COVID-19: London and Middlesex region adds 1,400+ cases since start of 2022

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ford explains decision to move schools online'
COVID-19: Ford explains decision to move schools online
Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed on Monday the province’s decision to switch schools to remote learning for two weeks, saying “major factors” that influenced the decision included COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization rates, protecting front line workers and protecting students and the general public – Jan 3, 2022

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

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported a total of 1,472 COVID-19 cases between Jan. 1 and 3.

The MLHU said 450 cases were reported Saturday, 536 were reported Sunday, and 486 were reported Monday.

The region’s largest daily case count was set on Dec. 31, 2021, with 638.

As of Monday, the seven-day case average for London-Middlesex stood at 472.9, down from 524.7 last week.

The last death was reported Thursday and involved a man in his 70s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, the health unit said. Further details were not provided, but MLHU data suggests the individual was fully vaccinated.

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In total, there have been 21,241 confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, including 4,082 active cases (an increase of 706), 16,900 resolved cases (an increase of 785), and 259 deaths (unchanged).

The active case tally is likely much higher due to testing backlogs and a lack of available testing appointments.

On Friday, MLHU said due to the increase in cases and the province prioritizing testing, it will no longer be able to report daily case numbers, but did not specify when this change will take place.

The health unit says instead, it will focus on case numbers in high-risk settings, like long-term care homes, hospitals and congregate living settings.

Anyone who develops any kind of respiratory symptoms is being asked by the health unit to treat it like COVID-19 and self-isolate as a result of contact tracing systems being overwhelmed.

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.

Read more: Ontario moves schools to online learning, bans indoor dining and issues new COVID capacity restrictions


At least 25 COVID-19 patients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Thursday, which is its latest update.

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Of those, eight were in adult critical care/intensive care, five or fewer are in Children’s Hospital, and five or fewer are in pediatric critical care.

While patient numbers have remained relatively steady, staff cases at LHSC continue to rise.

At least 135 staff members within the organization were positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, an increase of 22 from Wednesday.

Thursday’s tally is nearly three times that seen on Dec. 23, when 50 staff cases were reported.

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meanwhile, cases among staff are also continuing to rise, with 32 staff positive with COVID-19 as of Thursday, an increase of seven from Wednesday and 20 from Friday of last week.

At least five cases are linked to an outbreak. Five patient cases are also active involving Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care.

Institutional outbreaks

As of Monday, outbreaks are active at the following long-term care and retirement facilities:

  • McCormick Home, in its Memory Lane area, declared Dec. 14
  • Chartwell London, in its Magnolia and Pinebrook areas, declared Dec. 18
  • Parkwood Institute Main Building, on 3A-East, declared Dec. 23
  • 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 and third floors, 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. An outbreak is also active in the Lambeth area, however, the health unit says the type of outbreak is currently unknown.
  • Middlesex Terrace on its third floor, declared Dec. 26
  • Elmwood Place, facility-wide, declared Dec. 27
  • Country Terrace in its Nottinghill Unit, declared Dec. 28
  • Dearness Home in its 2E, 4E, 5E, 5W and Oakdale areas, declared Dec. 29
  • Henley Place LTC Residence in its Fanshawe, Medway and Victoria units, declared Dec. 29
  • Babcock Community Care Centre, facility-wide, declared Dec. 31
  • Parkwood Institute Main Building, 3 Kent/Essex, declared Dec. 31
  • Peoplecare Oak Crossing in its White Pine Unit, declared Dec. 31
  • LHSC- Victoria Hospital in its PICU unit, declared Dec. 31
  • LHSC- University Hospital in its 7IP Clinical Neurosciences – 100 Wing, 202,220-232 units, declared Jan. 1
  • Chartwell Parkhill in its Countryside Unit, declared Jan. 1
  • McGarrell Place, facility-wide, declared Jan. 1
  • Meadow Park Care Centre, facility-wide, declared Jan. 1
  • Earls Court Village in its first floor, declared Jan. 2

New rules take effect at long-term care homes in the province Thursday, putting a pause on access to long-term care homes by general visitors and day absences for all residents for social purposes.

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Designated caregivers, however, may continue to enter long-term care homes.

At local schools, no new outbreaks have been declared, and all previous outbreaks have been resolved.

At local child-care and early years centres, no outbreaks were active as of Monday.

Click to play video: 'Ontario could see ‘hundreds of thousands’ of COVID-19 cases per day, Ford says'
Ontario could see ‘hundreds of thousands’ of COVID-19 cases per day, Ford says

Schools and child care

No new COVID-19 cases have been reported involving schools and none were active as of Monday.

Cases have decreased significantly involving schools as children have returned home from class for the holiday break. As well, no cases were listed as being active at child-care or early years centres.

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

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A total of 600 cases have been reported at local elementary and secondary schools since the start of the school year in September. In comparison, 351 were reported during the 12 months from September 2020 to August 2021.

Vaccinations and testing

The province is revising its PCR testing eligibility in a bid to ease the burden on Ontario’s testing system amid the Omicron wave.

The province said starting Friday, publicly funded PCR testing will only be recommended for symptomatic people who are hospitalized patients, in long-term care or retirement homes, health-care workers, First Nations, or students and staff, among other high-risk groups.

It is no longer recommended that asymptomatic individuals get a PCR test, except for those in high-risk settings.

Those symptomatic but who don’t fall under an eligible group for PCR testing are asked to not seek testing and are instead asked to self-isolate.

The province said it is also revising its isolation period for those with COVID-19 to five days from 10 days following the onset of symptoms for those who are vaccinated as well as children under 12 years old.

Household contacts will also have to isolate with those who have tested positive.

The local impact of the news is not yet clear.

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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.

As of Dec. 25, 82.1 per cent of residents five and older in London and Middlesex have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 87.6 have received one dose.

As of that date, roughly 98,819 people, or about 20 per cent of the population, had received a third booster dose, health unit data shows.

Those over 30 receiving a dose of the vaccine will receive Moderna as the health unit continues to prioritize its Pfizer supply for younger age groups.

Read more: Omicron variant complicates what a COVID-19 endemic will look like

Health unit data shows roughly 50 per cent of hospitalized cases have involved people who were fully vaccinated, and 43 per cent have involved unvaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated residents only make up 11 per cent of the region’s 12-and-over population.

With roughly 90 per cent of the local 12-and-over population vaccinated, the majority of recent cases have involved vaccinated individuals, according to the health unit.

Roughly 74 per cent of cases in the last six weeks have involved fully vaccinated individuals, while 18.3 per cent were unvaccinated. Of the 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in that time, five individuals were unvaccinated and five were fully vaccinated.

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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.


Ontario reported more than 13,500 new COVID cases on Monday. The provincial case total now stands at 805,098.

Six more deaths were recorded. The death toll now stands at 10,229.

Resolved cases increased by 6,547 in the last day, totalling 664,562 recoveries.

The seven-day average has now reached 14,074, up drastically from a week ago when it was at 7,550.

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The Ontario government issued several new COVID-19 public health measures Monday morning to contain the spread of Omicron.

They include moving schools online, closures, and capacity limits for businesses.

Students and staff will not be returning to in-person learning this week. Schools will switch to remote learning starting on Wednesday for at least two weeks.

Read more: Ontario reports 13,578 new COVID cases, more people admitted to hospital and ICUs

Ford made the announcement alongside Moore, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenflavy and the chief executive of Ontario Health, Matt Anderson.

Ford also issued several new measures and capacity limits for Ontario businesses, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 12:01 a.m. These measures will be in place for at least 21 days until Jan. 26:

  • There will be no more indoor dining at restaurants.
  • Outdoor dining with restrictions is permitted as well as takeout and drive-thru options.
  • Sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption on premises must end at 11 p.m. There are exceptions for delivery and take out.
  • Gyms are ordered to close. This includes any indoor sport and recreational facilities with the exception of athletes training for the Olympics or Paralympics and other select athletes.
  • All retail settings and public libraries will be capped at 50 per cent capacity. Food courts at malls will be required to close.
  • Indoor gatherings and indoor organized public events will be limited to five people. Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 10 people.
  • A full list of restrictions is available in this news article by Global News.
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Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health’s next COVID-19 update is expected on Jan. 4. Previously reported figures are below.

On Friday, Dec. 24 the health unit reported:

  • 6,221 total cases
  • 479 active cases
  • 5,631 resolved cases
  • 111 deaths to date

The region’s most recent publicly reported death, reported Dec. 24, involved a woman in her 70s from Elgin.

The health unit automatically closes all cases 10 days after 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.

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:

  • 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

Read more: Quebec reports 15,293 COVID-19 cases as major hospital postpones half of surgeries

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Their current outbreak status is unclear due to the pause in reporting.

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.

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.

The health unit encouraged people to join its Same Day Vaccination List, which offers any leftover doses due to cancellations or no-shows.

Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health’s next COVID-19 update is expected on Jan. 4.

In its last update on Dec. 30, the health unit reported:

  • 3,323 total cases
  • 483 active cases
  • 2,766 recoveries
  • 74 deaths to date

Full case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.

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Eleven people were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 as of Thursday. Of those, five were considered active cases.

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

HPPH had 11 active outbreaks listed on Thursday involving eight schools, two congregate living settings, and one long-term care home.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario introduces multiple new restrictions to help contain Omicron spread'
COVID-19: Ontario introduces multiple new restrictions to help contain Omicron spread

The most recent outbreak listed outbreak was on Dec. 27 at Wildwood Care Centre in St. Marys, with two staff impacted.

Elsewhere, outbreaks remain active at the following schools:

  • 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 five students
  • North Perth Westfield ES in North Perth, declared Nov. 30 and involving one staff member and 12 students
  • North Woods Elementary School in Huron East, declared Dec. 22 and involving one staff member and 10 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. An updated figure is expected next week.

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

Sarnia and Lambton

On Monday, Lambton Public Health reported:

  • 5,600 total cases (an increase of 594 since Friday)
  • 775 active cases (an increase of 475 since Friday)
  • 4,742 resolved cases (an increase of 118 since Friday)
  • 84 deaths to date (an increase of one since Friday)

As of Monday, there were 16 COVID-19 patients in the care of Bluewater Health.

Detailed information has not been updated since Dec. 30. The following numbers were last updated that day.

The region’s seven-day case average was 83 as of Thursday, due in part to a surge in cases reported Christmas Eve (111) and Christmas Day (132).

Read more: COVID-19: Riverview Park and Zoo in Peterborough closes again due to new Ontario restrictions

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LPH reported three active outbreaks as of Thursday:

  • an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 20 and involving two cases
  • Errol Road Public School, declared Dec. 23, and involving fewer than five cases
  • Rosewood Retirement Village, declared Dec. 26, and involving fewer than five resident cases and fewer than five staff 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. An updated tally is expected next week.

Roughly 80 per cent of area residents have had at least one dose while 76 per cent have had two doses. Fifteen per cent have had a third dose, health unit data shows.

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 Gabby Rodrigues, Ryan Rocca, Matthew Trevithick, Jacquelyn LeBel, Sawyer Bogdan and The Canadian Press

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