Twenty-six new COVID-19 cases have been reported in London-Middlesex, local health officials said on Wednesday.
They bring the region’s pandemic case total to 12,475, of which 12,137 have resolved. A total of 223 virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.
At least 115 cases are active in the region, the health unit says. Some 229 cases have been recorded since the start of the month.
The rolling seven-day case average for London-Middlesex (June 9 to 15) stands at 13.8, while the test positivity rate sits at 1.4 per cent as of the week of June 6, down from 2.1 the week before.
The number of variant cases in the region stands at 3,383.
The health unit says the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first identified in the U.K., has accounted for nearly all of them — 3,294.
Eighty-two 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.
Four cases have been confirmed to involve the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India. Two are listed as being the Delta sub-lineage (B.1.617.2) and one the Kappa sub-lineage (B.1.617.1).
Meanwhile, two cases have been confirmed to involve the Beta variant (B.1.351), first identified in South Africa.
Variants account for the vast majority of the cases seen in the region in recent weeks. At least 77 per cent of cases last week involved variants.
A total of 11,292 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 360 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, 334 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 155 in Thames Centre, 72 in Lucan Biddulph, 58 in Southwest Middlesex, 55 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and six in Newbury, while 128 cases have pending location information.
Nineteen COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Tuesday, unchanged from Tuesday.
At least 10 are in the intensive care unit, the same as the day before.
Fewer than five COVID-19 patients in acute care, and fewer than five in the ICU, are from out of region. No staff at LHSC are currently positive for COVID-19.
The organization is continuing to deal with an outbreak at University Hospital, declared Sunday, in 8TU – Transplant Unit that has been linked to an undetermined variant.
The organization has limited visitors to the hospital’s eighth floor as a precaution, and says it’s anticipating that the outbreak may impact recovery efforts and surgical volumes this week.
As of this week, 11 of 15 operating rooms at University Hospital and 14 of 17 at Victoria Hospital are online, and current occupancy is just above 90 per cent.
Meanwhile, at St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the organization reported no COVID-19 patients in its care at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
There are three non-outbreak cases involving staff, and one outbreak-related case involving a resident at Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care.
No new outbreaks have been reported.
One outbreak remains active at University Hospital, declared Sunday in the hospital’s 8TU – Transplant Unit. Fewer than five patient cases and fewer than five staff cases are linked to the outbreak.
LHSC officials say they have limited visitors to the eighth floor of the hospital, and are anticipating that the outbreak may impact surgical volumes over the coming days.
No outbreaks are currently active at any long-term care or retirement home, the health unit says.
Health unit data shows that 853 cases and 109 virus-related deaths have been reported during the pandemic at local long-term care and retirement homes.
No new school-related cases have been reported and none are currently active.
No school-related outbreaks are active either, the health unit says.
Students are staying in remote learning until the end of the school year.
Vaccinations and testing
As of this morning, residents who received their first vaccine dose on or before May 9 are able to re-book their second-dose appointment.
Health officials are anticipating the arrival of some 17,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week on top of the normal weekly Pfizer allotment of 25,000 doses.
People over 70 and certain individuals are also eligible to re-book a second dose regardless of their first dose date.
National health officials have authorized the use of either Pfizer or Moderna as second doses when either mRNA vaccine, or the AstraZeneca shot, was given as the first, the health unit says. The province says second doses for AstraZeneca recipients are being given out at an eight- to 12-week interval.
“The Medical Officer of Health is strongly endorsing use of any available mRNA vaccine for second doses. Clinics will provide the same vaccine as the first dose, if it is available. If it isn’t available, another vaccine will be provided,” the health unit said in a release Wednesday.
The influx of vaccines will also allow the health unit to ramp up daily immunizations to 6,000 from 4,000 starting next week.
Details on how to re-book a second dose, and details on how to book a first, can be found on the health unit’s website or by calling 226-289-3560. A number of local pharmacies are also offering doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but bookings must be made through the pharmacies themselves.
Those looking to get a COVID-19 test have several options.
Ontario is reporting 384 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 12 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 71 new cases in Waterloo, 60 in Peel Region and 54 in Toronto.
She says there are also 23 new cases in Middlesex-London and 21 in Ottawa.
Wednesday’s data is based on nearly 28,100 completed tests.
The Ministry of Health says 438 people are in hospital with the novel coronavirus — 377 in intensive care and 242 on a ventilator.
Premier Doug Ford says Ontario administered a record high of 202,984 vaccine doses since Tuesday’s report, for a total of more than 11.7 million doses given out so far.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba fully reopened Wednesday, as a provincial order restricting interprovincial travel expired at midnight.
The regulation was introduced in April as Ontario battled a third wave of COVID-19. It applied to land and water borders.
Travel between the regions was limited to essential reasons such as health care, custody or compassionate grounds like attending a funeral. It also allowed law enforcement to stop and question people about their reasons for entering Ontario.
Elgin and Oxford
Five new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Elgin-Oxford.
They bring the region’s pandemic case total to 3,843, of which 3,734 have resolved, an increase of two from the day before. Eighty-three virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.
Twenty-six cases are active, including 12 in Woodstock and seven in St. Thomas. Two people from Elgin-Oxford are hospitalized with COVID-19, neither in the ICU.
The number of variant cases in the region stands at 781, according to data from the health unit.
Of the variant cases, 733 involve the Alpha variant (previously B.1.1.7), while 47 involve either the Beta (B.1.351) or Gamma (P.1) variants, and one the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.
The health unit says the combined Beta/Gamma tally is because “based on the mutation screening results alone, we cannot differentiate between Beta and Gamma variants, so they have been combined into one category.”
Positive case samples undergo initial screening for spike protein mutations consistent with one or more variants, and then undergo genomic analysis to confirm the exact variant involved. Some variants share the same mutations.
In the case of Alpha, however, it has only been associated with one specific mutation, N501Y. When a case is found to be positive during initial screening for just N501Y, it is presumed to be Alpha and does not undergo further analysis.
“There is currently no screening tool available for the Delta variant, so we are only able to report confirmed Delta variant cases,” the health unit says.
As of Tuesday, all residents who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9 can re-book an earlier second dose.
Those 18 and older who received either mRNA vaccine — Pfizer or Moderna — as their first dose can take either as their second. People who received AstraZeneca can choose any of the three, provided they are eligible under the eight-week interval.
First doses are also continuing for residents aged 12 and older. Youth are eligible only for the Pfizer shot.
Eligible residents are asked to visit the area’s vaccine booking site to make a first-dose appointment. The health unit is also still encouraging people to add their names to a same-day vaccination list.
Several pharmacies in the region are also continuing to offer Pfizer and Moderna shots. Bookings must be made directly with the pharmacies.
There have been no changes when it comes to schools and institutional outbreaks. No school-related cases and no such outbreaks are active.
Per-municipality case counts can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
The region’s test positivity rate stood at 0.9 per cent as of the week of June 6, virtually unchanged from the week before.
Huron and Perth
Five new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Huron-Perth.
They bring the region’s pandemic case total to 1,867, of which 1,789 have resolved, an increase of six from the day before. Fifty-seven virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on May 20.
Twenty-one cases are active in the region and one person is hospitalized with COVID-19.
The number of variant cases and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant stands at 2978. Five are active.
At least 153 cases involve the Alpha variant, according to Public Health Ontario, while five involve the Gamma variant. The remaining cases are likely still under genomic analysis.
Anyone who received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on or before May 9 can now re-book their second appointment.
It comes amid a large shipment of Moderna doses expected to arrive in the region in the next few weeks. Other certain individuals are also able to re-book an earlier second dose.
Health officials say those 18 and older whose first dose was Pfizer can have Moderna or Pfizer as their second.
Those who had AstraZeneca as their first shot can choose it or Moderna or Pfizer as the second dose. For AstraZeneca, the interval between first and second doses is eight weeks.
The health unit says those looking for an mRNA vaccine as their second dose can book an appointment at a vaccination clinic, while for AstraZeneca, appointments should be made through a pharmacy or primary care provider who has that vaccine.
More information on second dose re-bookings can be found on the health unit website.
For first doses, people aged 12 and older are eligible, with youth able to get the Pfizer shot. More information can be found on the health unit’s website.
More than 88,134 people have gotten at least one dose, or about 72.5 per cent of Huron-Perth residents, as of June 14.
No new school-related cases have been reported. Five are active, none due to school exposure.
No new outbreaks have been declared. One remains active at Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East involving three staff members.
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. Updated numbers are expected this week.
Sarnia and Lambton
Three new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Lambton County.
They bring the region’s pandemic case total to 3,552, of which 3,466 have resolved, four more than the day before. Sixty-two virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.
At least 24 cases are currently active. Six COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at Bluewater Health, one more than the day before.
The region’s variant case tally stands at 620, the health unit says, the same as the day before.
Public Health Ontario reports that 405 cases involve the Alpha variant, while 17 cases have been confirmed to be the Gamma variant. The status of the remaining cases is unclear.
In Lambton County, all people 65 and older, and people of all eligible ages who received their first dose on or before May 5, can now re-book their second dose for an earlier interval.
Residents who got the AstraZeneca shot, and who meet the aforementioned criteria, may also book a second dose appointment for an mRNA vaccine, the health unit says.
Those eligible are asked to book their second-dose appointments using the health unit’s registration page. If clinics are booked up, check back often, officials say.
People can also call the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222. Call volumes are very high.
“This week, the region is expected to deliver 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to residents via fixed site clinics, pharmacies, primary care and the mobile immunization team. A new milestone for Lambton County!” the health unit said Wednesday.
“The mobile immunization team also continues to work diligently to protect the community having visited 175 homebound patients and 50 group homes to date. They’re currently developing a schedule to circle back to those individuals for second doses. The mobile team is also supporting the three First Nations communities in their vaccine delivery efforts.”
First doses, meanwhile, are ongoing for all residents aged 12 and older, with youth able to get the Pfizer shot. Eligible residents can book appointments through the health unit’s website.
Some pharmacies are also continuing to offer Pfizer or Moderna shots.
The health unit says more than 98,647 doses of vaccine have been administered to Lambton residents, meaning about 71 per cent of adults and 16 per cent of youth have gotten at least one dose.
No new outbreaks have been declared. One is active, located at Bkejwanong Children’s Centre.
The outbreak, declared Sunday, is linked to at least three cases, the health unit says. It’s the only active outbreak in Lambton.
The region’s main school boards have paused public reporting during remote learning, so no new data has been available for school-related cases.
The region’s positivity rate was 1.4 per cent the week of May 30, about the same as a week earlier. Updated numbers are expected this week.
— With files from The Canadian PressView link »