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2 COVID-19-related deaths, 102 new cases in London and Middlesex Sunday

A person wears a disposable mask to protect them from the COVID-19 virus while standing beside information about the ongoing pandemic in Kingston, Ontario on Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg.

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


Two deaths and 102 new COVID-19 cases were reported in London and Middlesex on Sunday.

This update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 11,181, of which 10,057 have resolved, an increase of 92 from the day before.

One death involves a man in his 60s and the other involves a woman in her 60s, according to the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU). Neither were associated with a long-term care or retirement home.

At least 210 deaths have been reported during the pandemic to date for the region.

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Ten deaths have been reported so far this month, including three on Thursday, one involving an 18-year-old male.

The health unit says at least 914 cases are active in London-Middlesex as of Sunday.

Of these, 694 cases have been reported since the start of May. The region’s rolling seven-day case average stands at 86.7, down from 94.8 the seven days previous.

Of the 102 new cases, 98 are from London, while the rest are spread out across Middlesex County.

In terms of age, 27 cases are found in those aged 19 or younger; 28 are in their 20s; 13 are in their 30s; 11 are in their 40s; three are in their 50s; 15 are in their 60s; and four are in their 70s.

The number of variant cases recorded in the region rose by 93 on Sunday, to a total of at least 1,924.

Nearly all of the region’s confirmed/presumed* variant cases — 1,907 — have involved the B.1.1.7 variant. Sixteen have involved the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil, and one, reported earlier this week, the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India.

Read more: Canada to face COVID-19 like yearly endemic flu due to variants, expert says

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

  • 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.
  • The province has stopped conducting genomic analysis on cases that screen positive for just N501Y. Those cases are presumed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, as the variant has only been associated with that mutation.
  • Cases that screen positive for either E484K or K417N 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.

A separate tally from the health unit shows at least 277 cases in the region have screened positive for a spike protein mutation that is consistent with one or more variants.

At least 146 of them are in the process of genomic analysis, as they screened positive for the E484K mutation.

An additional 131 cases were initially found to have just the N501Y mutation, but since they have not been ruled out for E484K, they are not being presumed B.1.1.7 yet, and added to the main variant tally. It’s unclear if or when the cases may be added.

Confirmed/presumed variant cases and screened mutation positive cases in London-Middlesex as of April 7, 2021. Middlesex-London Health Unit

A total of 10,046 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 344 have been in Middlesex Centre.

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Elsewhere, 322 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 145 in Thames Centre, 69 in Lucan Biddulph, 56 in Southwest Middlesex, 54 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and three in Newbury.

At least 127 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

The London Health Sciences Centre last updated numbers on Friday.

As many as 94 COVID-19 patients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) on Friday, a decrease of two from the day before, and five from the record 99 seen on Wednesday.

Of those, 43 were in intensive care.

LHSC says at least 34 of the 94 COVID-19 patients in their care, including 24 of the 43 people in the ICU, are patients transferred in from the Toronto area.

At least eight staff cases are active, LHSC says, a decline of two from the day before.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, reported no COVID-19 patients in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital Friday.

At least five staff cases were active within the organization as of April 26, its most recent update. It’s not clear where within SJHCL the staff work.

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More details are expected Monday about the pandemic’s ongoing impacts on the local hospital system.

LHSC, like several other hospitals in the region, including St. Thomas and Stratford, have been receiving patients from hard-hit Toronto-area hospitals to keep them from becoming overwhelmed.

To deal with the surge, LHSC has opened at least 25 additional critical care beds over the last several weeks, and has cut its surgical volume in half to free up space and staffing resources.

At least three of the additional critical care beds are in Children’s Hospital’s pediatric critical care unit. Adult patients were in the unit as of Monday, but officials would not say how many, citing privacy.

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Plan for national long-term care standards coming “very soon:” Leblanc – May 9, 2021

Institutional outbreaks

No new outbreaks have been declared at a local seniors’ facilities.

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The most recent outbreak was declared late Thursday at Kensington Village Retirement in its Canterbury area.

It’s among six outbreaks active at local facilities.

An outbreak is also currently active in Kensington Village’s long-term care home, specifically its first floor.

Elsewhere, three outbreaks are active at Glendale Crossing in its Glanworth, Lambeth, and Westminster areas, and one outbreak is active at Dearness Home in its 5 East area.

It’s unclear how many cases are linked to each facility. Unlike neighbouring health units, MLHU has not made that information public during the pandemic.

At least 821 cases and 107 deaths have been linked to long-term care and retirement homes during the pandemic.

Elsewhere, a non-institutional outbreak is also active at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.

The outbreak has been active since Jan. 18, and has seen at least 62 inmate cases and 43 staff cases reported at that time.

As of Wednesday, at least three inmate cases were active, an increase of two from Tuesday, the most recent provincial data shows.

Outbreaks also remain active at one Western residence and one child-care facility. Those details can be found below.

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It’s unclear if any other non-institutional outbreaks or workplace outbreaks are active in the region, as MLHU only reports outbreaks in settings such as child care, education, and health care.

Read more: Several U.S. colleges to require COVID-19 vaccination. What have Canadian schools said?

Schools

Global News does not report on school cases over the weekend. 

One outbreak located at Sir Arthur Currie Public School is still active. The case was reported late Wednesday by the Thames Valley District School Board.

At least 351 cases have been reported involving local elementary and secondary schools during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Thames Valley District School Board announced that parents and guardians now had until June 1 to decide whether their child should learn in-person or remotely next year.

Dr. Chris Mackie said Thursday that he was recommending parents choose in-person learning, citing the low rate of COVID-19 in students locally, and recent news involving the vaccine and children.

This week, Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people aged 12 to 15.

“We don’t have information on timing there. We haven’t got provincial direction yet around how children should be prioritized relative to other groups. But hopefully by the Fall we can start vaccinating children as young as 12,” Mackie said.

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At least six cases are linked to London Bridge: Rowntree Park Early Childhood Learning Centre. An outbreak declaration is also active there.

The facility has been closed until at least the end of next week, an official with London Bridge told Global News last week.

Elsewhere, one case each is active involving Angels Daycares Komoka and Glen Cairn Child Care, the health unit says. An outbreak declaration is still active at Angels Daycares.

In the post-secondary world, meanwhile, one student residence outbreak remains active at Western University.

Declared April 8 at Perth Hall, the outbreak has been tied to at least 31 cases, according to the health unit.

Eight student residence outbreaks have been reported at Western since late March, linked to a total of at least 196 cases.

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Vancouver taxpayers on hook for at least $3.5 million for Oppenheimer homeless camp – May 8, 2021

Vaccinations and Testing

The London-Middlesex region has seen more than 190,000 vaccine doses administered.

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The tally includes doses handed out through mass vaccination clinics, mobile clinics, pharmacies and primary care settings.

Roughly 22,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered locally at pharmacies, and around 6,000 through primary care settings.

As of Thursday, all people aged 50 and older are eligible to get the vaccine, along with people who are turning 50 this year.

Additionally, people who fall under first of two provincially designated groups of essential workers who can’t work from home are also now able to book a spot.

That’s in addition to the various groups who have previously been identified as being vaccine eligible, including individuals 16 and older with certain highest-risk and high-risk health conditions, and Indigenous people 16 and older.

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 mass vaccination clinics. Online appointments are encouraged due to the high call volume.

People aged 40 and older are eligible to get the AstraZeneca shot through some local pharmacies as part of the province-run program. Residents are asked to book a spot with the pharmacies themselves.

The province’s updated vaccine timeline, released last week, aims to have all Ontarians 18 and older eligible as of the week of May 24.

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Wednesday the province will soon expand its rollout to include kids aged 12 to 15 years old after Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group.

Three mass vaccination clinics remain in operation in London-Middlesex, but with an expected bump in vaccine doses this month and next, officials expect to open the fourth this month at Earl Nichols Arena. A date for its opening will be released next week.

Ontario is expecting to receive large vaccine shipments soon, mostly from Pfizer. The province is set to receive over four million of those doses in May and more than 3.7 million in June.

Ontario is also now expecting an additional shipment of approximately 388,000 Moderna doses in May. A shipment of 116,000 Johnson & Johnson shots is also expected to arrive in May, and the province said it will share more information on use of that vaccine soon.

Mackie said the health unit did not have any plans to open a 24-hour vaccination clinic, despite the expected increase in vaccines and the jump in the number of people eligible to get the shot.

“We really don’t have a need for 24-hour vaccinations right now. We run 12-hour clinics seven days a week. We haven’t had any complaints about hours of clinics being an access issue,” he said.

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Mackie said staffing challenges, mainly around recruiting people for supervisor positions, is the main stumbling block in opening an all-day clinic.

“Although there are lots of vaccinators, and we can add vaccine capacity to have higher flow clinics as we need, and we do, we can’t really add shifts very easily because that requires additional supervisory capacity, which is really scarce.”

The health unit is also burning through its allotted vaccine as quickly as it’s coming in, he said.

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.

Ontario

Ontario reported 3,216 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 492,303.

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Forty-seven new deaths were also announced on May 9, bringing the provincial death toll to 8,308.

A total of 451,591 coronavirus cases are considered resolved, which is up by 3,653 and is 91.7 per cent of all confirmed cases.

More than 38,500 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 14,502,441 tests and 16,085 remain under investigation.

There have been 91,624 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the U.K. (up by 2,010), as well as 400 of the B.1.351 variant which was discovered in South Africa (up by five), and 1,229 cases of the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil (up by 17).

Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health does not update detailed information on weekends. The following information was last updated Friday.

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The region’s pandemic case tally stood at 3,509, of which 3,311 have resolved.

At least 76 deaths have been reported, most recently on April 23.

At least 122 cases were active in the region, with 30 in Tillsonburg, 28 in St. Thomas, and 25 in Woodstock, the health unit says.

At least 15 people from SWPH were in hospital as of Friday, with six of them in intensive care.

The number of variant cases, and cases which have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stands at 536. At least 88 are active.

At least 480 of the cases have either been confirmed to be or are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., while two cases have been confirmed to be the P.1 variant, first detected in Brazil.

(If a case is found to have just one specific spike protein mutation, N501Y, during initial screening, the case is presumed to be B.1.1.7 and is not sent for further genomic analysis. The reason being that particular variant has only been linked to that mutation.)

At least 64 cases have screened positive for the E484K spike protein mutation, which has been associated with the P.1 variant, and the B.1.351 variant, first detected in South Africa. Those cases are undergoing genomic analysis.

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Have you not had your first vaccine shot yet? Could you get to a mass vaccination clinic in SWPH within half an hour at the last minute?

If so, the health unit says it wants to hear from you.

Officials with SWPH say they have launched a weekly “Same Day Vaccination List” in an effort to obtain the names of vaccine-eligible people they could call to fill a freed-up appointment slot at the last minute.

Read more: Long haul carrier Emirates to ship COVID-19 aid from WHO into India for free

Residents will need to provide their name, contact information, date of birth, and preferred location, as well as the days they are available to get themselves to a clinic within 30 minutes of a phone call from the health unit.

“Once they are on the list, SWPH will call on a first-come, first-served basis when doses become available as the week goes on,” read a health unit release.

The list will reset on a weekly basis, meaning people will need to add their names again each Monday for that week.

“There are no guarantees, but based on what we have seen to-date, we do anticipate that every day we’ll call people from the list to come in for a shot. This may result in getting a vaccine weeks ahead of a previously scheduled appointment,” said Jaime Fletcher, program manager of SWPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, in a statement.

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Those interested can sign up on the health unit website.

People 50 and older, and people turning 50 this year, are currently eligible for the vaccine, as are residents who fall under Group 1 of essential workers who can’t work from home, and people who fall under previously identified eligible groups.

People in the N5H postal code, centred around Aylmer, are eligible if they are 18 or older. The region is a designated COVID-19 hot spot. People from N5H must show proof of age and address at the vaccination clinic.

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

Roughly 70,000 SWPH residents have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, about 32 per cent of the total population.

Vaccinations are also ongoing at some local pharmacies for people 40 and older as part of the provincial pilot program. Appointments must be made with the pharmacy itself.

Two institutional outbreaks are active.

An outbreak at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital has seen four additional patient cases and two additional staff cases, for a total of seven and four, respectively.

At Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock, four residents and five staff have tested positive.

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

The health unit says at least 769 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, followed by 644 in St. Thomas, 506 in Aylmer, and 438 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, at least 232 have been in Norwich Township, while 183 have been in Bayham, 170 in Ingersoll, 135 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 87 in Central Elgin, 83 in Blandford-Blenheim, 75 in Zorra, 66 in South-West Oxford, 45 in Dutton/Dunwich, 29 in Southwold, 28 in West Elgin, and 18 in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 3.2 per cent as of the week of April 25, figures released this week show. The figure is down from 3.5 the week prior.

Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health does not update detailed information on weekends. The following information was last updated Friday.

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The region’s pandemic case tally stood at 1,614.

Officials said one previously confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit.

At least 1,519 cases have resolved, while at least 53 deaths have been reported, most recently on Monday.

Forty-two cases are active in Huron-Perth, with at least 10 of them in Stratford and nine in North Perth. At least one person is in hospital, the health unit says.

The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stands at 125. At least 22 variant cases are active.

At least 68 of the cases either been confirmed to be or are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K.

(If a case is found to have just one specific spike protein mutation, N501Y, during initial screening, the case is presumed to be B.1.1.7 and is not sent for further genomic analysis. The reason being that particular variant has only been linked to that mutation.)

Details of the remaining 57 cases is limited, but its likely they have either: a) tested positive for a different mutation consistent with different variants and are still undergoing genomic testing, or b) they initially screened positive for just N501Y, but have not had other mutations ruled out yet.

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More than 51,400 people from Huron-Perth have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, the health unit says.

As of Thursday, people 50 and older, and people turning 50 this year, are now eligible, as are residents who fall under Group 1 of essential workers who can’t work from home, as defined by the province.

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

As of Friday, spots were available for May 25-29, June 1-5, June 7-12, and June 12-19.

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

Elsewhere, several local pharmacies are still offering vaccine doses of AstraZeneca. Bookings should be done with the pharmacies themselves.

No new school cases have been reported. Four are currently active in the region. Lists can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

One outbreak remains active at a long-term care home. Declared on April 30 at Fordwich Village in Howick, the outbreak is linked to two staff cases.

Elsewhere, two outbreaks are active at unnamed workplaces, while one is active at an unnamed congregate living setting, the health unit says.

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A total of 641 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 398 in North Perth and 148 in Perth East, while 530 have been reported in Huron County, with 116 in South Huron and 107 in Huron East.

Stratford has reported at least 404 in total, while St. Marys has seen 39.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.0 per cent the week of April 25, about the same as the week before.

Read more: Canada should look to Britain for a view of a COVID-19 future, experts say

Sarnia and Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and 11 recoveries on Sunday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,328, of which 3,188 have resolved.

At least 56 deaths have been reported, most recently on April 24.

Eighty-four cases are active, the health unit says. At least 15 COVID-19 patients are in the care of Bluewater Health, one fewer than the day before.

Provincial data shows at least 10 were in the ICU on Wednesday, all on ventilators.

Lambton Public Health does not update detailed information on weekends. The following information was last updated Friday.

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The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stands at 439.

At least 298 of the cases either been confirmed to be or are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., according to Public Health Ontario. One case has been confirmed to be the P.1 variant, first detected in Brazil.

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.

Read more: Ontario’s urban Indigenous communities, dialysis patients now have shorter COVID-19 vaccine intervals

The remaining 140 cases have either screened positive for the E484K spike protein mutation and are undergoing genomic analysis, or they screened positive for N501Y but their E484K status is unknown.

The health unit says more than 53,409 doses have been administered so far by the health unit, Bluewater Health, and primary care clinics and pharmacies.

As of Thursday, people 50 and older, and people turning 50 this year, are now eligible, as are residents who fall under Group 1 of essential workers who can’t work from home, as defined by the province.

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Eligible residents are being encouraged to book appointments for the vaccine through the health unit’s website.

People with questions about the booking process can contact the health unit’s new call centre at 226-254-8222. The health unit says its main number, 519-383-8331, is still available to field other inquires.

The AstraZeneca shot is continuing to be administered at some local pharmacies to people who are 40 and older as part of a provincial program. Bookings should be made with the pharmacies themselves.

Both the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board have paused the reporting of new cases during the remote learning period.

Three outbreaks are listed as being active Friday after one at an unnamed workplace was declared over. The outbreak, declared April 21, was linked to three cases.

The three active outbreaks all involved unnamed workplaces, linked to a total of 15 cases.

The health unit says the region’s per cent positivity was 1.9 per cent as of the week of April 25.

–With files from Global News’ Matthew Trevithick, Ryan Rocca and Sawyer Bogdan, and The Canadian Press

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