19 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 1 demise in London space

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COVID-19 hospitalizations in London have fallen below 20 for the first time this year.

The London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) confirmed on Thursday it has 19 inpatients with the virus in its care, down two from Wednesday. The last time the number of COVID-positive patients at the LHSC fell below 20 was on December 23, when it was 15.

Of the 19 people in hospital, 12 are being treated for COVID-19 and seven for other illnesses, but have also tested positive.

ICU admissions related to the virus fell from six to five or fewer on Wednesday. As of Thursday, there are zero COVID-19 patients in the care of Children’s Hospital, down from five or fewer the day before.

The hospital network said it currently has 60 infected staff, four more than in the past 24 hours. A week ago, 82 employees had tested positive.

The Middlesex London Health Unit recorded 16 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from 26 on Wednesday. Daily case counts are believed to underestimate community spread as the provincial government restricted eligibility for PCR testing in late December. The total number of on-site cases since March 2020 is now 38,376, according to the health unit.

There was one more virus-related death to bring the local death toll to 399. The health unit said the latest death was of a man in his 90s who was not linked to long-term care or a retirement home. It is the sixth reported death in London and Middlesex County this week.

The number of closed cases is up to 37,719. There are currently 258 known active cases in the region, up from 380 a week ago.

Southwestern Public Health, the health unit for Elgin and Oxford counties, does not update the COVID-19 cases dashboard on Thursdays. The next update will be released on Friday.

Provincially, the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care with COVID-19 rose on Thursday.

A total of 549 COVID-positive people were admitted to Ontario hospitals on Thursday, up 27 from the previous day. Last week at this point there were 670 hospital admissions.

The breakdown of hospitalizations by province reported over the past 24 hours shows that 42 percent of those admitted were for COVID-19 and 58 percent are being treated for other reasons, but have also tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the latest figures released by the province, 118 people with COVID-19 are in intensive care units across the province, an increase of four since Wednesday. The figure is relatively unchanged from this time last week, when 119 people were listed in intensive care.

Public health officials said there were 907 new cases in Ontario as of Thursday. But public health officials have warned that daily case numbers are seen as an underestimate of the spread of the virus as the provincial government continues to restrict who is eligible for a free PCR test.

The total number of cases in the province since the pandemic began now stands at 1,310,525.

Ten more deaths related to the virus were reported on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 13,314. The province said seven of the most recent deaths occurred in the last month. The other three occurred more than a month ago and were added to the official count only after data cleansing.

The number of closed cases increased by 983 to 1,288,515.

9,777 COVID-19 tests have been processed in the last 24 hours. Ontario’s positivity rate is now 6.6 percent, up from 7.2 percent a week ago.

The province has administered 33,473,127 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday night. Provincial data shows that 93.2 percent of Ontarians aged 12 and older received one dose of the vaccine, while 91.4 percent received a second dose. More than 7.3 million first booster shots have been administered.