The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported one new COVID-19-related death along with 35 cases on Saturday.
This brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 12,192 — an increase of 50 from the day before — of which 11,613 have resolved.
At least 219 deaths have been reported to date. The MLHU says Saturday’s death involves a man in his 50s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home.
The health unit says at least 360 cases are active in the region.
London-Middlesex has recorded more than 1,703 cases this month along with 19 deaths, three of which have involved people under the age of 50, including an 18-year-old.
The rolling seven-day case average for London-Middlesex (May 21-27) is 38, down from 56 the seven days previous. A month ago (April 21-27), the average was 99.
Of the 35 new cases reported Saturday, 34 are from London while one is from elsewhere in Middlesex County.
In terms of age, 12 cases are among people who are 19 or younger; six are in their 20s; six are in their 30s; five are in their 40s, four are in their 50s and two are in their 60s. No cases involve people 70 or older.
The number of variant cases in the region stands at 2,968, an increase of eight from the day before.
Three cases involve the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., while five involve the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil.
The B.1.1.7 variant accounts for the vast majority of the region’s variant cases — 2,916.
At least 49 cases have been confirmed to involve P.1, and two have been confirmed to involve the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India. (Of those, one has been identified as being the sub-lineage B.1.617.2).
Meanwhile, one case, reported Thursday, has been confirmed to involve the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa.
Variant cases have accounted for more than 80 per cent of cases every week this month, health unit data shows.
Meanwhile, at least 409 other cases were found to have a spike protein mutation consistent with one or more coronavirus variants. An undetermined number are currently under investigation.
A total of 11,015 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began while 361 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, 330 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 154 in Thames Centre, 72 in Lucan Biddulph, 58 in North Middlesex, 54 in Southwest Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and six in Newbury. At least 127 cases have pending location information.
At least 33 COVID-19 patients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Friday.
Of those, 10 were in intensive care.
Fewer than five COVID-19 patients from out of region are receiving acute care, and fewer than five are in ICU.
Though that tally has decreased, LHSC officials say they have begun to accept patients from hard-hit Manitoba.
The organization is currently tending to fewer than five patients from Manitoba, and say a small number of transfers are expected from the province in the coming days and weeks.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, no COVID-19 patients were reported in their care at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Three staff cases are active within SJHCL as of Tuesday.
The health unit says at least 638 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 108 who have needed intensive care.
The outbreak at McGarrell Place (Windermere Way) has been deemed over. It was declared active on May 11.
The health unit says two outbreaks remain active, both involving seniors’ facilities.
Outbreaks are active at Kensington Village (first-floor long-term care) and Kensington Village Retirement (Canterbury).
At least 851 cases and 109 deaths have been reported during the pandemic at local long-term care and retirement homes.
Meanwhile, a months-long outbreak at the city’s jail remains active, however, no inmate cases are currently listed there.
The outbreak at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, declared on Jan. 18, has been linked to cases involving at least 62 inmates and 43 staff.
No new school cases have been reported and none are currently active, according to the health unit.
An outbreak declaration is still active at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School. One active case had been reported at the school up until Friday.
At least 354 cases have been reported involving local elementary and secondary schools during the pandemic, according to the health unit.
Whether students will return to the classrooms by the end of next month remains an open question.
Meanwhile, at least six cases are active in the region’s child-care sector involving two facilities.
Four are linked to Simply Kids. An active outbreak declaration has been in place since May 12.
Elsewhere, two cases are active involving Kidorable Child Care Centre – Jim Ashton.
At least 105 cases have been reported during the pandemic involving child care and early-years settings.
In post-secondary, no outbreaks are currently active.
Western University students will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to live on campus, university officials announced Thursday.
At least eight student residence outbreaks on Western’s campus in late March and early April were linked to nearly 200 cases.
Vaccinations and Testing
A majority of Ontarians aged 80 and older will be able to begin booking second dose appointments starting next week.
However local health officials say they have signaled they are still trying to get first doses to all of those who are currently eligible and are determining a plan of action to respond to the province’s accelerated rollout.
“We have to see, really, how the weekend goes with regards to when we’ll be able to allow those over the age of 80 to try and rebook a little bit sooner,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, in an interview Friday with 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady.
“It’s going to be sooner than later that we’ll be able to offer that here as well.”
The province announced Friday that it would be shortening the interval between COVID-19 doses, starting with people aged 80 and older as of May 31.
Shortening intervals between doses is part of the province’s plan to fully vaccinate all willing adults by the end of the summer.
The province says the shortened interval could be as small as 28 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the coming months, depending on supply.
Ontario has been administering COVID-19 shots four months apart with some exceptions. (Certain individuals have been able to get theirs earlier than the revised 16-week interval.)
Summers noted that other areas are in a better position to start rolling out second doses to the 80-plus crowd due to better vaccine supply.
“The Middlesex-London region was not identified as a hot spot during the early stages of the vaccine rollout, which means that we got less vaccine per capita at the start,” he said.
“We’re now getting the per-capita amount of vaccine we would anticipate, but it still means that there are other regions that are ahead of us. It’s those regions where they’re really well-positioned to start moving for those 80-year-olds. We’re not quite there yet in the same way.”
Summers notes that even once the health unit begins rebooking people aged 80-plus for second doses, locals may find that their appointments aren’t as soon as they may have hoped.
“We’re still providing first doses to people … well into June. So it’s not going to be the opportunity to move that much further forward, but we’ll see where we’re at when the time comes,” he said.
All people aged 12 and older are currently eligible to get the vaccine, with youth able to get the Pfizer shot.
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.
A number of local pharmacies are also offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
On Thursday, Mackie noted that London-Middlesex would soon surpass the 60 per cent mark when it came to adults in the region who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Four mass vaccination clinics are in operation in the region, vaccinating roughly 3,200 people per day, about half of the maximum potential capacity. The most recent clinic opened Tuesday at Earl Nichols Recreation Centre.
For those who have only gotten their first shot, Mackie says people “should continue to act as if they’re unvaccinated,” when it comes to gatherings and other activities.
He noted that the region has good, but not excellent, vaccination coverage, and that COVID-19 continues to circulate within the community, largely as a result of more contagious variants which have comprised at least 80 per cent of the region’s caseload over the last several weeks.
“The vaccine isn’t perfect and if you end up taking actions or changing your behaviour in a way that puts you at higher risk and a lot more contacts, then you’re going to potentially reverse the benefit that the vaccine has created at least from the first dose.”
When it comes to AstraZeneca, first doses remain paused.
The province said Friday that those who got a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered a second dose after 12 weeks of their initial shot using a “first-in, first-out” method where supply allows.
It was noted, however, that it could be a different vaccine depending on awaited federal guidance. A recent U.K. study found giving second doses of AstraZeneca vaccine at 12 weeks or later was more effective against COVID-19 than taking shots six weeks apart.
Earlier this week, the province began offering second shots of AstraZeneca at a 10-week dosing interval to the first batch of AstraZeneca recipients.
Ontarians who received the vaccine between March 10 and March 19 at pharmacies in Kingston, Windsor and Toronto, and in primary care settings in Hamilton, Peterborough, Guelph, Muskoka, Peel, and Toronto were able to book the second doses.
Ontario paused first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month after saying it was linked to an increased risk of a rare but serious blood clotting disorder.
Since then, hundreds of Ontario pharmacies have begun offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, including in London-Middlesex.
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 still do so as part of the StaySafe London initiative.
Ontario reported 1,057 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. The provincial total now stands at 529,510.
Saturday’s case count is lower than Friday’s count of 1,273 new infections. On Thursday, 1,135 were recorded and there were 1,095 on Wednesday.
According to Saturday’s report, 228 cases were recorded in Toronto, 178 in Peel Region, 64 in Ottawa, 71 in Hamilton and 82 in York Region.
All other local public health units reported fewer than 60 new cases in the provincial report.
The death toll in the province has risen to 8,726 as 15 more deaths were recorded.
As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 8,839,445 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. That marks an increase of 148,972 vaccines in the last day. There are more than 650,000 people fully vaccinated with two doses.
Elgin and Oxford
Elgin Oxford does not update cases on the weekend.
Four new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Elgin-Oxford Friday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,765, of which 3,623 have resolved, an increase of 16 from the day before. At least 80 deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.
At least 62 cases are currently active in the region, including 17 in Woodstock, 10 in Tillsonburg and nine in St. Thomas. At least five people are currently hospitalized, with one in the ICU.
The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stands at 767 — six more than the day before.
At least 686 have been the B.1.1.7 variant, and three have involved the P.1 variant, one more than the day before. One case has been confirmed to involve the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa.
At least 77 other cases screened positive for a variant-consistent spike protein mutation and are being investigated.
People aged 80 and older will be eligible to book a second shot next week, officials with Southwestern Public Health confirmed on Friday.
However, due to the low supply of the vaccine, appointments are limited, a spokesperson says, noting that most spots have been fully booked over the next several weeks.
“We encourage people who are already booked for June to keep their existing appointment,” said SWPH’s Megan Cornwell via email.
“More information will be available next week for people who are booked farther out.”
It comes after the province announced Friday that it would be shortening the interval between COVID-19 doses, starting with people 80 and older as of May 31.
Certain individuals are able to book earlier second doses ahead of May 31 by phone at 226-289-3560.
People aged 12 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. Youth are only able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, however, meaning they are unable to get vaccinated at the Tillsonburg clinic as it only offers Moderna.
Several pharmacies in the region are also offering Pfizer and Moderna shots. Bookings must be made directly with the pharmacies.
No new outbreaks have been reported.
An outbreak at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital remains active. Declared on May 5, it’s been tied to 14 resident cases, five staff cases, and three deaths.
Meanwhile, no new school-linked cases have been reported and none are active, according to the local school boards.
Per-municipality case counts can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
The region’s test positivity rate stood at 2.9 per cent the week of May 16, virtually unchanged from the three per cent a week earlier.
Huron and Perth
Huron Perth does not update cases on the weekend.
Nine new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Huron-Perth Friday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 1,789, of which 1,691 have resolved, an increase of four from the day before. At least 57 deaths have been reported, most recently on May 20.
According to the health unit, 41 cases are active, including seven each in Huron East and Perth East. No people are currently in hospital with COVID-19.
The number of variant cases, and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant, stood at 254 as of Friday — eight more than the day before.
At least 151 involve the B.1.1.7 variant, according to Public Health Ontario, while two involve the P.1 variant. The remaining cases are likely still under genomic analysis.
People 80 and older will be able to book their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week, officials with Huron Perth Public Health say.
It comes after the province announced Friday that it would be shortening the interval between COVID-19 doses, starting with people 80 and older as of May 31.
Certain individuals are currently able to book earlier second doses already. As of Friday, the health unit was booking appointments for clinics running the weeks of June 14 to July 3.
Reminder emails have been sent out to people due for their second dose, however, people who have not gotten an email are asked to contact 1-833-753-2098.
All people aged 12 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. Youth are currently only able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
In an update earlier this week, health officials said youth and their eligible family members were being given priority access to bookings at vaccination clinics the weeks of June 14 and 21, with links sent to parents and guardians from their child’s school or school board.
Others looking to book an appointment are asked to do so via the local booking system or by calling 1-833-753-2098.
Several regional pharmacies are also offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine as part of a provincial initiative.
More than 70,756 Huron County residents have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or roughly 58 per cent of eligible people.
No new school-related cases have been reported. Six are active, none due to school exposure.
One institutional outbreak remains active, located at Goderich Place. At least one resident and one staff member are positive with COVID-19, the same as the day before.
Elsewhere, six outbreaks are active at unnamed workplaces. No other details have been released.
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 16, was 2.2 per cent, down from 3.3 a week earlier.
Sarnia and Lambton
Five new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Lambton County Saturday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,481, of which 3,383 have resolved, an increase of six from the day before. At least 60 deaths have been reported, most recently on Sunday.
At least 38 cases are active in the region. Bluewater Health reported five COVID-19 patients in their care Friday, unchanged from a day earlier.
Lambton Public Health does not update detailed information on the weekend. The following information was last updated Friday.
The region’s variant case count stood at 565 as of Thursday. Public Health Ontario data shows 399 cases involved the B.1.1.7 variant, while 13 cases have been confirmed to be the P.1 variant. The remaining cases are under genomic sequencing.
All people aged 12 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. Currently, youth are only able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. In Lambton, they can get the vaccine at the Point Edward Arena clinic.
Eligible residents can book appointments through the health unit’s website. People with questions can contact the health unit’s call centre at 226-254-8222.
The province announced Friday that shortened second dose intervals will be offered to those aged 80 and older next week, followed by those 70 and older in mid-June.
No information was immediately available from Lambton Public Health, however, the health unit utilizes the province’s booking system for its immunization program.
The onus to book earlier second doses rests with individuals, with no provincial plan to contact recipients directly to move up appointments. Residents will keep their original second-dose appointments — four months from the first — if they don’t book an earlier shot.
Certain individuals are able to book earlier second doses before May 31.
Those who got a first shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered a second dose after 12 weeks, though it could be a different vaccine depending on awaited federal guidance.
Meanwhile, some pharmacies are currently offering Pfizer or Moderna shots according to the health unit. Residents are asked to book spots with the pharmacies themselves.
The health unit says that more than 68,700 doses have been administered in Lambton.
No new outbreaks have been declared. Two outbreaks remain active.
One is located at Afton Park Place, a long-term care home, linked with at least two resident and 10 staff cases and one death. Elsewhere, a workplace outbreak is active linked with at least seven cases.
The region’s positivity rate was 1.8 per cent the week of May 16, down from 2.2 per cent a week earlier.
— With files from Matthew Trevithick, Jessica Patton and The Canadian Press