The death involved a man in his 90s, not associated with a long-term care or retirement home. Based on the vaccinations status of deaths reported in the last six weeks, he was unvaccinated.
This is the second death reported in as many days. On Wednesday, the MLHU reported the death of a man in his 50s who was not vaccinated.
During Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing, acting medical officer of health Dr. Alex Summers stressed that vaccination alone is not enough to address the Omicron variant.
“We will not be able to vaccinate ourselves out of this wave,” he said.
“Additional efforts in physical distancing and staying home and limiting your essential activities in indoor environments will be necessary for us to reduce the impact of the Omicron wave.”
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In total, there have been 15,638 confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, including 550 active cases (an increase of 39), 14,831 recoveries (an increase of 43) and 257 deaths.
The rate of active cases continues to climb among those in the under-12 age group, though the rate of increase appears to have slowed.
Currently, within that age group, there are 152 cases, or 236.0 per 100,000 people, up from 139 cases, or 215.8 per 100,000, on Wednesday. Last Thursday, there were 89 cases, or 138.2 per 100,000 population.
Information on local variants of concern can be found by visiting the health unit’s summary of COVID-19 cases on the Middlesex-London page and clicking on the “Case Status” tab.
As of Thursday, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) was caring for 14 inpatients with COVID-19, with five or fewer in adult critical care or the intensive care unit.
There were five or fewer inpatients with COVID-19 in LHSC’s Children’s Hospital, with zero in pediatric critical care.
Twelve staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London reported two cases involving health-care workers.
The MLHU has reported an outbreak at McCormick Home’s Memory Lane, declared Dec. 14.
There are also outbreaks at the following schools:
- Byron Northview Public School, declared Dec. 9
- Delaware Central School, declared Dec. 11
- École élémentaire catholique Frère-André, declared Dec. 15
- École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf, declared Dec. 10
- École élémentaire catholique St-Jeanne-d’Arc, declared Dec. 12
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, declared Dec. 6
- Princess Elizabeth Public School, declared Dec. 9
- Riverside Public School, declared Dec. 6
- Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School, declared Dec. 10
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School, declared Dec. 14
- St. André Bessette Secondary School, declared Dec. 9
- St. Jude Catholic School, declared Dec. 7
- St. Marguerite d’Youville School, declared Dec. 3
- St. Nicholas Catholic School, declared Dec. 8
- Strathroy Community Christian School, declared Dec. 13
Outbreaks have resulted in school closures for at least 10 schools in London.
Previous outbreaks at Mountsfield Public School and St. Mary Choir and Orchestra Catholic School, declared Dec. 7 and 5, respectively, were listed as over as of Dec. 15.
The following child-care and early years centres have outbreaks:
- Tiny Hoppers Early Learning Centre – Summerside, declared Dec. 12
- Wortley YMCA Child Care Centre, declared Dec. 10
The following post-secondary institutions have outbreaks:
- Fanshawe College – Merlin House Residence, declared Nov. 28
- Western University – Delaware Hall Residence, declared Dec. 10
- Western University – Saugeen-Maitland Hall Residence, declared Nov. 27
Dr. Summers said Thursday that the outbreaks at Western and Fanshawe are “fairly stable.”
The MLHU also reported on Dec. 6 that there was an outbreak at God’s Favourite House, a church on Dearness Drive, connected to the Omicron cluster.
As of Thursday, Summers said the total number of cases linked to the church is 30 but “those case counts have likely risen.”
“We are seeing such an increase in cases that our ability to link them all together is now challenged and we are focusing on highest-risk environments: long-term care homes, congregate settings, schools, et cetera.”
The following schools have active cases associated with them, according to the MLHU:
- Arthur Ford Public School (one case)
- Ashley Oaks Public School (one case)
- Byron Northview Public School (three cases)
- C. C. Carrothers Public School (one case)
- Clara Brenton Public School (one case)
- Delaware Central School (one case)
- Eagle Heights Public School (two cases)
- École élémentaire catholique Frère André (four cases)
- École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf (14 cases)
- École élémentaire catholique Saint-Jeanne-d’Arc (five cases)
- École élémentaire La Pommeraie (two cases)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Public School (two cases)
- H. B. Beal Secondary School (one case)
- John Paul II Catholic Secondary School (one case)
- London Christian Academy (two cases)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (one case)
- Princess Elizabeth Public School (one case)
- Rick Hansen Public School (one case)
- Riverside Public School (one case)
- Saunders Secondary School (one case)
- Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School (four cases)
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School (one case)
- St. Andre Bessette Secondary School (17 cases)
- St. Catherine of Siena Elementary School School (two cases)
- St. Paul Catholic School (one case)
- St. Rose of Lima Catholic School (one case)
- St. Theresa Catholic School (two cases)
- St. Thomas More Catholic School (one case)
- Strathroy Community Christian School (six cases)
- W. Sherwood Fox Public School (one case)
- West Oaks French Immersion Public School (two cases)
- Westmount Public School (two cases)
- Wilton Grove Public School (one case)
Child-care and early-years centres:
- L’Escale St. Jean de Brébeuf in London, three cases
- London Children’s Connection – Eagle Heights Before and After School, one case
- London Children’s Connection – Westmount Before and After School, one case
- St. Theresa YMCA Before and After School, one case
- Tiny Hoppers Early Learning Centre – Summerside, two cases
- Wortley YMCA Child Care Centre, one case
The health unit says at least 447 cases have been reported since the start of the school year involving elementary and secondary schools, as well as child-care and early-years centres.
Vaccinations and testing
The MLHU and LHSC have announced holiday hours for the Carling COVID-19 Assessment Centre. The centre will operate from 9:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 24 and from 10:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 25 before resuming regular hours on Sunday, Dec. 26 (9:20 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.).
Telephone booking will be unavailable from Dec. 24 to 27 as well as on Jan. 3 but appointments can still be booked online any time.
According to the MLHU, 86.3 per cent of residents aged five and older have had one vaccine dose while 81.5 per cent are fully vaccinated as of Dec. 11, up from 85.1 per cent with one dose and 81.1 per cent fully vaccinated as of Dec. 4.
Among the five-to-11 age group, 34.5 per cent have had one dose of vaccine.
As for the vaccination status of cases, the MLHU says unvaccinated individuals have accounted for 35.85 per cent of all cases (385 of 1,074) and 40.0 per cent of hospitalizations (10 of 25) since Nov. 4.
Of the 11 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last six weeks, six individuals were unvaccinated, four were fully vaccinated and one was partially vaccinated.
On the health unit’s website, residents can find information on pop-up clinics, mass vaccination clinics and pharmacies; guidance for anyone vaccinated outside of the province or country; transportation support for those in need; and more.
Anyone looking to be tested for COVID-19 can find information about the locations of testing sites on the health unit’s website.
The latest COVID-19 test positivity rate in the region was 3.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 5, up from 3.1 per cent for the week of Nov. 28.
The province reported 2,421 cases Thursday, nearly double last Thursday’s case count of 1,290.
However, as infections surge, patients with COVID-19 in ICUs have remained relatively stable but are overall on a slow rise.
Of the 2,421 new cases recorded, the data showed 686 were unvaccinated people, 72 were partially vaccinated people, 1,530 were fully vaccinated people and for 133 people the vaccination status was unknown.
According to Thursday’s report, 505 cases were recorded in Toronto, 206 in Ottawa, 190 in the Kingston area, 153 in Peel Region, 143 in York Region, 130 in Windsor-Essex and 115 in Niagara. All other local public health units reported fewer than 115 new cases.
Nine more deaths were reported.
Elgin and Oxford
On Thursday, Southwestern Public Health reported:
- 5,800 total cases (an increase of 46 cases with one case removed due to data cleanup)
- 208 active cases (a decrease of 21)
- 5,484 resolved cases (an increase of 66)
- 108 deaths to date (unchanged)
The most recent deaths were reported Wednesday, Dec. 15 and involved a man in his 30s from Oxford County and a man in his 90s from St. Thomas.
Further details can be found on SWPH’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Of the 208 active cases in the region, 106 were in Elgin County (including 60 in St. Thomas and 18 in Aylmer) and 102 were in Oxford County (including 38 in Woodstock).
Eleven people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with seven in the ICU as of Thursday.
An outbreak at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas declared Nov. 28 is ongoing. It involves 11 resident cases and nine staff cases. One death is associated with the outbreak.
SWPH is reporting outbreaks at the following schools:
- Woodstock Christian School in Woodstock, declared Dec. 1
- Immanuel Christian School in Aylmer, declared Dec. 2
- South Ridge Public School in Tillsonburg, declared Dec. 6
- St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in West Lorne, declared Dec. 10
- Hickson Central Public School in Hickson, declared Dec. 15
- Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute in Ingersoll, declared Dec. 15
The region’s test positivity rate was 4.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 5, down from 5.3 per cent for the week of Nov. 28.
As of Dec. 14, 75.7 per cent of those aged five and older in the region were fully vaccinated while 80.2 per cent have had at least one dose.
Information on where and how to get vaccinated can be found on the health unit’s website.
Huron and Perth
On Thursday, Huron Perth Public Health reported:
- 2,769 total cases (an increase of 22)
- 121 active cases (an increase of three)
- 2,578 recoveries (an increase of 19)
- 70 deaths to date (unchanged)
The most recent death was reported Nov. 29 and involved a community member connected to a workplace outbreak, according to a spokesperson for the health unit.
Among the 121 active cases, 22 were in North Perth, 19 in Howick and 17 in Stratford. Full case counts by the municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
There were two people hospitalized with COVID-19 and two active cases involving health-care workers as of Thursday.
HPPH has nine active outbreaks involving eight schools and one workplace:
- Clinton Public School in Central Huron, declared Dec. 13 and involving one staff and two students
- Elma Township Public School in North Perth, declared Nov. 23 and involving 26 students
- Howick Central Public School in Howick, declared Dec. 15 and involving two student cases
- Little Falls Public School in St. Marys, declared Dec. 14 and involving two students
- Milverton Public School in Perth East declared Dec. 9 and involving four students
- North Perth Westfield ES in North Perth declared Nov. 30 and involving one staff and 11 students
- Perth Care for Kids in Perth East declared Dec. 6 and involving two students
- St. Josephs Catholic Elementary Public School in Stratford declared Dec. 13 and involving two students
No further information was provided about the workplace outbreak.
As of Dec. 13, 82 per cent of residents aged five and older have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 78 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The region’s test positivity rate was 4.5 per cent for the week of Dec. 5, up from 2.9 per cent for the week of Nov. 28.
Information on how and where to get a vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.
Sarnia and Lambton
On Thursday, Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported:
- 4,575 total cases (an increase of 24)
- 113 active cases (an increase of 19)
- 4,384 resolved cases (an increase of five)
- 78 deaths to date (unchanged)
The most recent death was reported Friday, Dec. 3.
As of Wednesday, there were 12 COVID-19 patients in the care of Bluewater Health.
LPH is reporting six active outbreaks:
- St. Anne Catholic School, declared Dec. 3 and involving seven cases
- St. Bartholomew’s Early Childhood Learning Centre, declared Dec. 3 and involving five cases
- Bright’s Grove Public School, declared Dec. 10 and involving nine cases
- John Knox Christian School, declared Dec. 10 and involving fewer than five cases
- an unidentified workplace declared Dec. 15, involving three cases
- an unidentified workplace declared Dec. 6, involving two cases
The test positivity rate was 3.6 per cent for the week of Dec. 5, up from 3.9 per cent the week prior.
Among area residents aged five and older, 80 per cent have had at least one dose while 76 per cent have had two doses. Nine per cent have had a third dose.
Residents can book and re-book COVID-19 vaccine appointments or find information on vaccine availability at pharmacies using the health unit’s registration page. People can also contact the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222.
Those who are able to get vaccinated on short notice are encouraged to sign up for Lambton Public Health’s daily Vaccine Standby List.
— with files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues