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100 new COVID-19 cases in London and Middlesex Monday

A person wears a mask to protect them from COVID-19 as they walk by a poster to follow public health guidelines in Kingston March 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

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The total COVID-19 case tally for London and Middlesex sits just below 10,000 after the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 100 new cases Monday.

Monday’s update also comes with 123 recoveries.

The region’s pandemic case tally has reached 9,993, of which 8,830 have resolved.

There have been 196 deaths reported. The latest death was reported Saturday involving a man in his 80s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home.

As of Monday, the region has at least 967 active cases.

The health unit says roughly 2,809 cases have been reported since the month of April began, more than any other month of the pandemic.

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As of the week of April 11, 7.1 per cent of tests in London and Middlesex were coming back positive, down from 7.7 a week earlier, according to data released by MLHU this week.

Of the 100 cases reported on Monday, 94 are from London.

In terms of ages, 22 cases involve people 19 or younger, 27 people are in their 20s, six are in their 30s, 22 are in their 40s, 10 are in their 50s, 10 are in their 60s, one is in their 70s and one is in their 80s.

As of Monday, the cumulative number of variant cases in London-Middlesex stood at 1,561, an increase of eight from the day before.

Health unit figures show that all but two have been the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K. The two other cases have been confirmed to be the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil, unchanged since last week.

It should be noted that the health unit’s variant tally now includes cases presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, as well as cases that have undergone genomic analysis and confirmed to be a variant.

A note on the process of confirming and presuming variant cases:

  • Confirming a variant is a multi-step process. Positive COVID-19 cases undergo initial screening for spike protein mutations common to variants (N501Y, E484K and K417N), and if found to have one or more, undergo further genomic analysis to determine the specific variant involved (B.1.1.7, B.1.351 or P.1) — a process that can take up to two weeks.
  • Since last month, the province has stopped conducting genomic analysis on cases that screen positive for just the N501Y mutation. Now, those cases are presumed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, as that variant has only been associated with the N501Y mutation.
  • Cases that screen positive for either the E484K or the K417N mutation are still being sent for genomic analysis as they have been associated with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

Read more: COVID-19 — Canadian military preparing to send ICU nurses, medics after Ontario’s request for help

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A separate tally showing the number of cases that have screened positive for a variant-associated mutation, but which have not been confirmed or presumed to be a variant, stands at 242, an increase of six from the day before.

The tally will fluctuate up and down as cases undergo genomic analysis and are confirmed.

Of the 242 cases, 112 were found to have the E484K mutation, consistent with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants. They are under genomic analysis. Of those, 96 were also found to have the N501Y mutation as well.

The remaining 130 cases screened, initially, for just the N501Y mutation, however, they have not been ruled out for the E484K mutation, and as a result, have not yet been added to the main variant case tally. It’s unclear if or when these cases may be added.

A total of 8,931 cases have been confirmed in the City of London since the pandemic began, while 324 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, 292 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 127 in Thames Centre, 64 in Lucan Biddulph, 55 in Southwest Middlesex, 53 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 130 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

As of Monday, 90 people with COVID-19 were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre, with 37 in intensive care.

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Eight staff members remain positive with COVID-19.

LHSC set a new single-day patient record Wednesday afternoon when at least 95 COVID-19 patients were reported to be in its care.

At St. Joseph’s Hospital, no COVID-19 patients were listed as being in its care as of Friday. Five staff cases are active within St. Joseph’s Health Care London, but it’s not clear in which facility the staff work.

At least 496 people in London-Middlesex have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 87 in intensive care, the health unit says.

LHSC has increased its critical care capacity and further reduced the number of scheduled surgical and procedural activities due to a surge of COVID-19 patients, including from the London-Middlesex region and those transferred from overwhelmed hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

In addition, the organization said it would also open additional beds for non-COVID-19 patients not requiring acute care, and redeploying staff and resources.

St. Joseph’s has been helping alleviate pressure by taking in patients from LHSC who no longer need acute level care or who are awaiting long-term care and can’t be safely sent home.

Other local hospitals, including those in St. Thomas, Stratford and Windsor, have also been receiving patients transferred from Toronto-area hospitals.

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Outbreaks

No institutional outbreaks are currently active.

Elsewhere, a large workplace outbreak at Cargill’s London facility has been connected with at least 116 cases. The facility has resumed operations on Friday after it was temporarily closed due to the outbreak.

The Cargill outbreak is the second-largest to be seen in the London-Middlesex region, behind a significant and deadly outbreak at University Hospital from Nov. 10 to Dec. 29, 2020.

An outbreak is also still active at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. At least 12 inmate cases were active at the jail as of April 19, the most recent figure available.

Declared three months ago on Jan. 18, the outbreak has been linked to at least 64 cases among inmates and 34 among staff. No staff cases were listed as active at the jail as of Wednesday, according to a spokesperson with the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

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Outbreaks also remain active involving seven Western University student residences. More information is below.

Schools

No new school cases have been reported by the health unit and local school boards.

Four schools have one active case: École élémentaire catholique Frère André, Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, Rick Hansen Public School and Stoneybrook Public School.

Full lists of active cases can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board, the London District Catholic School Board and the health unit.

Outbreak declarations remain active involving the following schools, according to the health unit:

  • École élémentaire catholique Frère André
  • Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School
  • Providence Reformed Collegiate
  • St. Andre Bessette Secondary School
  • St. Francis School

At least 347 cases associated with elementary and secondary schools have been reported in the region during the pandemic, according to the health unit.

Another 62 have been linked to child-care and early years settings.

The following childcare centres have reported at least one COVID-19 case in the past 10 days:

  • Amanda’s Home Daycare (1 case)
  • Angels Daycares Komoka (1 case)
  • Beba’s Daycare Child Care Service (2 cases)
  • Deb’s Daycare (1 case)
  • London Bridge: Piccadilly Place Early Childhood Learning Centre (1 case)
  • London Bridge: Rowntree Park Early Childhood Learning Centre (2 cases, active outbreak)
  • London Children’s Connection: Westminster Children’s Centre (1 case)
  • Miss B’s Childcare (3 cases, active outbreak)
  • North Woods Montessori School (1 case)
  • White Oaks Children’s Centre (2 cases)

Read more: 13-year-old girl in Brampton dies after testing positive for COVID-19

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In post-secondary, one outbreak has been resolved at Western University student residences.

Ontario Hall had a total of 18 cases. Its outbreak was declared active on March 25 and over on April 25.

Seven remain active, according to the health unit, associated with more than 175 cases.

Active Western residence outbreaks (numbers as of April 26, 2021):

  • London Hall – 10
  • Essex Hall – 12
  • Elgin Hall – 15
  • Delaware Hall -20 + 1 under investigation
  • Perth Hall – 31
  • Medway-Sydenham Hall – 34
  • Saugeen-Maitland Hall – 55 + 3 probable cases

Vaccinations and testing

The MLHU, along with Middlesex County Library and London Public Library, has launched a collaborative effort on Monday that aims to reach adults eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet been able to do so.

In a release, the MLHU said more than 80 per cent of people over the age of 80 have received their first dose along with 65 per cent of those between 70 and 74.

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“A strategy was needed to reach those who had not yet booked their vaccine appointment,” the statement read.

Starting Monday, staff at London Public Library and Middlesex County Library branches will be calling library cardholders aged 70 and older to ensure they have the information they need to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

More than 9,200 London area residents aged 70 and older will be reached through these calls.

The statement says once this age group has been reached, the London Public Library will reach out to the 13,000 library cardholders who are between the ages of 60 and 69.

The Middlesex County Library will reach out to more than 2,000 library cardholders 65 years of age and older.

Read more: COVID-19 — MLHU, libraries partner to reach those yet to book vaccine appointments

More than 125,000 vaccine doses have been administered in London-Middlesex so far. As many as 18,370 were administered the week of April 12, the most of any week so far.

Meanwhile, it’s still not clear whether the province will designate the N6A postal code, or any region of London-Middlesex, as a provincial COVID-19 hot spot despite requests to do so from local leaders.

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The area, which previously had the highest test positivity rate in the province at 31 per cent, was 31st on that list with 17.29 on Friday, behind areas in Peel, Toronto and York region.

N6A still has the highest positivity rate in southwestern Ontario, however, with N9G in Windsor-Essex second at 13.22 per cent.

Those looking to get tested for COVID-19 can still visit the region’s two main assessment centres, at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, which remain open and operating by appointment.

Eligible residents are asked to visit the local vaccine booking website or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment at one of the region’s three mass vaccination clinics. Online appointments are encouraged due to the high call volume.

Ontario

Ontario is reporting 3,510 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. The provincial total now stands at 448,861.

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The death toll in the province has risen to 7,935 as 24 more deaths were recorded.

Meanwhile, 400,340 Ontario residents were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is about 89 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 4,057 from the previous day.

The seven-day average is 3,917, down from last week when it was 4,348. A month ago, the seven-day average was around 1,400.

The government said 33,822 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. A total of 13,911,631 tests have been completed since the start of the pandemic.

The B.1.1.7 variant of concern is currently the dominating known strain at 54,436 variant cases, which is up by 2,038 since the previous day, followed by 162 B.1.351 variant cases, which is down by two, and 351 P.1 variant cases, which is up by four.

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Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health reported 65 new COVID-19 cases Monday along with 64 recoveries since its last update on Friday.

As of Monday, the region’s pandemic case tally sits at 3,340, of which 3,104 have resolved.

At least 76 deaths have been reported during the pandemic. The most recent death was reported Friday and involved a man in his 60s from St. Thomas, a health unit spokesperson said.

At least 160 cases are considered active in Elgin-Oxford, including 44 in St. Thomas and 43 in Woodstock.

At least six people from the SWPH region are in hospital with COVID-19, the health unit says. One is in intensive care.

The number of variant cases identified in the region currently stands at 352, an increase of nine from Friday.

Of those, 319 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K. At least 41 are active, the health unit says.

According to the province, cases are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant if they screen positive for just a single specific spike protein mutation, named N501Y. The B.1.1.7 variant has been associated with only this mutation.

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The health unit says 33 cases have screened positive for the E484K mutation, which has been associated with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, and are still undergoing genomic analysis. Of those, at least nine are still active.

The local vaccination campaign rolls on, with more than 38,100 receiving their first dose and more than 2,000 getting their second dose.

Last week, the health unit announced the planned opening of a third mass vaccination clinic at the Tillsonburg Community Centre. The clinic will open on Tuesday and joins two others that have been operating in St. Thomas and Woodstock.

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Eligible residents are asked to visit the area’s vaccine booking site or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment.

Those 50 and older in N5H are eligible to get the shot at a mass vaccination clinic but will be required to show proof of age and proof of address. Elsewhere in SWPH, the age cutoff is 60, excluding those who fall under a separate specified group.

N5H is considered a COVID-19 hot spot location by the province.

Health officials urge people to get vaccinated with the shot they’re currently eligible for, not to wait for a specific vaccine.

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Younger groups of people, those 40 and older, are eligible to get vaccinated at pharmacies across the province as part of a province-run pilot program.

Appointments should be made directly with a participating pharmacy, however wait-lists are lengthy.

Full lists of active cases associated with schools within Elgin-Oxford can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

One outbreak remains active, located at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas. Declared April 2, it’s linked to three resident cases and two staff cases.

SWPH says a total of 735 cases have been reported in Woodstock, while 609 have been in St. Thomas, 494 in Aylmer and 402 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 223 cases have been in Norwich, 179 in Bayham, 165 in Ingersoll, 129 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 80 in Central Elgin, 79 in Blandford-Blenheim, 71 in Zorra, 63 in South-West Oxford, 39 in Dutton/Dunwich, 27 in Southwold, 26 in West Elgin and 18 in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 3.2 per cent the week of April 11, up from 2.9 the previous week.

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Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health reported 18 new cases since its last update on Friday along with 17 recoveries.

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The region’s pandemic case tally stands at 1,557, of which 1,474 have resolved. Fifty-two deaths have been reported, most recently on April 13.

At least 31 cases were active in the region.

One person is hospitalized for COVID-19, the health unit says. Meanwhile, the number of variant cases identified in the region stands at 75, an increase of three since Friday.

Of those, 32 have been confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, according to Public Health Ontario as of Friday.

The rest remain under investigation. The health unit has not said what spike protein mutations those remaining cases screened positive for, which may indicate what variant is involved.

More than 39,440 vaccine doses have been administered in the region as of April 23, the health unit says. The tally includes both first and second doses.

Starting this week, Huron-Perth health officials say those 16 and older with certain high-risk health conditions will be able to book an appointment, along with all adults 60 and older who don’t already fall under a previously eligible group.

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The health unit says it will reopen its booking system with additional clinics at that point. Appointment booking has been paused temporarily as all available spots have been taken up to May 8.

More information on the local vaccine campaign and eligibility can be found on the health unit’s website.

Those looking to book an appointment once spots are available are asked to do so via the local booking system or by calling 1-833-753-2098.

People aged 40 and older are also able to receive an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the province’s ongoing pharmacy immunization pilot.

Local health units are not directly involved in the pharmacy initiative, and residents are asked to contact the pharmacies directly.

At least one new school-related case is active in the region, involving Listowel Eastdale Public School.

The case saw no school exposure, according to the health unit. Students are in remote learning for the foreseeable future.

COVID-19 case lists can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

There are no active outbreaks in the region as of Monday.

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A total of 619 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 386 in North Perth and 141 in Perth East, while 508 have been reported in Huron County, with 110 in South Huron and 105 in Huron East.

Stratford has reported at least 392 in total, while St. Marys has seen 38.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 the week of April 11, up from 1.5 the week before.

Sarnia and Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported two new COVID-19 cases and five recoveries Monday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 3,190, of which 3,059 have resolved. At least 56 deaths have been reported, most recently on Saturday.

The health unit says at least 75 cases are active in the county. Bluewater Health says there were 12 COVID-19 patients in its care as of Monday morning, an increase of one from the previous day.

As of Monday, 343 variant cases have been identified in Lambton, an increase of seven from Friday.

Of those, 247 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, according to the province on Friday.

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Note on the presumption of B.1.1.7 cases:

  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been associated with the N501Y spike protein mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, have been associated with mutations N501Y, E484K and K417N.
  • As a result, any specimens screening positive N501Y and negative for E484K are presumed by the province to involve the B.1.1.7 variant and aren’t being sent for further genomic testing.
  • Specimens that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutation will undergo genomic testing.
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The remaining cases have either screened positive for the E484K mutation and are undergoing genomic analysis, or they have screened positive for N501Y but their E484K status is unknown.

More than 40,103 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Lambton County as of Tuesday, according to the most recent update from the health unit.

At least 37,763 people have received a first dose, while 2,340 have received two, the update said.

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Three main clinics are open in Lambton, with one at The Shores Recreation Centre, or Forest Arena, one at Point Edward Arena and one at Wyoming Fair Grounds.

Vaccine registration is open to people 60 and older, or who are turning 60 this year, along with other previously identified groups.

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

Eligible residents are asked to visit the health unit’s website to book an appointment or to contact the health unit at 519-383-8331, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, multiple pharmacies in Lambton are also continuing to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 55 and older as part of the province-run pilot program. Residents are asked to book appointments with the pharmacies directly.

No new school cases have been reported in the region.

Previous figures can be found on the websites of the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

Meanwhile, four outbreaks remain active as of Monday.

This includes an outbreak at North Lambton Childcare Centre in Watford involving a staff member and a child.

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Another outbreak is located in a residence of Lambton College and involves 10 cases, while the other two involve unidentified workplaces, linked to three and seven cases, respectively.

The county’s test positivity rate was 1.9 per cent as of the week of April 11, down from 2.8 the week before.

More than 143,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Lambton.

— With files from 980 CFPL’s Matthew Trevithick, Global News’ Jessica Patton and The Canadian Press

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