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COVID-19: 276 cases in Middlesex London, 76 in Elgin Oxford after holiday break in reporting

People wear face masks as they walk through a market in Montreal, Sunday, March 14, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes. Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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


The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 276 new coronavirus cases over the last three days.

The MLHU did not report case numbers on Sunday or Monday because of the holiday. Of the 276 new cases, 79 were reported Tuesday.

A death was also reported Saturday. The MLHU says it involves a man in his 80s who was not associated with any long-term care or retirement homes.

The region’s total case count now sits at 7,699, which includes 6,626 recoveries and 190 deaths.

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The health unit also reported that 134 additional local cases had screened variant positive since last Saturday.

At least 883 cases were listed as active, according to the health unit.

The region’s seven-day rolling case average stands at 65.14 as of Thursday and roughly 3.2 per cent of tests were coming back positive as of the week of March 21.

Of the 279 cases reported between Sunday to Tuesday, at least 50 cases involved people aged 19 or under. People in their 20s accounted for at least 52 new cases. The two age groups combined make up roughly 36 per cent of the region’s total cases.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccines to come to Ontario’s hot spots for those 50+, provincial portal bookings expanding to 60+

The province’s newly-announced shutdown took effect Saturday.

Some main differences include outdoor events and gatherings being limited to five people, outdoor dining being barred, and all personal care services, cinemas, and performing arts facilities being closed, with no exceptions.

At least 414 cases in the region have screened positive for one or more spike gene mutations consistent with a variant of concern, an increase of 134 from Saturday.

Nine screened positive cases have since been confirmed through genomic sequencing to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K. Many other cases are currently undergoing sequencing.

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Health unit data shows that roughly 68 per cent of the 283 cases that have screened positive for a spike gene mutation linked to variants have involved people under the age of 30.

A chart from MLHU showing cases that are confirmed variant after genomic sequencing; cases that have screened positive for one or more spike gene mutations consistent with a variant (but that have not yet undergone full genomic sequencing); and confirmed and screened cases by age. MLHU
Note
  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been found to have only the N501Y spike gene mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil respectively, have been associated with spike gene mutations N501Y, K417N, and E484K.
  • As a result, the province is now presuming that any cases that screen positive for just the N501Y mutation involve the B.1.1.7 variant and are not sending them for further genomic sequencing. It’s unclear whether MLHU plans to add these presumed cases to the ‘confirmed’ tally in the future, despite not undergoing full genomic sequencing.

At least 6,774 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 287 have been in Middlesex Centre.

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Elsewhere, 244 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 103 in Thames Centre, 60 in Lucan Biddulph, 45 in Southwest Middlesex, 44 in North Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 126 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

At least 25 COVID-19 inpatients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre as of Tuesday.

Nine patients are in critical care or intensive care, an increase of at least four from Thursday.

At least 10 staff are currently infected with the virus.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, no COVID-19 patients are listed as being in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

At least seven non-outbreak staff cases and 11 cases linked to outbreaks were listed as active within the organization on Monday. An outbreak is active at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building linked to seven residents.

It’s not clear where within SJHCL the other six non-outbreak-related staff cases are located.

At least 393 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 70 in intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

One new institutional outbreak has been declared at Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building in the area of G2 and H2 as of Saturday.

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A previous outbreak at the facility had already been active in the area of G5.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London reported 18 outbreak-related cases Monday involving seven patients and 11 staff members. The Parkwood outbreak is its only active outbreak.

Elsewhere, two other outbreaks remain active, including at Henley Place LTC Residence (Victoria Unit) and Kensington Village (LTCH – first floor).

Outbreaks at seniors’ facilities alone have been linked to at least 789 of the region’s cases and 106 of its deaths.

A non-institutional outbreak remains active at the city’s jail. The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre outbreak was declared on Jan. 18 and has been linked to at least 30 inmate and 29 staff cases.

At least one inmate case was listed active at the jail as of last week, according to provincial data. Similar information was not immediately available for staff cases.

Non-institutional outbreaks are also active at six separate Western University student residences.

Read more: ‘Hit the hardest’: Why COVID-19 cases are rising among young Canadians

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Schools

Since Thursday, at least 22 new school cases have been reported as of late Monday

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New cases in the TVDSB are as followed:

  • A.B. Lucas Secondary School (two cases)
  • Ashley Oaks Public School (two cases)
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School
  • Medway Secondary School (two cases)
  • North Middlesex District High School (case number unknown)
  • Northridge Public School (two cases)
  • Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School (case number unknown)
  • New Sarum Public School (2 cases)
  • McGillivray Central Public School (1 case)
  • Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School (outbreak declared, 2 cases)
  • Masonville Public School (1 case)
  • Glen Cairn Public School (1 case)

New cases in the LDCSB are as followed:

  • Holy Rosary Catholic Elementary School, London 1 new case (4 cases total) – school closed from April 6-9th
  • St. Andre Bessette Catholic Secondary School (1 case)

At least five school cases are currently listed as having an outbreak London-Middlesex. A full list can be found on the MLHU website.

The health unit says at least 269 cases have been confirmed during the pandemic at elementary and secondary schools in the region, while 31 have been confirmed at child care/early years settings.

Three cases were listed as active on Thursday at child care/early years settings.

One is associated with Little Acorns Early Childhood Learning Centre – London Bridge, one is associated with London Children’s Connection – Mountsfield Before and After School, and one is linked to Rowntree Park Early Childhood Learning Centre.

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In the post-secondary world, another student residence outbreak was declared in Essex Hall at Western University, six days after the previous outbreak was declared over.

The outbreak is the sixth active outbreak at a Western residence.

Outbreaks at Western are active in Essex Hall (five cases), Elgin Hall (nine cases), Medway-Sydenham Hall (19 cases), Ontario Hall (15 cases), Saugeen-Maitland Hall (30 cases), and Delaware Hall Residence (six cases).

“Those are dwarfed by the cases and outbreaks associated with social events off-campus have created more cases than those in residence,” Mackie said.

“Many of our variants of concerns come from those outbreaks in the off-campus parties and the residences campus.”

In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, Western brass announced Thursday that the majority of in-person classes and final exams would be moved online starting April 5.

As of Tuesday Western reported, 662 students approximately 20 per cent have moved out of residence.

“Really encouraging students to get tested before they return to their home communities because we don’t want the spread of COVID there and encouraging all students to quarantine even if they don’t get tested when they return home,” Mackie said.

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In addition, the university is also encouraging students living in residence to move out early if possible, saying prorated refunds will be offered to those who move out on April 11 or earlier.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, noted that while students aren’t a major driver of the local case count, they are “important contributors” when it comes to local variant-related figures.

Mackie says the vast majority of Western-linked cases are associated with variants, as are at least three of the four student residence outbreaks.

Variants, he said, have been found to spread more easily in younger people, and they are more dangerous, being “in the range of 50 to 60 per cent more likely to put a young person into the intensive care unit than the previous variants.”

In addition, the health unit was also monitoring at least six community outbreaks associated with Western “in one way or another.” In all, students represent roughly 15 to 20 per cent of the region’s recent caseload, he said.

At least 13 staff and faculty at Western have also tested positive.

Vaccinations and testing

Four pharmacies in London-Middlesex will soon begin offering doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 55 and older as part of the province’s expanding pilot project.

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Two of the participating pharmacies are in London, located at the west London Costco and the Shoppers Drug Mart at 603 Fanshawe Park Rd. W.

The other two are both located in Ingersoll, Ont., at Remedy’s Rx and at Pharmasave.

It’s unclear, however, when the pharmacies will begin receiving the vaccine doses, how much vaccine will arrive, or when the administration of doses will begin.

The four locations are allowing eligible residents to register ahead of time.

A full list of participating pharmacies can be found on the province’s website.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Dr. Chris Mackie praised the announcement and said that the next route for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine locally over the next week or two would be through certain family practices.

Mackie described the plan as a pilot, and said participating local practices, numbering at least six or seven, would be announced in the near future.

Vaccinations continue to be handed out at the city’s three mass vaccination clinics.

Mackie says the region is still vaccinating roughly 2,000 to 2,200 people every day, still below the region’s maximum capacity, as a result of supply limitations.

Roughly 93,031 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered locally as of April 4, the most recent figures available

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Read more: COVID-19: Vaccine eligibility expands in London-Middlesex, Elgin-Oxford to those 65+

On Tuesday, the health unit said due to a strong uptake combined with increasing supply the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health have expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those aged 65 and older. As of Tuesday, anyone born in 1956 or earlier can book an appointment to get their first dose of vaccine.

“We are happy to be able to open to this new group and will open to additional groups as soon as we have capacity to do so,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“Our goal remains to get the vaccine into the arms of those who want it as quickly as we can.”

Last week the health unit announced that vaccine eligibility had been expanded to more priority groups, including adults aged 16 and older with highest-risk health conditions, and residents, primary essential caregivers, and staff of high-risk congregate living settings.

More information on eligibility can be found on the health unit’s website.

Eligible residents are asked to visit covidvaccinelm.ca or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment. Online appointments are encouraged due to the high call volume. New appointments are added daily around 7 p.m., the health unit says

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The region’s two main assessment centres, meanwhile, located at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, remain open and operating by appointment.

Telephone booking will be available on Friday at the Carling assessment centre only, but will be available for both centres on Monday, via 519-685-8500 ext. 75503.

According to the health unit, roughly 3.2 per cent of tests were coming back positive as of the week of March 21, up from 1.6 the previous week, and 1.2 the week before that.

Ontario

Ontario is reporting 3,065 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 367,602.

Tuesday’s case count is higher than Monday’s which saw 2,938 new infections. On Sunday, 3,041 new cases were recorded and 3,009 on Saturday.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 7,458 as eight more deaths were recorded.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths

Ontario reported 1,161 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 219 from the previous day) with 510 in intensive care units (up by 16) and 310 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by 17).

As of 8 p.m. on Monday, the provincial government reported administering 2,621,839 total COVID-19 vaccine doses, representing an increase of 76,199 in the last day. There are 323,148 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health has reported 76 cases since its last update on Thursday, 13 of which were reported in the last day.

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As of Tuesday, the region’s pandemic case tally stood at 2,911, of which 2,722 have resolved. At least 69 deaths have been reported, most recently on March 29.

At least 120 cases are still active in the region, with 34 reported in Woodstock and 27 in St. Thomas.

The number of cases that have screened variant positive rose by 17 to a total of 92. At least 27 cases are listed as active.

Six of the 92 cases have undergone further genomic sequencing and have been confirmed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K.

An additional 83 cases are presumed by the province to involve the same variant as they screened positive for only one spike gene mutation — N501Y.

Note
  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been associated with only the N501Y spike gene mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil respectively, have been associated with spike gene mutations N501Y, K417N, and E484K.
  • As a result, the province is now presuming that any cases that screen positive for just the N501Y mutation involve the B.1.1.7 variant and are not sending them for further genomic sequencing.

One case, still active, has screened positive for the E484K spike gene mutation, while one case still active and another case since resolved, screened positive for both E484K and N501Y. Genomic sequencing is ongoing to determine the specific variant involved in the three cases.

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The health unit says roughly 13,697, residents in the region have seen at least one dose as of March 27, roughly double since the last update. 4008 have been fully immunized as of March 27, the most recent figures available.

Vaccine eligibility expanded last week to include adults 16 and older with certain health conditions deemed by the province to be the highest risk.

More information can be found on the health unit website.

Eligible residents are asked to visit covidvaccinelm.ca or call 226-289-3560 (9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) to book an appointment.

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At least three new school cases have been reported in the Elgin-Oxford region, with two in Woodstock alone.

One new case was reported by the London District Catholic School Board at Assumption Elementary school in Woodstock.

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At least one case has Algonquin Public School in Woodstock and one at Hickson Public School in Hickson.

The school board says the schools will remain open.

The only closed school under the TVDSB is located in Woodstock. School board officials announced late Tuesday that the school would close temporarily, with all students moving to full remote learning “due to significant exposure and a high number of students and staff required to quarantine.”

Full school case lists can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

Meanwhile, one new institutional outbreak was reported on April 2, on Caressant Care Bonnie Palace in St. Thomas linked to one resident and one staff member.

The health unit says a total of 622 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 482 have been in St. Thomas, 475 in Aylmer, and 356 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 211 cases have been in Norwich, 165 in Bayham, 143 in Ingersoll, 120 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 66 in Central Elgin, 60 in Blandford-Blenheim, 60 in Zorra, 57 in South-West Oxford, 28 in Dutton/Dunwich, 26 in Southwold, 24 in West Elgin and 15 in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 2.0 per cent as of the week of March 21, up from 1.6 the week before and 1.2 the week before that.

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Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health reported 12 new COVID-19 cases over the span of three days since the last update Saturday.

As of Tuesday, the region’s pandemic case tally stands at 1,438, of which 1,365 have resolved. At least 51 deaths have been reported, most recently on April 6.

Twenty-two cases are active in the region as of Tuesday, with no hospitalizations reported.

The number of screened variant positive cases rose by six to 19.

Details on what spike gene mutations were detected during the screening process were not immediately available. No positively screened cases have undergone full genomic sequencing yet to determine a specific variant.

The health unit says at least 23,855 doses have been administered in Huron-Perth as of April 4, the most recent figures available. The figure includes both first and second doses.

Vaccine eligibility expanded last week, as it has in other areas, to include adults aged 70 and older, and those who are 69 but who are turning 70 this year, Indigenous persons 16 and older and certain faith leaders.

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Those looking to book a vaccination appointment are asked to do so via the health unit’s booking website or by calling 1-833-753-2098.

More information on the local vaccination campaign and eligibility can be found on the HPPH website.

Meantime, the region has one new case at Jeanne Sauve Catholic Elementary School in Stratford.

No new outbreaks have been declared and one has been declared over.

The outbreak declared on March 27 at Ritz Lutheran Villa, a long-term care home in West Perth, is now over.

At least 573 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 353 in North Perth and 138 in Perth East, while at least 469 have been reported in Huron County, with 106 in South Huron and 102 in Huron East.

Stratford has reported at least 362 in total, while St. Marys has seen 34.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 0.5 per cent as of the week of March 21.

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Sarnia and Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported 19 new COVID-19 cases along with 55 new recoveries on Tuesday.

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The region’s pandemic case tally stands at 2,936, of which 2,725 have resolved. At least 51 deaths have been reported from COVID-19, most recently on Tuesday.

At least 160 cases are active in the region, with five listed as being in the care of Bluewater Health.

At least 157 have screened variant positive, 24 more than last reported Thursday. It’s unclear what spike gene mutation(s) have been detected, which may provide insight into what variant it may be.

None of the screened cases have finished undergoing full genomic sequencing yet to confirm a particular coronavirus variant.

At least 23,042 vaccine doses have been administered in Lambton County as of Wednesday, according to an update from the health unit.

The health unit opened up eligibility to people aged 70 to 74 this week. One in-home caregiver who resides in the same household and one in-home caregiver of an adult seeing chronic home care are also eligible.

Pre-registration has also opened up to some groups identified under Phase 2 of the province’s three-phase vaccination rollout. Those who pre-register will see an email invite to schedule an appointment via the province’s booking system.

Those eligible to book a vaccine appointment are asked to visit the health unit’s online vaccine page or call 519-383-8331.

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Local health officials said Wednesday that Sarnia was working with the health unit to build another mass vaccine clinic at Clearwater Arena this week.

More information on the local vaccine rollout can be found on the health unit’s website.

Read more: Health officials seek to convince skeptical public of COVID-19 vaccine safety

At least seven new school cases have been reported in Lambton County.

Two new cases, both involving students, were reported at St. Clair Catholic District School Board at Holy Trinity Catholic School and St. Ursula Catholic School.

Lambton Kent District School Board reported five cases, all involving students, two each at Lansdowne Public School and Hillcrest Public School, and one at Dresden Area Central School.

The cases are among dozens that remain active at local schools, according to figures available from the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

Elsewhere, three school outbreaks remain active, located at LKDSB Virtual Learning Elementary School – Petrolia (two cases), North Lambton Secondary School (13 cases) and St. Patrick’s Catholic High School (two cases).

An outbreak declared on March 20 at Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia linked to one staff case is now resolved.

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A total of four seniors’ facility outbreaks remain active in the region, declared on:

  • March 31 at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • March 23 at Rosewood Retirement Village in Sarnia (19 resident, two staff cases)
  • March 19 at Afton Park Place in Sarnia (two resident cases, three staff cases)
  • March 11 at Trillium Villa in Sarnia (three staff cases)

Four outbreaks are also active at unnamed workplaces.

The names and locations of the workplaces have not been made public.

The health unit says the county’s test positivity rate was 3.3 per cent as of the week of March 21, down from 3.7 the week before.

Past articles reporting Elgin Oxford death numbers as 90 have been updated to reflect current health unit data as 69.

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With files from Matthew Trevithick, Kelly Wang, and Gabby Rodrigues

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