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COVID-19: 241 new cases in London-Middlesex on Monday; record 357 on Christmas Day

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a COVID-19 clinic in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Jump to: HospitalizationsOutbreaksSchoolsVaccinations and testingOntarioElgin and OxfordHuron and PerthSarnia and Lambton


At least 241 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday by the Middlesex-London Health Unit following a weekend that included a total of 633 new cases, including a record number on Christmas Day.

The health unit reported a record 357 new cases on Saturday, while 276 were reported on Sunday. No deaths were reported on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Saturday’s daily case record was the fourth in a row for the region after 335 were reported on Friday, 263 on Thursday, and 228 on Wednesday.

Because of the recent explosion in new cases, the region’s seven-day moving average sits at 264, roughly 5.7 times higher than the average of 46 recorded two weeks earlier on Dec. 12.

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Nearly 2,000 cases were reported between Dec. 19 and Dec. 26, almost as many cases as was reported during the months of August, September, October, and November combined.

In total, there have been 17,950 confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, including 1,594 active cases (an increase of 637 from Friday), 15,168 resolved cases (an increase of 294 from Friday) and 257 deaths (unchanged).

However, due to testing backlogs and a dearth of available testing appointments, the number of active cases in London-Middlesex is likely higher.

The most recent death was reported Dec. 16, involving a man in his 90s not associated with a long-term care or retirement home. He was unvaccinated.

Read more: Omicron surge puts Canada past 2 million COVID-19 cases recorded to date

With case counts surging, local contact tracing efforts have become overwhelmed.

As a result, the health unit stated last week that anyone developing any kind of respiratory symptoms should treat it like COVID-19 and self-isolate. Other members of the household should follow suit.

As of Monday, people aged 25 to 39 make up the highest number of active cases with 691. While London has the largest number of active cases, Lucan Biddulph has the most when adjusted pro-rata by population with 689 cases per 100,000 people compared to 447 for London.

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Information on local variants of concern can be found on the health unit’s summary of COVID-19 cases on the Middlesex-London page and the “Case Status” tab.

Hospitalizations

No new hospitalization data was available on Monday. London Health Sciences Centre has paused reporting over the holiday period and will issue its next update on Dec. 28.

In its last update on Thursday, LHSC said at least 15 COVID-19 patients were in the care of LHSC, up from 13 the day before. Of those, six were in adult critical care or the intensive care unit, five or fewer were in LHSC’s Children Hospital and five or fewer were in pediatric critical care.

While patient numbers were steady, cases among LHSC staff had surged as of late last week, with 54 cases active among staff on Thursday, up from 12 a week earlier.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, 20 health-care workers were positive with COVID-19 as of the organization’s last update on Friday, up from 17 on Thursday.

Of those, one staff case was linked to an outbreak at Parkwood Institute’s main building.

Outbreaks

Six new institutional outbreaks have been reported since Friday at local long-term care and retirement homes, according to the health unit:

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  • Extendicare, on its second and third floors, declared Dec. 24
  • Sisters of St. Joseph, facility-wide, declared Dec. 24
  • Longworth Retirement Residence on its second floor, declared Dec. 25
  • Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care in SM1, declared Dec. 25
  • Village of Glendale Crossing in its Brighton area, declared Dec. 25
  • Middlesex Terrace on its third floor, declared Dec. 26

Outbreaks are also active at McCormick Home in its Memory Lane area (declared Dec. 14), Chartwell London in its Magnolia and Pinebrook areas (declared Dec. 18), and at Parkwood Institute’s main building in 3A-East (declared Dec. 23).

Read more: Canadians feel ‘uncertain’ about future of their workplace heading into 2022: poll

At local schools, no new outbreaks have been declared, however, 12 were deemed resolved over the weekend. As of Monday, outbreaks remain active at the following 14 schools:

  • A. B. Lucas Secondary School, declared Dec. 20
  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, declared Dec. 18
  • Byron Somerset Public School, declared Dec. 21
  • Clara Brenton Public School, declared Dec. 17
  • Emily Carr Public School, declared Dec. 20
  • H. B. Beal Secondary School, declared Dec. 21
  • J S Buchanan French Immersion Public School, declared Dec. 23
  • John Dearness Public School, declared Dec. 20
  • Notre Dame Catholic School, declared Dec. 20
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, declared Dec. 6
  • Sir Arthur Currie Public School, declared Dec. 14
  • St. Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, declared Dec. 17
  • Stoney Creek Public School, declared Dec. 23
  • Wilberforce Public School, declared Dec. 22

At child-care and early years settings, three outbreaks are active, with the most recent declared Thursday:

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  • Wee Watch — Dream Weavers Daycare, declared Dec. 23
  • YMCA: North Meadows Elementary School — Before and After School, declared Dec. 22
  • YMCA: St. Patrick Catholic School — Before and After School, declared Dec. 19

The health unit says an outbreak declared on Nov. 28 at Fanshawe College’s Merlin House residence was declared resolved over the weekend. Two outbreaks remain active at post-secondary institutions:

  • Western University – Delaware Hall Residence, declared Dec. 10
  • Western University – Saugeen-Maitland Hall Residence, declared Nov. 27

Schools

The number of active COVID-19 cases involving local schools has shrunk significantly since Friday, according to health unit data.

As of Monday, nine cases were active at local schools, down from at least 66 on Friday. The health unit notes its tally “lists schools… with one or more cases of COVID-19 in the last 10 days.”

  • Emily Carr Public School (one case)
  • Byron Somerset Public School (one case)
  • John Dearness Public School (two cases)
  • Notre Dame Catholic School (one case)
  • Ryerson Public School (one case)
  • Sir Arthur Currie Public School (one case)
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School (one case)
  • St Mary Choir & Orchestra Catholic School (one case)

Cases were also active at child-care and early-years centres:

  • London Children’s Connection: John Dearness Before and After School (two cases)
  • Springbank Early Childhood Learning Centre (one case)

Information on school and child-care centre outbreaks can be found in the outbreaks section.

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The health unit says at least 600 cases have been reported since September involving elementary and secondary schools, as well as child-care and early-years centres.

In comparison, 470 cases were reported at elementary and secondary schools and at child-care and early-years centres between September 2020 and August 2021.

Vaccinations and testing

As of Dec. 20, the most recent data available, at least 81.8 per cent of residents five and older had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 87.1 had received at least one dose.

At least 12.5 per cent of people have received a third booster dose as of Dec. 18, the most recent data available. More than 40 per cent of residents 70 and older have received a third dose.

Children five to 11, who have been vaccine eligible since Nov. 26, had a 40.5 per cent vaccination rate for first doses as of Dec. 20. At least 3.1 per cent had received a second dose.

The health unit said is prioritizing its supply of Pfizer vaccine for those aged 12 to 29. Those 30 and older will receive the Moderna vaccine.

The city’s main COVID-19 assessment centre at Carling Heights is open.

Appointments can be booked online. Open slots fill up very quickly. Telephone booking is unavailable until Tuesday, and will also be unavailable on Jan. 3.

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Health unit data shows the main assessment centre remains the leading source of vaccinations for residents, however pharmacies aren’t far behind.

Of the 30,400 vaccines given out the week of Dec. 12, 15,360 were at mass immunization clinics, while 10,678 were at pharmacies.

Read more: Newly approved COVID-19 pills come with a catch. Here’s what you should know

Unvaccinated residents, who make up only 12 per cent of the local population, made up 40 per cent of the region’s 27 hospitalizations in over the last six weeks, according to the health unit.

Roughly 71 per cent of cases in that time period involved fully vaccinated individuals, while 21 per cent were unvaccinated.

The health unit notes that people who are vaccinated can still get COVID-19, however, those individuals “become less sick than individuals with COVID-19 who were not vaccinated, and are much less likely to require hospitalization or die.”

Of the nine COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last six weeks, four 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, as well as guidance for anyone vaccinated outside of the province or country, transportation support for those in need and more.

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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 6.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 12, up from 3.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 5 and 3.1 per cent for the week of Nov. 28.

Ontario

Ontario saw a dip in new COVID-19 infections Monday following record-breaking numbers on Christmas Day.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Ontario reported 9,418 new cases of COVID-19.

The province reported 10,412 COVID-19 cases on Christmas Day, and 9,826 infections Boxing Day.

Read more: Ontario reports 9,418 new COVID cases on Monday

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Elliott says 480 people are in hospital because of COVID-19 while 176 are in intensive care.

She says the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 related patients in intensive care is 168, and adds that not all hospitals report numbers on weekends.

Elliot says 88 per cent of eligible Ontarians aged 12 and older have got two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine while 90.7 per cent have the first dose.

Elgin and Oxford

No COVID-19 update was available on Monday from Southwestern Public Health.

On Friday, the health unit reported:

  • 6,221 total cases (an increase of 110 from Thursday, with two previous cases removed due to data cleanup)
  • 479 active cases (an increase of 82)
  • 5,631 resolved cases (an increase of 25)
  • 111 deaths to date (an increase of one)

The death, reported on Friday, involved a woman in her 70s from Elgin and was the 13th COVID-19-related death reported in the region in December, and the third that week.

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Of the 479 active cases in the region as of Friday, 222 were in Elgin County (including 129 in St. Thomas and 27 in Central Elgin) and 257 were in Oxford County (including 114 in Woodstock and 38 in Ingersoll).

The health unit automatically closes all cases after 10 days of a positive result, regardless of their outcome.

On Friday, 13 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with five in the ICU. No details were available about their vaccination status.

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An outbreak at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas declared Nov. 28 was ongoing on Friday. It involves 11 resident cases and nine staff cases. Two deaths are associated with the outbreak.

No new school outbreaks were reported on Friday. Outbreaks were active at the following schools:

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  • 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
  • King’s Academy Private School in St. Thomas, declared Dec. 16
  • St. Joseph High School in St. Thomas, declared Dec. 17
  • St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary School, declared Dec. 19
  • Westfield Public School in Tillsonburg, declared Dec. 19
  • Mitchell Hepburn Public School, declared Dec. 20
  • Dunwich Dutton Public School in Dutton, declared Dec. 21
  • Oliver Stephens Public School in Woodstock, declared Dec. 21
  • Holy Family Catholic French Immersion School in Woodstock, declared Dec. 22
  • Thamesford Public School in Thamesford, declared Dec. 22

More information on school cases can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

Roughly 6.8 per cent of tests in the region were coming back positive as of the week of Dec. 12, the highest percentage of the pandemic, up from 4.6 per cent the week of Dec. 5.

As of Dec. 23, 76.0 per cent of those aged five and older in the region had received two doses of the vaccine, while 81 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.

SWPH is not currently accepting calls for vaccine appointments “until we get through our current backlog of voicemails.” The health unit encouraged people to join its Same Day Vaccination List, which offers any leftover doses due to cancellations or no-shows.

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Huron and Perth

No COVID-19 update was available from Huron Perth Public Health as of early Monday afternoon.

On Friday, Huron Perth Public Health reported:

  • 2,995 total cases (an increase of 65 from Thursday)
  • 229 active cases (an increase of 56 from Thursday)
  • 2,694 recoveries (an increase of eight from Thursday)
  • 72 deaths to date (an increase of one from Thursday)

Among the 229 active cases on Friday, 71 were in Stratford, 29 were in Huron East, 23 were in North Perth, 19 were in Central Huron, and 18 were in St. Marys. Full case counts by the municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.

Thirteen people were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 as of Friday, with four patients still considered active cases.

At least three of the region’s active cases involve health-care workers.

Read more: Quebec’s new restrictions take effect as the province records almost 8,000 new COVID-19 cases

HPPH had 11 active outbreaks listed on Friday involving 10 schools and one workplace. The most recent school outbreak was declared on Thursday at Listowel Christian School.

  • Clinton Public School in Central Huron, declared Dec. 13 and involving one staff member and two students
  • Elma Township Public School in North Perth, declared Nov. 23 and involving 27 students
  • Howick Central Public School in Howick, declared Dec. 15 and involving three student cases
  • Listowel Christian School in North Perth, declared Dec. 23 and involving two student cases
  • Listowel District Secondary School in North Perth, declared Dec. 16 and involving two staff and three student cases
  • Little Falls Public School in St. Marys, declared Dec. 14 and involving five 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 member and 11 students
  • North Woods Elementary School in Huron East, declared Dec. 22 and involving one staff member and three students
  • St. Josephs Catholic Elementary Public School in Stratford, declared Dec. 13 and involving two students

Data on school cases can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

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As of Dec. 23, 82.5 per cent of residents aged five and older have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 77.6 per cent are fully vaccinated. Third-dose coverage stands at 21.4 per cent.

The region’s test positivity rate was 3.8 per cent for the week of Dec. 12.

Information on how and where to get a vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.

Sarnia and Lambton

A brief COVID-19 update was released by Lambton Public Health on Monday. The health unit’s next detailed update is set to come Wednesday.

On Monday, the health unit reported:

  • 5,194 total cases (an increase of 398 from Thursday)
  • 503 active cases (an increase of 297 from Thursday)
  • 4,611 resolved cases (an increase of 101 from Thursday)
  • 80 deaths to date (unchanged from Thursday)

As of Friday, there were 14 COVID-19 patients in the care of Bluewater Health. No update was provided Monday.

No further information was released as part of the health unit’s brief update.

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LPH reported 10 active outbreaks as of Thursday, eight of which were at unidentified workplaces.

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  • Bright’s Grove Public School, declared Dec. 10 and involving 10 cases
  • John Knox Christian School, declared Dec. 10 and involving five cases
  • an unidentified workplace declared Dec. 15, involving four cases
  • four unidentified workplaces, all declared Dec. 16 and involving two cases each
  • an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 17 and involving two cases
  • an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 17 and involving three cases
  • an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 20 and involving two cases

All active cases at schools within the Lambton Kent District School Board can be found online, as can cases at schools within the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

The test positivity rate was 6.8 per cent for the week of Dec. 12, up from 3.6 per cent for the week of Dec. 5.

Among area residents 80 per cent have had at least one dose while 76 per cent have had two doses. Fifteen 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 Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian Press

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