin Court Public School in St. Thomas and Royal Roads Public School in Ingersoll.

Elsewhere, no new outbreaks were declared on Tuesday.

At least three are active in the region, declared on:

  • Feb. 11 at Valleyview Nursing Home in St. Thomas (one staff case)
  • Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (53 resident, 23 staff cases, two deaths)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 38 staff cases, 10 deaths)

Two outbreaks, located at Trillium Retirement Home in Norwich and Extendicare in Port Stanley, were resolved over the weekend.

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The health unit says a total of 474 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 422 have been in St. Thomas, 360 in Aylmer and 355 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 201 cases have been in Norwich, 161 in Bayham, 114 in Ingersoll, 103 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 54 in Zorra, 49 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 44 in Central Elgin, 25 in Southwold, 23 in Dutton/Dunwich, 21 in West Elgin and eight in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, health unit figures released Wednesday show. At least 4,790 people were tested that week.

Huron and Perth

Fifteen new cases were reported Tuesday by Huron Perth Public Health in its first update since Saturday.

The region’s pandemic case tally stands at 1,302, of which 1,219 cases have resolved while 49 people have died.

Of the 15 new cases, five are from Stratford, three each are from Goderich and Huron East, two are from Morris Turnberry, and one each is from Bluewater and North Huron.

The update leaves at least 34 active cases. None are in hospital.

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At least 12 of the active cases are in Huron East while 11 are in Stratford, four are in Goderich, three are in Morris Turnberry, and one each are in North Huron, North Perth, South Huron, and St. Marys.

As of Tuesday, the Huron Perth region is in the orange-restrict tier of the province’s colour-coded restrictions framework.

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One new school case has been reported in the region, located at Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School in Wingham.

The case it the first to be reported by the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board since early December. One class is closed at Sacred Heart as a result.

Elsewhere, the Avon-Maitland District School Board says three cases remain active within its schools. Two cases are located at Listowel District Secondary School while one is at Elma Township Public School.

Meantime, no change has been reported to the number of outbreaks active in the county. No new outbreaks have been declared and none have resolved.

Four remain active at seniors’ facilities, while one is active at a hospital and one at a child care centre.

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The four seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared active on:

  • Feb. 3 at Hillside Manor in Perth East (one resident, one staff case)
  • Jan. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East (12 resident cases)
  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor Nursing Home in Huron East (44 resident, 25 staff cases, five deaths)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, 12 staff cases, at least one death)

Elsewhere, the hospital outbreak is located at St. Marys Memorial Hospital and has been tied to seven cases involving three patients and four staff.

The child care centre outbreak involves Relouw Early Childhood Learning Centre in South Huron, and involves a case with a student.

Read more: Experts puzzled by India’s dramatic drop in coronavirus cases

At least 532 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 340 in North Perth 133 in Perth East, 31 in Perth South and 28 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 436 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 97 in Huron East and South Huron, 50 in Central Huron, 45 in Morris Turnberry, 39 in North Huron, 34 in Howick, 33 in Bluewater, 21 in ACW and 20 in Goderich.

At least 303 cases have been reported in Stratford and 31 in St. Marys.

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The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.1 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 1.6 the week before.

Sarnia and Lambton

Fifteen cases have been reported in Lambton County, local health officials said Tuesday in their most recent update since Sunday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 1,961, of which 1,831 have recovered, an increase of 14 from Sunday’s update. At least 45 people have died.

At least 85 cases remain active in the county, their locations not made public. At least two people were in the care of Bluewater Health hospital.

The province announced Friday that Lambton County would return to the orange-restrict tier of the framework of its colour-coded restrictions as of Tuesday.

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No new outbreaks have been declared or resolved.

Nine remain active, with seven at seniors’ facilities, one at Sarnia’s jail, and one at an unnamed workplace.

The outbreak at Sarnia’s jail has grown significantly since Friday when 14 inmate and two staff cases were reported.

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As of Tuesday, the number of inmate cases had ballooned to at least 34, in addition to four staff cases.

The outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes, specifically, were declared on:

  • Feb. 12 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Feb. 12 at Trillium Villa in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Feb. 10 at Country Manor Estates in Lambton Shores (one resident, one staff case)
  • Feb. 7 at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia (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, six staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (28 resident, 15 staff cases, five deaths)

The unnamed workplace outbreak is linked to four cases.

Meantime, no new school cases have been reported in Lambton.

Four cases remain active at North Lambton Secondary School in Forest. No active cases were listed by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.0 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 1.5 the week before and 2.3 the week before that, figures released Wednesday show.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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