Health officials in London and Middlesex reported one death and 25 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 6,219.
The new death was a woman in her 80s not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, bringing the total number of deaths to 184. This comes after two new deaths were reported Tuesday and Monday, which were previously unreported from late January.
Due to an outage, the Middlesex London Health Unit has not updated its dashboard beyond the updated case count on Wednesday. As of Tuesday, the last day these figures were updated, 5,913 cases have resolved, an increase of 10 from the day before.
At least 98 cases are active in London-Middlesex.
As of Monday, the region is under orange-restrict level of Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 response framework.
Of the 11 cases reported Tuesday, all are from London, with five individuals aged 19 or younger, four in their 20s, one in their 30s and two in their 60s.
Close contact with a confirmed case is listed as the exposure source for seven cases, while five are pending or undetermined.
At least 12 variant cases have been confirmed in the region, according to the health unit. At least four have been found to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the U.K. The others are still being investigated.
Last week, projections from the province’s science advisory group found that more infectious variants would likely make up 40 per cent of cases by the second week of March.
The region’s seven-day case average stood at 11.28 as of Tuesday, while the 14-day average was 11.57.
At least 5,400 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 248 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, 201 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 96 in Thames Centre, 54 in Lucan Biddulph, 37 in Southwest Middlesex, 33 in North Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.
At least 109 cases have pending location information.
Fewer than five COVID-19 inpatients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday, unchanged from the day before.
The hospital had nine people in its care as of Friday. Monday marked the first time since Nov. 12 that the tally fell below five, according to LHSC’s chief medical officer.
Fewer than five patients are in critical or intensive care and fewer than five staff cases are active, also unchanged from the day before.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, officials reported no COVID-19 patients in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital Tuesday.
However, the organization has four staff cases active as of Tuesday, one more than the previous update. Two active cases are outbreak-related.
An outbreak remains in place at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care in its MV2 area.
At least 358 people have been hospitalized in the region during the pandemic, including 66 in intensive care.
Due to an outage on the MLHU website, this information was last updated Tuesday.
No new institutional outbreaks have been declared or been deemed resolved, the health unit says.
Five remain active at local seniors’ facilities.
Active outbreaks (as of March 2) at seniors' facilities, as declared on:
- Feb. 28 at Richmond Woods (facility)
- Feb. 24 at Chartwell Royalcliffe Retirement Residence (facility)
- Feb. 19 at Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Norway Spruce – third floor)
- Feb. 13 at Dearness Home (3 East)
- Feb. 11 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV2)
Elsewhere, a non-institutional outbreak remains active at the city’s jail.
The outbreak at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre was declared on Jan. 18 and has been associated with at least 56 cases involving 29 staff members and 27 inmates.
Provincial data shows at least three inmate cases were listed as active as of Saturday. Similar data for staff cases was not available.
Two new cases in London and Middlesex Wednesday, one each at Saunders Secondary School and Arthur Carty Catholic School.
The new case at Arthur Carty Catholic School marks the fifth case reported at the school by the London District Catholic School Board.
Elsewhere, there are two cases each at Central Public School and Northbrae Public School, the TVDSB reported. Prince Charles Public School and St. John French Immersion School have one case each.
In all, at least 217 school and child-care cases have been reported during the pandemic as of Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, two child-care centre cases were active.
They’re located at Little Acorns Early Childhood Learning Centre – London Bridge and Stoneybrook Early Childhood Learning Centre – London Bridge, the health unit said.
Vaccinations and testing
Local health officials announced Monday that more priority groups identified under Phase 1 of the province’s three-phase vaccine rollout were now eligible to get first doses.
Among them are “very high priority” health-care workers, as defined by the province, along with Indigenous adults 55 and older and members of the community 80 years old and older.
Appointment bookings for Indigenous adults opened on Monday, while bookings for those 80 and over opened Tuesday morning.
In a tweet, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said Tuesday that there was “tremendous response from the 80+ crowd,” adding that two weeks of appointment slots were booked up in less than two hours — more than 5,000 in all.
The phone number to book appointments was inundated with more than 200,000 calls on Tuesday, the health unit said, a clear demonstration of the extreme demand in the community for vaccine doses.
Speaking on London Live with Mike Stubbs, Mackie says they received roughly 120,000 phone calls in the first 20 minutes that lines opened.
He added that MLHU will be adding more phone lines, hoping to double them, in time for Wednesday morning.
Due to ongoing uncertainty about vaccine supply, the health unit says it is not booking more than two weeks in advance, which as of Wednesday stands at March 17. Appointment bookings opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday, but slots are expected to fill up quickly.
Bookings can be made via the local online system covidvaccinelm.ca or by calling 226-289-3560 between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. seven days a week for slots at the Western Fair District Agriplex and the Caradoc Community Centre vaccination clinics.
A full list of the groups currently eligible to receive the vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.
The MLHU is currently using a local immunization booking system. The province is set to launch its own on March 15, but local officials say the province has asked health units doing their own online bookings to continue doing so for the time being.
During Monday’s briefing, Mackie said the health unit has a roadmap to get to 10,000 vaccines administered per day, but such numbers aren’t expected to be achieved for several months yet.
“The reality is we don’t expect that any time before late spring or early summer at the earliest,” he added, noting between 1,000 and 2,000 per day is where capacity will likely stay in the short term.
In addition, only two mass vaccination clinics are open in the region, with two more planned, including one set to open sometime this month.
Three vaccines are currently authorized for use in Canada: those by Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech.
Asked whether members of the public would be able to choose their vaccine, Mackie said the health unit’s strong recommendation is to be vaccinated with whatever vaccine is offered.
“We have three very good vaccines. It’s true there’s some difference in effectiveness, but any one of those vaccines is far better than not getting vaccinated at all,” he said.
Oxford-AstraZeneca reported about 62 per cent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have said the efficacy of their vaccines is about 95 per cent.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that the Oxford-AstraZeneca not be used for people 65 and over due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations, even after Health Canada authorized its use last week for all adults.
Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, says the province won’t administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to seniors.
Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use.
The region’s two main assessment centres, located at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, remain open and operating by appointment.
Carling Heights recorded an average of 360 visits per day between Monday and Friday of last week, with a surge of 495 seen on Friday.
Oakridge Arena saw an average of 283 visits per day.
The region’s test positivity rate stood at 0.8 per cent as of the week of Feb. 14, down from 1.2 per cent the week before.
At least 9,730 people were tested the week of Feb. 14 compared to 10,536 a week earlier.
Ontario is reporting 17 more COVID-19-related deaths, pushing the provincial total past the 7,000 milestone to 7,014.
The province also reported 958 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 303,763.
Wednesday’s case count is slightly lower than Tuesday’s 966 new infections. On Monday, 1,023 new cases were recorded and 1,062 on Sunday.
According to Wednesday’s provincial report, 249 cases were recorded in Toronto, 164 in Peel Region, 92 in York Region and 57 in Ottawa.
All other local public health units reported fewer than 50 new cases.
Officials have listed 552 cases in the province of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., which is up by 10 since Tuesday; 27 cases of the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa, which is unchanged; and three cases of P.1, first identified in Brazil which is unchanged.
Meanwhile, 286,352 Ontarians were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is 94 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 1,090 from the previous day. There were more resolved cases than new cases on Wednesday.
Elgin and Oxford
Ten new coronavirus cases were reported Wednesday by Southwestern Public Health.
It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 2,550, of which 2,399 have resolved, an increase of eight from the day before.
Because of a provincewide outage of the provincial case and contact management system the detailed information is not available. The below information was last updated Tuesday.
At least 67 people have died during the pandemic, the health unit says. The most recent death was reported on Feb. 20.
Eighty-five cases are listed as being active in the region as of Tuesday.
Of those, 54 are in Aylmer. The town has seen a major outbreak at the Ontario Police College, with as many as 65 cases confirmed overall as of Sunday night.
Elsewhere, at least 13 cases are active in Woodstock, while 10 other municipalities have three or fewer cases.
The region moved into the orange-restrict level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday.
In an interview with 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs on Tuesday, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Joyce Lock, revealed that Southwestern Public Health had received approval to use St. Thomas-Elgin Memorial Centre as a mass vaccination clinic.
“I expect to get approval for another location in Woodstock shortly,” Lock said.
“We’ve also received our first ultra-low-temperature freezer. Woodstock EMS kindly let us use one of their locations, and it’s going through the final stages just to make sure the temperatures are all right. We’re getting another one on loan from St. Thomas-Elgin General hospital.”
Lock also noted that the health unit was set to see its first local allocation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine somewhere during the week of March 15.
One new school case has been reported in the region, according to the Thames Valley District School Board.
The case was confirmed on Monday at Central Public School in Woodstock, the board says.
It comes in addition to a separate active case at the school that was reported on Feb. 19.
The two cases are the only ones linked to schools in Elgin and Oxford.
Meantime, no new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none have been resolved.
One outbreak remains active at the Aylmer Retirement Residence. Declared on Feb. 17, the outbreak is linked to one resident case and one death, the health unit says.
The health unit says a total of 497 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 428 have been in St. Thomas, 418 in Aylmer and 336 in Tillsonburg.
Elsewhere, 202 cases have been in Norwich, 162 in Bayham, 115 in Ingersoll, 105 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 55 in Zorra, 53 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 45 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 0.5 per cent as of the week of Feb. 14, compared to 0.8 the week before.
At least 4,470 people were tested the week of Feb. 14, down slightly from 4,513 a week earlier.
Huron and Perth
Huron Perth Public Health has reported no new cases and reassigned two to other health units Wednesday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,338, of which 1,272 have resolved, an increase of four from the day before.
Because of a provincewide outage of the provincial case and contact management system the detailed information is not available. The below information was last updated Tuesday.
At least 50 people have died during the pandemic. The most recent death was reported on Monday involving a resident of Seaforth Manor Nursing Home, which had been experiencing an outbreak until this week.
The update leaves at least 22 active cases in the region. The last time the region has seen an active case tally this low was at the start of November, health unit figures show.
At least seven cases are active in Stratford, four in Perth South, three in Perth East and two in ACW. Six other municipalities have one active case each.
The region moved into the yellow-protect level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday.
On the local vaccination front, the health unit says it will be opening a public booking system “in the days ahead.”
It adds that when booking opens, the health unit will be “communicating this information widely” through providers, its own website, print, radio, local news and social media. Clinics in its jurisdiction will begin “early to mid-March” with details available soon.
No new outbreaks have been declared and none have been resolved.
One outbreak remains active at Seaforth Manor’s retirement home, linked to 12 resident cases and one staff case.
The health unit says one outbreak remains active at an unspecified congregate living setting and one is active at a workplace.
Meantime, no new school cases were reported in the region.
One case remains active at Jeanne Sauvé Catholic Elementary School in Stratford, according to the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.
Health unit figures show at least 549 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 344 in North Perth and 135 in Perth East.
Elsewhere, 446 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 98 in South Huron and 98 in Huron East, while at least 313 cases have been reported in Stratford and 32 in St. Marys.
Officials reported last week that the local test positivity rate stood at 0.7 per cent the week of Feb. 14, down from 0.9 a week earlier.
Roughly 2,862 people were tested the week of Feb. 14, down from 3,377 the week before.
Sarnia and Lambton
One new coronavirus case was reported on Wednesday along with nine new recoveries, and no new deaths have been confirmed in Lambton County.
The new case brings the region’s pandemic tally to 2,116, of which 2005 have resolved, an increase of nine from the day before.
At least 46 people have died. The most recent death was reported on Feb. 17.
At least 65 cases are active in the county as of Wednesday, the health unit says. As of Wednesday no people are in hospital at Bluewater Health with COVID-19.
The region is staying in red-control of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework this week.
Local health officials provided an update on the vaccination campaign in Lambton County Tuesday.
The health unit says it vaccinated remaining retirement home residents in the county on Feb. 23 with the Pfizer vaccine, a day after 3,500 doses were received.
It adds that initial doses for all non-high-risk retirement home residents finished last week, and that high priority staff at Bluewater Health began to be immunized last week at an internal clinic.
On Feb. 25, 1,200 Moderna doses were received, which were distributed via the Mobile Immunization Team.
The team has been administering followup doses to the first priority groups in Lambton, including for long-term care residents, high-risk retirement home residents, and those in Indigenous Elder Care Homes — a process set to finish by March 12, the health unit says.
The county saw 3,500 new Pfizer doses arrive on Monday, doses that are set to be doled out at one of the three fixed vaccination clinics in Lambton beginning this week. The vaccines will be administered to staff and essential caregivers of long-term care and retirement homes by invitation only.
The health unit notes the vaccination clinics are operating on an invitation-only basis right now, but will be open to additional priority groups in the future.
No outbreaks have been declared or resolved.
Six outbreaks remain active, including three at seniors’ facilities, one at a shelter, one at Sarnia’s jail and one at a workplace.
The active seniors’ facility outbreaks were declared on:
- Feb. 24 at Marshall Gowland Manor in Sarnia (three staff cases)
- Feb. 19 at Twin Lakes Terrace in Sarnia (one staff case)
- Feb. 10 at Country Manor Estates in Lambton Shores (two resident, one staff case)
The shelter outbreak is located at Good Shepherd’s Lodge in Sarnia and is tied to six cases involving three residents and three staff.
The jail outbreak, meantime, was declared on Feb. 7 and has been linked to 47 inmate and five staff cases, unchanged from the day before.
One workplace outbreak, declared Feb. 25, is also active in the region, associated with seven cases. Few details have been released.
Elsewhere, 11 school cases remain active in the region:
- Colonel Cameron Public School
- Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School (two cases)
- Holy Rosary Catholic School (two cases)
- Northern Collegiate Institute & Vocational School (two cases)
- North Lambton Secondary School
- Queen Elizabeth II Public School – Sarnia
- St. Joseph Catholic School (two cases)
At least 1.9 per cent of tests came back positive as of the week of Feb. 14, according to the health unit. At least 3,733 people were tested.
— With files from Matthew Trevithick, Gabby Rodriques, and The Canadian PressView link »