43 new COVID-19 instances in Middlesex-London on Thursday, together with 16 worrying variants

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Recent developments:

What’s the latest for the London area?

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 for the area and no deaths on Thursday. The average case number of seven days is now up to 29.

Another 16 variants of concern for the Region were investigated, including one positive confirmation for the UK variant. There are now five confirmed variant cases and 69 screened cases.

The number of known active cases in the region is now up to 242.

There are currently 10 active cases of COVID-19 in nine schools in the area. An outbreak reported on March 15 at Wilberforce Public School is still active, according to MLHU.

Is London on the way to tightening restrictions?

Middlesex-London has been in the orange zone of the Ontario COVID-19 response framework since March 1st.

Decisions about which zone the public health units are located in are made by the province based on indicators and thresholds. For London to move into the red zone, the weekly incident rate must exceed 40 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 2.5 percent or more.

Currently, the incident rate for Middlesex-London is 25.4 with a positivity rate of 3.9 percent. If the region were to move into the red zone, the health unit would announce the decision in the coming days.

Other considerations concern the capacity of the local health system and the public health system for case management.

London hospitals close to ICU capacity

CBC News learned that at least 124 patients with COVID-19 were transferred from one hospital to another in southwestern Ontario this month, including here in London.

The London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) reports 14 cases in patients, six of them in intensive care.

“LHSC currently has 14 inpatients with COVID-19, including six in critical care who have been referred from other hospitals through the Covid-19 Intensive Care Command Center in Ontario or our region,” said Dr. Adam Dukelow, Chief Medical Officer at LHSC, in a statement. “Our patient care beds are a provincial resource and we are monitoring our capacity daily to ensure we can respond to the needs of our community and the province.”

According to Dr. Dukelow, intensive care utilization at the University Hospital is currently 90 percent and at the Victoria Hospital 64.5 percent.

An outbreak in the medical department of the university hospital on the fourth floor, which was proclaimed on March 12, is still active, according to the LHSC. Six patients and fewer than five employees are affected. There were no deaths related to the outbreak.

COVID-19 in the region and beyond

Huron Perth Public Health didn’t publish any new cases on Thursday. The health unit recorded recovery with 11 known ongoing cases. Six cases in the region have been identified as of concern.

Current COVID-19 data was not available from Southwestern Public Health at the time of publication.

Across Ontario, 2,380 additional infections were reported Thursday, including 280 cases that were part of a “data catching process”. It is the highest number of cases since January 24th.

The 7-day average of daily cases rose to 1,794 across the province, a 10-day upward trend.