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COVID-19: 34 cases in London and Middlesex Sunday, vaccine booking open to youths 12+

A sign letting customers know they must wear a mask inside is seen in a business' window in downtown Victoria, B.C. on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces in B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel.

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


The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 34 new COVID-19 cases and 74 recoveries on Sunday.

This brings the region’s pandemic case total to 11,983, of which 11,209 have recovered. At least 557 cases are active.

At least 217 virus-related deaths have been reported during the pandemic. The most recent death was reported on Friday and involved a man in his 70s who was not associated with a seniors’ facility.

It was the fifth day in a row that the region had recorded a COVID-19-related death. At least 17 have been reported this month.

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More than 1,494 cases have been reported this month. The region’s seven-day rolling case average (May 14-20) is 56, down from 72 the seven days previous.

In terms of ages, eight of the new cases are aged 19 or younger, eight are in their 20s; five are in their 30s; two are in their 40s; five are in their 50s; four are in their 60s; one is in their 70s and one is in their 80s.

The number of variant cases recorded in London-Middlesex has risen by 36 as of Sunday to 2,820.

Variant cases have made up the vast majority of COVID-19 cases reported in the last several weeks — upwards of 80 per cent of cases during the week of May 9, and 75 per cent of cases this week.

Nearly all of the variant cases, 2,786, have been the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K. Thirty-three have involved the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, while one involved the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India.

At least 378 other cases remain under investigation after they were found to have a spike protein mutation consistent with one or more coronavirus variants.

Local health officials say they’re concerned about the upcoming holiday weekend, with Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, remarking Thursday that “this is the weekend where we could blow it all.”

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“We want to have a wonderful summer. We want to put this pandemic wave to bed. If we take risks this weekend, it jeopardizes all of that,” he said.

“Yes, get outside. Enjoy the great outdoors. Please do not gather indoors at all. Please do not travel outside of your region.”

A total of 10,812 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 361 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, 329 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 151 in Thames Centre, 72 in Lucan Biddulph, 56 in Southwest Middlesex, 54 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and six in Newbury, and 127 cases have pending location information.

Read more: Pop-ups, social media, mass clinics: Ontarians share their COVID-19 vaccination stories

Hospitalizations

As of Friday, at least 48 COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of LHSC, with 19 in intensive care.

Fewer than five LHSC staff are positive with COVID-19.

The health unit says 10 of the 48 COVID-19 patients in its care are from out of region. Of the 10, six are in intensive care, LHSC says.

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On Wednesday, the province announced that hospitals would be able to resume non-urgent and emergent surgeries and procedures.

The Ford government had directed hospitals to stop performing such procedures on April 20 to maintain capacity amid a disturbing rise in COVID-19 patients being hospitalized.

The provincewide surgical backlog caused by the pandemic is expected to take upwards of three and a half years to clear, according to Ontario’s fiscal watchdog.

Institutional outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, and no previous outbreaks have been resolved. Four are active in the region.

One each is active at Dearness Home (5 East, 5 West), Kensington Village (first-floor long-term care) Kensington Village Retirement (Canterbury) and McGarrell Place (Windermere Way).

Elsewhere, a non-institutional outbreak at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, declared four months ago, remains active.

The jail outbreak, declared active on Jan. 18, has been linked to at least 62 cases among inmates and 43 cases among staff.

As of Wednesday, one inmate case was listed as active at the jail, according to the province.

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Schools

No new school-related cases have been reported.

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Two cases linked to Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School are active. An outbreak has been declared at the school.

Meanwhile, in the local child-care sector, six cases are active involving two facilities.

Five are associated with Simply Kids, which saw an outbreak declared May 12. One case is active associated with Kids & Company – London, the health unit says.

At least 354 of the region’s cases have been linked to schools, and 99 linked to child-care settings.

It remains unclear whether students will return to the classrooms this school year.

“At this time, publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue to operate under teacher-led remote learning,” a provincial release Thursday stated.

“Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and medical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and other health officials will be consulted to determine if it may be safe to resume in-person learning.”

Modelling released by the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table found that reopening schools on June 2 once the stay-at-home order ends could result in a six to 11 per cent increase in cases that “may be manageable,” the group said.

Read more: Woman urges mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for long-term care staff amid outbreak in Ontario

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Vaccinations and testing

Youths 12 years old or older in London and Middlesex are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 a.m. Sunday.

On Thursday, Dr. Chris Mackie said the health unit had been working with school boards to make sure a plan was in place for when immunizations for children began.

Details were set to be released sometime next week. Among them were designated spots at mass vaccination clinics for children and families.

On Friday, the province announced it will resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine but only as a second dose. Those who received their first dose of the vaccine between March 10 and March 19 will be first in line to get their second shot.

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Starting next week, those people could opt to receive the second dose at an earlier 10-week interval. Residents are encouraged to reach out to the pharmacy or primary care setting where they got their first shot.

Several provinces, including Ontario, paused first doses of the vaccine last week over concerns of very rare, potentially fatal blood clots.

With the AstraZeneca shot paused for first-doses, hundreds of Ontario pharmacies have been offering up Pfizer and Moderna shots, however, none are in London-Middlesex.

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 four vaccination clinics. Online appointments are encouraged.

When it comes to second doses, certain high-risk individuals are able to get theirs earlier than the revised 16-week interval. More information can be found on the health unit website.

More than 225,000 doses of vaccine have been given out in the London-Middlesex region, with over 50 per cent of the adult population now having had at least one dose. Another 20 per cent are currently booked to get one over the next month.

Most of the vaccines have been administered through the region’s mass vaccination clinics. Three have been in operation up until now, but a fourth is set to open on Tuesday at Earl Nichols Recreation Centre. The clinic’s first COVID-19 vaccine was administered on Friday.

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Elsewhere, about 400 people are set to be vaccinated at a two-day community mobile clinic May 28-29 at Dorchester’s FlightExec Centre. The clinic is being done as a pilot as the health unit shifts focus away from just mass clinics to a more outreach-based approach.

Those looking for a COVID-19 test can still visit the region’s two main assessment centres.

The assessment centres, located at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, remain open and operating by appointment. Officials with London Health Sciences Centre reported this week they had processed more than one million COVID-19 tests since March 18, 2020.

Small and medium-sized businesses looking to get their hands on free, rapid testing kits can do so as part of StaySafe London, an initiative by the London Chamber of Commerce and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.

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Ontario

Ontario reported 1,691 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 522,465.

Fifteen new deaths were also announced, bringing the provincial death toll to 8,614.

A total of 493,179 cases are considered resolved, which is up by 2,458 and is 94.4 per cent of all confirmed cases.

Read more: Ontario reports nearly 1,700 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths

More than 31,200 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 15,004,716 tests and 9,513 remain under investigation.

There have been 117,941 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the U.K. (up by 1,020), as well as 805 of the B.1.351 variant which was discovered in South Africa (up by 22), and 2,405 cases of the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil (up by 88).

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Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health does not update COVID-19 numbers on weekends. 

As of Friday, the region’s pandemic case total stood at 3,714, of which 3,531 have resolved.

At least 79 deaths have been reported, most recently on Thursday.

At least 102 cases were active, including 40 in Woodstock, 17 in Tillsonburg, and 12 in St. Thomas. Nine people were in hospital with COVID-19, including five in the ICU.

The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stood at 720.

At least 642 have been the B.1.1.7 variant and two have involved the P.1 variant, while two have involved the B.1.351 variant. At least 74 other cases screened positive for a variant-consistent spike protein mutation and are being investigated.

Officials with Southwestern Public Health is offering booking spots to youth aged 12-17 starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, following a similar announcement by the province.

The health unit says bookings won’t take place at Tillsonburg Community Centre, as it only provides Moderna, which has not yet been approved by Health Canada for use in people 12-17.

Read more: Ontario wineries hit hard as COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2nd summer

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More than 90,000 people have gotten at least one dose of vaccine in Elgin-Oxford — roughly 42 per cent.

Earlier this week, eligibility opened to all people aged 18 and older.

Eligible residents are asked to visit the area’s vaccine booking site and are being encouraged to add their name to a same-day vaccination list.

Certain individuals are able to book earlier second doses by phone at 226-289-3560. Details can be found on the health unit website.

Meanwhile, several pharmacies in the region, including in Aylmer, Ingersoll, St. Thomas, Tillsonburg and Woodstock, are offering Pfizer and Moderna shots. Bookings must be made directly with the pharmacies.

No new outbreaks have been reported, and one — located at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital — remains active, linked to 14 resident cases, five staff cases, and one death.

No new school-linked cases have been reported and none are active.

Per-municipality case counts can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at three per cent the week of May 9, unchanged from a week earlier.

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Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health does not update COVID-19 numbers on weekends. 

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As of Friday, the region’s pandemic case total stood at 1,757, of which 1,628 have resolved.

At least 57 virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Thursday.

Seventy-two cases were active in the region, with 19 in South Huron and 18 in Stratford. No one was hospitalized.

The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stood at 226 as of Thursday.

At least 143 involve the B.1.1.7 variant, according to Public Health Ontario. The remaining cases are likely still under genomic analysis, a process that can take up to two weeks.

More than 62,700 people have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Huron-Perth, health officials say.

Read more: Two COVID-19 shots effective against U.K., India variants: study

Eligibility opened to all adults on Tuesday, and the health unit says it’s working with school boards and private schools in immunizing youth aged 12 to 17 and their eligible family members.

They’ll see direct communication from school boards and schools with exclusive booking links, and will have priority access to appointments for the weeks of June 14 and 21, officials said.

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Appointment spots for the health unit’s main scheduled clinics are booked through until at least June 19, however, slots remained open late Friday morning for two Moderna-only clinics that were announced on Thursday, set to run on June 3 and 7 in Goderich and Stratford.

Those looking to book an appointment when appointments are available are asked to do so via the local booking system or by calling 1-833-753-2098. Earlier second doses of vaccine are being offered to certain individuals. More information can be found on the health unit’s website.

No local pharmacies are offering vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, however health officials anticipate a number will begin offering them shortly.

One new school-linked case has been reported involving Precious Blood Catholic Elementary School. No school exposure was reported.

Eleven other cases are active involving schools in the region, none due to school exposure. Full lists can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

One institutional outbreak is active, located at Goderich Place, a retirement home, and linked to one resident case and one staff case.

Elsewhere, four outbreaks are active involving unnamed workplaces, while one each is active in the community and at a congregate living setting.

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Case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit dashboard.

The region’s most recent test positivity rate, from the week of May 9, was 3.3 per cent, up from 3.1 per cent a week earlier.

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Sarnia and Lambton

Lambton Public Health reported a new COVID-19-related death, four new cases and seven recoveries on Sunday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,455, of which 3,332 have resolved.

At least 60 virus-related deaths have been reported. The health unit says the most recent death involves someone over the age of 80.

Sixty-four cases are active in the county. Bluewater Health reported eight COVID-19 patients in their care as of Sunday.

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

A total of 542 variant cases have been reported in the region.

Public Health Ontario data shows 381 cases involve the B.1.1.7 variant, while four cases have been confirmed to be the P.1 variant. The remaining cases are under genomic sequencing.

Health officials say at least 50 per cent of eligible people in Lambton have gotten at least one vaccine dose.

All adults are currently eligible, and health officials have also expanded eligibility to include all youth aged 12 and older at its Point Edward Arena clinic.

Read more: Canada’s 50% vaccinated milestone boosts optimism to keep going, experts say

Eligible residents are being encouraged to book appointments through the health unit’s website. People with questions can contact the health unit’s call centre at 226-254-8222.

The health unit says it will also be inviting residents to book second doses soon, with invitations sent directly as clinic availability opens.

No new outbreaks have been declared. Three are active.

One is active at Bluewater Health hospital, tied to four patient and five staff cases, while one is active at Afton Park Place, linked to two resident and 10 staff cases and one death.

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A workplace outbreak is also active, linked to seven cases.

The region’s positivity rate was 2.2 per cent the week of May 9, up from two per cent the week before.

— With files from Global News’ Matthew Trevithick and Ryan Rocca

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