Twenty-two new COVID-19 cases have been reported in London-Middlesex, local health officials said Wednesday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 12,383, of which 12,059 have resolved, an increase of 12 from the day before. At least 221 virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Saturday.
Wednesday’s case increase comes after two straight days of single-digit updates. Eight cases were reported on Tuesday and three on Monday, the lowest since mid-February.
The region has had seven days in a row of fewer than 30 daily cases, with five at fewer than 20.
At least 103 cases are currently active in the region, the health unit says. At least 135 cases have been reported since the start of the month, compared with 694 in the first eight days of May.
The rolling seven-day case average for London-Middlesex (June 2 to June 8) is 14, compared with 29 the seven days previous.
The region’s test positivity rate stands at 2.1 per cent as of the week of May 30 based on 5,363 tests, down from 3.3 per cent the week prior based on 6,111 tests.
Of the 22 new cases, all are from London, health unit data shows.
Six involve people aged 19 or younger; eight are in their 20s; one is in their 30s; four are in their 40s; and one each are in their 50s, 60s and 70s.
Close contact is listed as the exposure source for nine cases, while seven cases are pending or have undetermined data, and six have no known link.
The number of variant cases in the region stands at 3,180. The Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first identified in the U.K., accounts for the vast majority of them — 3,092.
At least 82 cases have been confirmed to involve the Gamma variant (P.1), first identified in Brazil. One case has also been confirmed to involve the Zeta, or P.2 variant — the other lineage identified in Brazil in October 2020.
Three cases have been confirmed to involve the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India. One is listed as being the Delta sub-lineage (B.1.617.2) and one the Kappa sub-lineage (B.1.617.1).
Two cases have been confirmed to involve the Beta variant (B.1.351), first identified in South Africa.
At least 352 other cases were found to have a spike protein mutation consistent with one or more coronavirus variants. An undetermined number are currently under investigation.
Ontario is set to start its economic reopening on Friday, loosening restrictions on businesses and outdoor activities.
A total of 11,203 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 360 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, 333 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 155 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 16 COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday, a decrease of four from the day before.
At least seven of them are in the ICU, a decrease of two from the day before.
LHSC says fewer than five patients in acute care, and fewer than five patients in ICU, are from out of region. Fewer than five staff members are currently positive with COVID-19.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, no COVID-19 patients were reported in their care at St. Joseph’s Hospital. No staff cases are active within SJHCL.
One case was listed as active involving a resident of Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care. The health unit has not declared an outbreak there.
A total of 651 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in London-Middlesex during the pandemic, including 111 who have needed intensive care, the health unit says.
No new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none are currently active, the health unit says.
Health unit data shows that 852 cases and 109 deaths have been reported during the pandemic at local long-term care and retirement homes.
Health unit officials say the outbreak at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre is no longer active.
The outbreak was first declared on Jan. 18 and had been linked to cases involving at least 62 inmates and 43 staff members.
No new school-related cases have been reported.
No school-related outbreaks are active either, the health unit says.
Students are set to remain in remote learning until the end of the current school year.
The Thames Valley District School Board says it will go ahead with virtual graduation ceremonies this month for Grade 9 and 12 students.
It remains unclear whether the school board will do any in-person outdoor recognitions. Last week, the board said it was looking into the possibility, pending details from the province.
Meanwhile, there are no active cases tied to the local child care sector. No outbreaks are active.
Vaccinations and Testing
The health unit says it will hold a one-day walk-in vaccination clinic Thursday at its offices in Citi Plaza for members of the community who are unhoused, under-housed or aren’t able to get to mass vaccination clinics.
The clinic will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The health unit says a limited number of doses will be available at the clinic.
Thursday will also mark the start of eligibility for people aged 70 and older to re-book an earlier second dose of the vaccine.
People who received their first vaccine before April 18 will also be able to re-book their second dose, the health unit says. The date-based eligibility applies to people of any age, regardless of where they received their first dose.
Certain individuals under the age of 80 have also been able to rebook their second dose.
“Anyone who used the same email address or cell phone number to book a first dose appointment for more than one person will need to call the Appointment Booking Phone Line at 226-289-3560 to re-book a new second dose appointment,” health officials said in a release on Monday.
“Second dose appointments cannot be re-booked online when the same contact information was used to book multiple appointments.”
First dose eligibility currently includes all residents aged 12 and up, with those aged 12 to 18 able to get the Pfizer vaccine only.
Residents looking for a first dose are asked to visit the local vaccine booking website or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment. Online appointments are encouraged. Four mass vaccination clinics are currently operational in the region.
A number of local pharmacies are also continuing to offer doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The pharmacies shifted to the mRNA vaccines after first doses of AstraZeneca were paused by the province due to concerns of a potential link to a rare but serious blood clotting syndrome known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).
Residents who received AstraZeneca first can choose to have their second dose be either that vaccine or one of the two mRNA vaccines.
The health unit says those who got AstraZeneca in another setting or region and need to book a second dose in the next four weeks can do so through the aforementioned online booking portal. That includes people who received AstraZeneca first and would like an mRNA as their second dose, and those who got their first dose outside of London-Middlesex or Ontario, they said.
People who want their second dose to be AstraZeneca are asked to contact the pharmacy or primary care setting where they got their initial shot.
Testing continues at several locations in the region.
Ontario reported 411 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday as well as 33 more deaths linked to the virus.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says that 11 of the newly reported deaths occurred in April and May.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 97 new cases in Toronto, 72 in Peel Region and 35 in Waterloo.
She said there were also 26 new cases in York Region and 25 in Hamilton.
The data was based on nearly 30,500 completed tests.
The Ministry of Health said 571 people were hospitalized with the virus — 466 are in intensive care and 314 are on a ventilator.
Ontario said 177,506 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine had been administered since Tuesday’s report, for a total of more than 10.4 million.
Elgin and Oxford
Four new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Elgin-Oxford.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,820, of which 3,718 have resolved, an increase of nine from the day before. A total of 83 virus-related deaths have been reported so far during the pandemic, most recently on Tuesday involving a woman in her 70s from Oxford County.
At least 19 cases are active in the region, the health unit says, including 12 in Woodstock. No people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
No updated numbers on variant cases were available Wednesday. The health unit said on Tuesday that it was reviewing data to ensure its accuracy following a change in lab processes.
As of Monday, the total figure stood at 807 — 721 involving the Alpha variant, 10 being the Gamma variant, and one confirmed to involve the Beta variant.
Seventy-five other cases screened positive for a variant-consistent spike protein mutation. An unspecified number were currently undergoing genomic analysis.
The local vaccination campaign rolls on, with people aged 80 and older, or born in 1941 or earlier, able to rebook an earlier second dose.
It’s expected eligibility will open to people 70-plus on June 14, but health officials say the date may come earlier.
People 80 and older can reschedule their second appointment via the online booking portal, or by phone at 1-800-922-0096 ext. 9.
Other certain individuals under 80 are also able to book earlier second doses by phone at 226-289-3560.
For first doses, people aged 12 and older are eligible, with youth able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
Several pharmacies in the region are also offering Pfizer and Moderna shots. Bookings must be made directly with the pharmacies.
No new school-related cases have been reported and none are active, according to local school boards.
As well, no new institutional outbreaks have been declared and none are active, the health unit says.
Per-municipality case counts can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
The region’s test positivity rate stood at 0.8 per cent as of the week of May 30, down from 2.2 per cent the week before.
Huron and Perth
Two new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Huron-Perth, with one in Huron East and one in Stratford.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 1,843, of which 1,766 have resolved, an increase of six from the day before. Fifty-seven virus-related deaths have been reported so far, most recently on May 20.
The health unit says 20 cases are currently active in the region, down from 31 on Tuesday, including seven in Huron East. One person is currently hospitalized.
The number of variant cases and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant stands at 288. At least seven are active, down from 12 the previous day.
At least 153 cases involve the Alpha variant, according to Public Health Ontario, while four involve the Gamma variant. The remaining cases are likely still under genomic analysis.
People who received an mRNA vaccine who are aged 70 and older, or who got their first vaccine dose on or before April 18, can now book a second dose appointment at a shortened interval.
Certain individuals younger than 80 are also able to book earlier second doses.
Groups eligible for a shortened second dose interval may also book their appointment through a participating pharmacy, the health unit said.
Information on how to book first and second doses can be found on the health unit’s website. Eligibility for first doses remains 12 and older. Youth are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
More than 82,544 Huron County residents have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or roughly 67.9 per cent of eligible people.
No new school-related cases have been reported. Seven are currently active. Information can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.
None of the cases are due to school exposure.
One institutional outbreak is currently active involving Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East, tied to two staff cases. Elsewhere, three outbreaks are also active at unnamed workplaces in the region.
Case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit dashboard.
The region’s test positivity rate was 0.9 per cent as of the week of May 30, down from 1.8 per cent the week before.
Sarnia and Lambton
Six new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Lambton County.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 3,532, of which 3,440 have resolved, an increase of two from the day before. Sixty-one virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Wednesday.
Thirty-one cases are active in the region. Five COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of Bluewater Health, the same as the day before.
The region’s variant case count stood at 565 as of May 27. An updated tally was still not available Tuesday due to ongoing network issues at the health unit.
Public Health Ontario data shows 405 cases involve the Alpha variant, while 17 cases have been confirmed to be the Gamma variant. The remaining cases are believed to be under genomic sequencing.
The region’s vaccine rollout continues, with people aged 70 and older eligible to re-book an earlier second dose appointment.
People who received their first dose on or before April 18 are also able to re-book.
Residents who also got a first dose of AstraZeneca within that same time period, or who are 70 and older, may also book a second dose with the same vaccine or with Pfizer or Moderna, the health unit says.
Individuals will be contacted via email or phone to schedule an appointment. Those not contacted are asked to call the health unit at 226-254-8222 or use the Contact Us page.
Other certain individuals have been able to book earlier second doses.
First doses are continuing for all people aged 12 and older. Eligible residents can book appointments through the health unit’s website, and people with questions can contact the health unit’s call centre at 226-254-8222.
Some pharmacies are also continuing to offer Pfizer or Moderna shots. Residents are asked to book spots with the pharmacies themselves.
No outbreaks are currently active in the region.
No information is available on school-related cases. The region’s main school boards have paused public reporting during remote learning.
The region’s positivity rate was 1.4 per cent the week of May 30, about the same as a week earlier.
— With files from The Canadian PressView link »