COVID-19: MLHU reports 2 new deaths; LHSC caring for 45 COVID-19 patients

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With some provinces lifting mask mandates and other provinces in the process of doing so, there is cautious optimism about what the pandemic will look like for spring. Dr. Alex Wong discusses the latest COVID headlines. – Mar 8, 2022

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  • Officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported two deaths and 62 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. It should be noted, however, that due to testing restrictions and widespread transmission, case counts are considered an under-estimate.
  • At London Health Sciences Centre, 45 inpatients with COVID-19 were being cared for as of Tuesday. Of those, five or fewer were in adult critical care.
  • LHSC reported 130 active staff cases on Tuesday, down from 136 a day earlier and down 98 from Feb. 28.


London Health Sciences Centre reported Tuesday that it was caring for 45 inpatients with COVID-19, down one from the day before. Of those, five or fewer are in adult critical care, unchanged from Monday.

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LHSC says five or fewer of its COVID-19 inpatients are in Children’s Hospital, while zero are in pediatric critical care, both unchanged from Monday.

Of the 45 inpatients with COVID-19, 14 are being treated for COVID-19 while 31 are being treated with COVID-19, meaning they were admitted for something other than COVID-19 but were found to have an incidental infection.

Read more: COVID-19 can cause the brain to shrink, memory loss, U.K. study finds

At least 130 staff cases are currently active at LHSC, down from 136 on Monday, March 7. Monday’s tally was the first update to be released by LHSC since Feb. 28, when it reported 232 active cases.

In a statement, Carol Young-Ritchie, LHSC’s executive VP and chief nursing executive, explained the delay in data reporting was due to data verification following a change in screening criteria.

“We don’t test all our staff, we have screening criteria. That screening criteria then leads to a test if one of our staff members need it,” she said.

“As the screening criteria changed, we also changed our data collection for that. So we’ve just made sure our processes are correct and we’re reporting that now daily.”

At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, officials reported 54 active cases among health-care workers as of Monday along with three cases involving patients or residents at Parkwood Institute’s Main Building.

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Cases and testing

The Middlesex-London Health Unit reported two new COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday as well as 62 new cases.

Due to changes in eligibility for PCR testing, daily case counts are not considered a fully reliable reflection of COVID-19 activity in the region.

Tuesday’s update brings the month’s death toll to four. The health unit says both involved women in their 80s, with one linked to a long-term care home.

The health unit says there have been 32,243 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. At least 584 are active (an increase of nine) while 31,306 have resolved (an increase of 51). A total of 353 deaths have been reported (an increase of two).

The test positivity rate for the week of Feb. 20 was 12.6 per cent, up from a revised 11.2 per cent the week prior. Updated figures are expected this week.

Read more: 6 Sunwing party plane passengers slapped with fines up to $5K, ‘more penalties’ coming

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should consider themselves to be positive for COVID-19 and self-isolate.

The health unit has provided information on what to do if you develop symptoms, test positive on a rapid test or PCR test or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

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LHSC officials announced on Monday that the Carling Heights Assessment Centre would begin offering COVID-19 therapeutics, including Paxlovid, on an outpatient basis to those at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.

“This therapy is recommended for a select patient population and we advise those who believe they are eligible to visit our website for additional information,” said LHSC’s Carol Young-Ritchie.

“Those who are at higher risk should contact a health-care professional as soon as possible or self-refer at our Carling Heights Assessment Centre for a clinical assessment.”


As of Tuesday, LHSC has one active outbreak in University Hospital’s U8 General Surgery 100/200/300, declared Feb. 28, involving 12 patient cases and 10 staff cases.

A previous outbreak in Victoria Hospital’s C6-100 Geriatric Behavioural Unit, declared on Feb. 21, is no longer active. The outbreak involved six patient cases and five or fewer staff cases.

LHSC updates its outbreak data on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, unless an outbreak is declared or resolved.

Read more: ‘We can’t let our guard down’ — Ontario First Nations face COVID outbreaks

Additionally, the MLHU is reporting the following active institutional outbreaks:

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  • Ashwood Manor, facility-wide, declared Feb. 22
  • Chelsey Park, fourth floor – A Wing, declared March 4
  • Chelsey Park Retirement Community, facility-wide, declared March 4
  • Horizon Place, facility-wide, declared Feb. 24
  • Kensington Village Retirement, eighth avenue, declared Feb. 18


As of end of day March 5, 90.8 per cent of residents five and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 87.5 per cent have seen two — up from 90.7 per cent and 87.3 per cent, respectively, a week earlier.

For third doses, 50.2 per cent of people five and older have received a booster, up from 49.8 per cent a week earlier. Note that those aged 12 to 17 only became eligible for a third dose as of Feb. 18 and those under 12 are still not eligible.

For children five to 11, first-dose coverage stands at 60.1 per cent, up from 59.8 per cent a week earlier, while 42.7 per cent have received two doses.

Further information on vaccination in the MLHU’s region, as well as other COVID-19-related information, can be found on the health unit’s website.

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Ontario is reporting 779 people in hospital with COVID-19 Tuesday, and 246 in intensive care.

That’s compared with 693 in hospital and 249 in intensive care Monday.

The province is also reporting 20 more COVID-19 deaths.

Read more: Ontario COVID numbers — 779 people in hospital, 246 in intensive care

There were 1,208 new cases reported, though due to limited testing the province’s top doctor has said the actual number of new cases is likely 10 times higher.

About nine per cent of Ontario’s long-term care homes are reporting an active outbreak of COVID-19.

Ontario isn’t reporting data on COVID-19 cases in schools, but one school was closed for operational reasons on Monday.

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Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health issues updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, barring holidays.

The health unit reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Monday and 60 additional lab-confirmed cases from Friday’s total.

There were nine COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, with four in intensive care.

The test positivity rate for the week of Feb. 20 was 13.1 per cent, up from 11.7 per cent the week prior.

Read more: WHO now ‘strongly supports’ broad access to COVID-19 boosters

SWPH reported on Monday:

  • 11,356 cases (an increase of 60 cases from Friday with three cases removed due to data cleanup).
  • 200 active cases (a decrease of 42 from Friday).
  • 10,873 resolved cases (an increase of 134 from Friday; note that SWPH clears all cases after 10 days regardless of outcome).
  • 149 total deaths to date (unchanged). The most recent death to be reported was Feb. 25 and involved a woman in her 60s from Oxford County.

Health unit officials reported one active institutional outbreak on Monday at Chartwell Oxford Gardens in Woodstock. Declared March 2, it involves eight resident cases and one staff case.

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As of March 2, 80.7 per cent of those aged five and older in the region had received two doses of the vaccine, while 83.6 per cent have had at least one dose. Those figures are unchanged from Feb. 28.

Further 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

Global News is awaiting Tuesday’s data from Huron Perth Public Health.

On Monday, Huron Perth Public Health reported three patients in hospital due to COVID-19, with one case considered active.

In total, HPPH has reported 5,734 cases (an increase of 23) and 94 deaths to date (unchanged.)

For the week of Feb. 20, the test positivity rate was 7.7 per cent, down from 9.0 per cent the week prior.

HPPH reported 709 total cases among health-care workers since March 2020, an increase of seven from Friday.

As of Feb. 27, the most recent data available, 84.2 per cent of residents aged five and older have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 80.9 per cent have received two.

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Third-dose coverage stands at 52 per cent of those five and older. It should be noted, however, that those under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for a third dose, and those aged 12 to 17 only became eligible for a booster dose as of Feb. 18.

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

Sarnia and Lambton

Bluewater Health reported five patients in hospital with confirmed COVID-19 as of Monday, with zero in the ICU. Last Monday, the hospital had 11 COVID-19 patients with one in intensive care.

The region’s average ICU occupancy sat at 63 per cent for the week of Feb. 27, up from 50 per cent for the week of Feb. 20, health officials said.

Lambton Public Health releases case information on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The health unit reported two deaths and 50 cases from Saturday to Monday. However, while the total number of cases did increase by 50 to 9,914, the total number of deaths actually decreased by three to 126 as a result of new reporting requirements from Public Health Ontario and Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

Read more: Saskatchewan businesses mandate respect among customers as COVID-19 restrictions change

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The health unit noted that as of March 7, the dashboard no longer includes “cases where COVID-19 did not cause the death or exacerbate the clinical condition that caused the death,” for example if someone was positive for COVID-19 at the time of a death caused by drug toxicity or trauma.

As a result, five previously recorded deaths were removed.

Two active outbreaks have been reported in “congregate settings,” at St. Francis Advocates in Port Franks and Trillium Villa long-term care home in Sarnia. Both were declared Feb. 25 and involve fewer than five cases among residents and fewer than five cases among staff or visitors.

The test positivity rate for the week of Feb. 20 was 14.7 per cent, down from 18.1 per cent the week prior.

Among area residents aged five and older, 83 per cent have had at least one dose of vaccine, 80 per cent have had two doses and 49 per cent have had a third dose. Note that those under 12 are not currently eligible for 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.

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— with files from Jacquelyn LeBel

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