Ten new cases and no new COVID-19-related deaths were reported in London-Middlesex by health officials Wednesday.
It brings the region’s pandemic case total to 12,519, of which 12,237 have resolved, an increase of 11 from the day before.
At least 224 local people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died during the pandemic. The most recent death, reported Tuesday, involved a man in his 70s, officials said.
At least 58 cases are currently active, the health unit says.
So far this month, 272 cases have been reported in London-Middlesex, according to the health unit.
The rolling seven-day case average for London-Middlesex (June 15-21) stands at 8.8 while the test positivity rate sits at 1.4 per cent as of the week of June 6.
The number of variant cases in the region stands at 3,439, up nine from the day before.
The health unit says the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first identified in the U.K., has accounted for nearly all of them — 3,342.
Eighty-six 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. Six are listed as being the Delta sub-lineage (B.1.617.2) and one the Kappa sub-lineage (B.1.617.1).
Associate medical officer of health Dr. Alex Summers said Thursday the Delta variant “out-competes all other variants to date” and is expected to soon become the dominant strain in the region.
This new development means the health unit is in the process of expanding eligibility for re-booking second doses for COVID-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, two cases have been confirmed to involve the Beta variant (B.1.351), first identified in South Africa.
A total of 11,333 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in London since the pandemic began, while 360 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, 335 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 158 in Thames Centre, 73 in Lucan Biddulph, 58 in Southwest Middlesex, 55 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and six in Newbury, while 126 cases have pending location information.
At least 10 COVID-19 patients are listed as being in the care of London Health Sciences Centre as of Wednesday with fewer than five in the ICU, down from 15 and nine the day before.
Fewer than five patients in acute care and fewer than five in the ICU are from outside of the region, the organization says. LHSC only provides specific numbers when they are above five in an effort to protect the privacy of patients.
Eight staff at LHSC were positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, unchanged from Monday.
The organization continues to deal with an outbreak at University Hospital, declared June 13, in 8TU – Transplant Unit that has been linked to an unspecified variant.
The outbreak is linked to fewer than five patients and fewer than five staff cases.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the organization reported no COVID-19 patients in its care at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
There is one non-outbreak case involving a health-care worker within the organization, as of Monday.
No new outbreaks have been reported.
Just one is active in the region — the 8TU Transplant Unit outbreak at University Hospital.
Declared June 13, it’s been linked to fewer than five patients and fewer than five staff cases.
No new school-related cases have been reported and none are currently active, according to the health unit and local school boards.
Students have been in remote learning since April and are finishing the school year that way.
The Thames Valley District School Board says it will hold virtual graduation ceremonies for students in grades 8 and 12.
The province, the board says, has allowed schools to provide “scheduled, outdoor, in-person year-end recognitions for all grades, where possible.”
Secondary schools that traditionally plan a fall commencement will issue more details soon.
The health unit says school-based one-day pop-up vaccine clinics at schools in the city and county begin this week.
Vaccinations and Testing
With the discovery of four more cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the region the health unit is working to expand second dose re-bookings.
The health unit also learned that it will receive its largest ever shipment of vaccine this weekend with nearly 43,000 more Moderna doses expected.
The MLHU said Thursday it should be able to expand second dose re-booking to anyone who received their first shot on or before May 30 as earlier as Thursday afternoon. Confirmation is expected at 2 p.m. Thursday.
Administrations of first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are continuing in the region, however this week, three mass vaccination clinics in London-Middlesex will only be issuing Moderna shots. The MLHU says this is due to the challenges associated with a delay in the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine.
The clinics are Western Fair Agriplex, North London Optimist Community Centre and Caradoc Community Centre.
Each clinic will have a limited amount of Pfizer vaccine on hand for youths aged 12 to 17. The vaccine is currently the only one approved by Health Canada for that age group.
Currently, people aged 70 and older and people who received their first dose on or before May 9 can re-book their second dose appointment. Certain individuals are also eligible to re-book regardless of their age or date of the first dose.
Details can be found on the health unit’s website or by calling 226-289-3560.
A number of local pharmacies are also offering first doses of mRNA vaccines. Some are also offering AstraZeneca as well but for second doses only.
People who received Pfizer or Moderna as their first dose can receive either as their second, while AstraZeneca recipients can choose from all three, according to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The current interval between shots for AstraZeneca recipients is eight to 12 weeks.
During Monday’s media briefing, health officials assured residents about the safety of mixing and matching vaccines. Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said it was especially important given a possible Pfizer supply reduction in early July, followed by an increase later in the month.
“It will be a bit of back-and-forth and doing our best to make sure that we don’t have to cancel any appointments and that we can get vaccine to people when they need it,” he said.
“We need people to wrap their minds around the concept that Pfizer and Moderna are the same drug with different brands.”
Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA, or mRNA, which essentially teaches cells how to produce the coronavirus’ spike protein, triggering an immune response if we are infected with the virus in the future.
Viral vector vaccines like the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, meanwhile, force an immune response from the harmless version of the virus that’s injected with those shots.
Those who are able to get an earlier second jab and are looking to cancel original vaccination appointments, including multiple booked under the same email or phone number, can now do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 519-963-4136.
Starting this week, one day, pop-up community clinics will be held at select schools in the city and county. More information can be found on globalnews.ca.
The Thames Valley Family Health Team says assessment centres will open as usual on Canada Day, however telephone booking will be unavailable on July 1. Online booking will not be impacted.
Ontario reported 255 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the smallest daily increase since mid-September. The provincial case total now stands at 543,019.
Wednesday’s case count is the third straight day it’s below 300 and the lowest since Sept. 15 when 251 cases were recorded that day. On Tuesday, there were 296 new cases with 270 on Monday.
Test positivity for Wednesday hit 1.2 per cent — the lowest test positivity since Sept. 29 when it was also 1.2 per cent.
According to Wednesday’s report, 57 cases were recorded in Toronto, 53 new cases in Waterloo Region, 25 in Peel Region and 23 in North Bay. All other local public health units reported fewer than 20 new cases in the provincial report.
The virus-related death toll in the province has risen to 9,093 as 11 more deaths were recorded.
As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 13 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered. That marked a record increase of 227,318 vaccines (28,946 for a first shot and 198,372 for a second shot) in the last day.
There are more than 3.3 million people fully vaccinated with two doses which represents 27.5 per cent of the adult population. First-dose adult coverage sits at 76.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, 530,894 Ontario residents were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is about 98 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 460 from the previous day.
Elgin and Oxford
Four new COVID-19 cases have been reported, bringing the region’s pandemic case total to 3,867, of which 3,752 have resolved, an increase of two from the day before.
Eighty-three virus-related deaths have been reported so far, most recently on June 15.
At least 32 cases are active with 10 in Woodstock and 11 in St. Thomas. Two people are hospitalized, but not in the ICU.
The number of variant cases in the region now stands at 793, according to the health unit.
Of the variant cases, 739 involve the Alpha variant (previously B.1.1.7), while 49 involve either the Beta (B.1.351) or Gamma (P.1) variant and five are the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.
Earlier second-dose re-bookings continue for people aged 70 and older and people of any eligible age whose first mRNA shot was on or before May 9.
People who got AstraZeneca and are eligible under the eight-week interval are able to re-book, as well as certain other individuals regardless of age or date of first shot.
Those eligible can re-book their second appointment through the online booking portal or by phone at 1-800-922-0096 ext. 9.
First doses, meanwhile, continue 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 first Pfizer and Moderna shots
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. Updated figures are expected this week.
Huron and Perth
Two new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Huron-Perth, bringing the region’s pandemic case total to 1,883, of which 1,815 have resolved, an increase of two from the day before.
Fifty-seven virus-related deaths have been reported during the pandemic, most recently on May 20.
At least 11 cases are active, with one person reportedly in hospital.
The number of variant cases and cases that have screened positive for a mutation consistent with a variant are up by one to 306. Three are active.
At least 156 cases involve the Alpha variant, according to Public Health Ontario, while seven involve the Delta variant and five the Gamma variant. The remaining cases are likely still under genomic analysis.
Health unit data shows more than 91,987 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or about 72 per cent of Huron-Perth residents.
Currently, anyone who received a first dose of vaccine on or before May 9 can re-book their second appointment, as can other certain individuals.
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.
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. The interval for the AstraZeneca shot is eight weeks.
The health unit says one outbreak at Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East involving three staff members has since been resolved.
Case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit dashboard.
The region’s test positivity rate was 1.2 per cent as of the week of June 6. Updated numbers are expected this week.
Sarnia and Lambton
Seven new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Lambton County.
They bring the region’s pandemic case total to 3,571, of which 3,478 have resolved, up three from the day before. Sixty-two virus-related deaths have been reported, most recently on June 15.
Thirty-one cases are active. According to Bluewater Health, seven COVID-19 patients are in their care.
The region’s variant case tally stands at 630, the health unit says.
Public Health Ontario reports that 415 cases involve the Alpha variant, while 17 cases have been confirmed to be the Gamma variant and four the Delta variant.
The status of the remaining cases is unclear.
Second-dose re-bookings continue in the region for all residents aged 60 and older as well as residents whose first dose was on or before May 21.
Residents are asked to re-book using the health unit’s registration page. People can also call the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222, however call volume is expected to be very high.
People who received an mRNA dose first can choose either mRNA vaccine as their second, while people who received AstraZeneca can choose from all three available vaccines, provided they are eligible under the eight-week interval.
First doses 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 website. Some pharmacies are also continuing to offer Pfizer or Moderna shots.
No outbreaks are active. One outbreak located at Bkejwanong Children’s Centre involving three cases has since been resolved.
The region’s positivity rate was 1.4 per cent the week of May 30. An updated figure is expected this week.
–With files from Matthew Trevithick, Gabby Rodrigues, and The Canadian Press