Coronavirus: 2 deaths, 44 instances in London-Middlesex; 1 dying, 10 instances in Sarnia-Lambton – London

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Two people have died and 44 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported on Friday.

The region’s pandemic case tally now stands at 5,613, of which 3,783 people have recovered, an increase of 12 from the day before.

At least 175 people have died during the pandemic. Of those, at least 69 deaths have occurred since the beginning of January.

The two deaths reported Friday involved two women in their 70s and 90s who were both associated with a long-term care home.

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Health unit figures show that at least 2,230 cases have been reported in the region since the beginning of the month.

Roughly 1,655 cases are active in the region, according to the figures.

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Of the 44 cases reported Friday, 38 are from London, while three are from Middlesex Centre, two are from Strathroy-Caradoc and one is from Thames Centre.

Infections are spread relatively evenly among the age groups that the health unit tracks. Five individuals are aged 19 or younger, six are in their 20s, eight are in their 30s, five each are in their 40s and 50s, six are in their 60s, four are in their 70s and five are 80 or older.

Exposure source information isn’t available for 36 cases, which are listed as pending or undetermined. Four are listed as being tied to an outbreak and four to close contact.

The health unit completed its online dashboard updates on Friday. Officials say the new system will allow officials to provide virtual notifications to those diagnosed with COVID-19.

In an interview Friday on 980 CFPL’s London Live with Mike Stubbs, Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said the recent dip in new case numbers should be met with cautious optimism.

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“We are seeing a little bit of stabilisation over the last couple of days, so we’re not seeing a further decline, but we’re seeing that stabilisation, and it’s certainly well off what we saw a number of weeks ago,” he said.

“But it’s still high and we still got a ways to go before we can be confident that we really flattened that curve. But certainly we’ll take the wins where we can, and that decline in cases from a few weeks ago is definitely a win.”

Thursday marked the first time in roughly 28 days that the region did not report at least one new COVID-19-related death. At least 69 have been reported this month.

“Every day that we don’t have to report a death is a good day,” Summers said.

“We know that the numbers of deaths will often follow the peak of cases, because it’s just a question of the more people that end up with the illness, the higher the chance that one of those people may unfortunately die.”

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It’s unclear whether any additional cases of the variant first located in the U.K. have been reported in the city. Two have been confirmed so far.

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The health unit is awaiting results back from provincial labs on samples sent from several rapidly spreading outbreaks in the region, including at certain seniors’ facilities, the city’s jail and Men’s Mission.

Summers says the region has only seen the U.K. variant, and stresses the only cases determined were directly linked to one another and were from a single episode.

“We know that the provincial laboratories are also screening more, so this is kind of one of those very active and live questions,” he said.

“How predominant is it in our community? Not yet known. But certainly not a heavy presence as of yet. But it’s certainly here, and it really emphasizes why the physical distancing, the stay at home stuff matters so much right now.”

Hospitalizations

The number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 17 as of Friday, a decrease of three from the day before.

The number of patients in critical or intensive care remains unchanged from the day before at eight, the organization reported.

Active staff cases within LHSC number 15, down one from the day before. LHSC is still dealing with an active outbreak at University Hospital tied to 10 staff cases.

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No COVID-19 patients were reported to be in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

According to St. Joseph’s Health Care London, five staff cases remain active within the organization, all linked to an outbreak at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care.

At least 333 people have had to be hospitalized for COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 66 who needed intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared, but one has been resolved.

The outbreak had been active at Stratford Middlesex General Hospital since Jan. 15 in its 2 South area. It’s not clear how many cases were linked to the outbreak.

The most recent outbreak to be declared active was on Wednesday at Kensington Village Retirement, in the facility’s 5th, 6th and 7th Avenue areas.

It’s among 12 institutional outbreaks that remain in place in the region. Of those, 11 are at seniors’ facilities and one is at University Hospital.

The University Hospital outbreak is located in its emergency department and has been tied to 10 staff cases, unchanged from the day before.

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An outbreak also remains active at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, tied to at least 19 inmate cases and 11 staff cases as of Friday, an increase of one staff case from the day before.

Active outbreaks (as of Jan. 29) at seniors’ facilities, as declared on:

  • Jan. 27 at Kensington Village Retirement (5th, 6th, and 7th Avenue)
  • Jan. 19 at Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Red Oak)
  • Jan. 16 at Longworth Retirement Residence (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 9 at Glendale Crossing (Lambeth, Westminster)
  • Jan. 8 at Chelsey Park Retirement Community (third and fifth floors)
  • Jan. 5 at Oneida Long-Term Care Home (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV1 and MV4; SM2 has resolved. All resident cases have been resolved, according to St. Joseph’s Health Care London. Five staff cases remained active as of Thursday. Five deaths have been reported)
  • Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility-wide).

Since March, the region has seen at least 93 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including 67 at local seniors’ facilities.

Schools

No new school cases were reported by the Thames Valley District School Board or by the London District Catholic School Board.

As of Wednesday, one case is active, according to TVDSB. It was reported at Chippewa Public School on Sunday.

At least 181 school and child-care centre cases have been reported since the pandemic began.

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Students in London and Middlesex will be among those returning to in-person learning next week.

Elementary school students are set to begin Monday, while secondary school students will begin on Thursday, according to the TVDSB and LCDSB.

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TVDSB officials said the Thursday return date for secondary school students coincides with the start of the third quadmester, while LDCSB officials said the delay was “due to the transition between octomesters and secondary PD day.”

The return of in-person learning also includes local schools under Conseil scolaire catholique Providence and Conseil scolaire Viamonde.

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The return to class will come with added safety precautions, including a mandate that all students in grades 1 through 12 will be required to wear a mask outside when physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Stricter screening protocols are also being implemented, in addition to expanded access to targeted asymptomatic testing.

More details are expected next week.

Vaccinations and testing

All high-risk retirement home residents and long-term care home residents received their initial vaccines as of Wednesday.

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Thousands of staff had been vaccinated at the Agriplex before it closed temporarily last week. The closure will remain in place until at least next Friday due to supply issues involving the Pfizer vaccine.

The health unit this week issued a draft vaccination plan for the region. The goal is to get at least 75 per cent of eligible recipients in London-Middlesex vaccinated in as short a time as possible.

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The health unit says some 377,685 people must be vaccinated with a total of 755,370 doses, something that will be done through the use of mass vaccination and mobile clinics, primary care settings and pharmacies.

London has one mass vaccination clinic at the Western Fair District Agriplex, and the health unit says it’s pursuing locations for three additional clinics, with the goal of administering 3,000 vaccines per day. The additional clinics are expected to be open by mid-February.

“The help unit is working with a bunch of people in the community to get the infrastructure built so that when the supply shows up, we are ready to hit the ground running,” Dr Alex Summers, the region’s associated medical officer of health, said Friday in an interview with 980 CFPL’s London Live with Mike Stubbs.

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Health officials say the draft plan will see feedback from the ministry before being finalized. Comments and input from the public is also being sought.

In addition to the mass clinics and the mobile clinics that have been targeting long-term care and retirement home residents, shelters, group homes and housebound individuals, health officials say primary care settings, in particular, will play a critical role in the program, namely in the third phase of the province’s three-phase rollout.

“The big question, of course, is ‘who’s up next and how will I know when it’s my turn?’ That continues to be information (that) we’re waiting on the province to tell us,” Summers said.

“Here locally, we’ll have to make some further prioritization decisions around how much supply we have. But you can be sure you will know when your turn is up, and the focus will be on making sure that the people who get it are the people who are at most risk from a poor outcome from COVID-19.”

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It remains to be seen whether an announced drop in Moderna vaccine deliveries will impact the local vaccination effort. Moderna will ship only about three-quarters of the expected supply next week, cutting Canada’s next shipment by more than 50,000 doses.

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It is more bad news for Canada’s already troubled vaccine supplies after Pfizer cut back its deliveries by more than two-thirds since mid-January.

Pfizer is also pushing Canada to change the label on its vaccine to declare that each vial contains six doses, instead of five, allowing the drugmaker to meet its delivery contract by sending fewer vials.

With developments on the vaccine front changing almost daily, Summers likened trying to plan out a vaccination framework to “trying to juggle on a trampoline.”

“You anticipate you’re going to get so much stock and then that changes. And I would say that’s no fault of anybody. This is a really, really complicated and unprecedented rollout out of a really scarce product. So we have to juggle while trying to jump on that trampoline. And it isn’t easy,” he said.

“What we can plant our feet on is the idea that, at some point, we will have vaccine, and we’re going to want to get it out quickly. So we can build for that.”

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Visitation rates to the city’s two COVID-19 assessment centres have remained steady through the week, albeit with lower overall numbers than previous weeks.

The Carling Heights centre averaged 327 visits per day between Jan. 18 and 22, and has averaged 297 from Monday to Thursday of this week.

The site averaged 462 per day between Jan. 11 and Jan. 15.

At Oakridge Arena, the site averaged 288 visits per day between Jan. 18 and 22 and has averaged 259 so far this week.

Between Jan. 11 and 15, the site saw an average of 331 visits per day.

Officials with the Thames Valley Family Health Team have attributed the slump to several factors, including the province’s stay-at-home order, and to the ceasing of testing for travel.

Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only.

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Ontario is reporting 1,837 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 58 more deaths related to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliot says there are 595 new cases in Toronto, 295 in Peel Region and 170 in York Region.

More than 69,000 tests have been completed since Ontario’s last daily update.

The province also says 51 cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 have been identified in Ontario so far.

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Meanwhile, Ontario says 10,215 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since Thursday’s daily report.

A total of 327,455 doses of a vaccine have been administered so far.

There have been 264,300 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began. Of those cases, 237,871 have been resolved and 6,072 people have died in the province from the virus.

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Eleven people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 16 have recovered, Southwestern Public Health reported Friday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 2,275, with 2,037 recoveries and 56 deaths.

The most recent death was reported Thursday involving a woman in her 90s who was a resident of Trillium Retirement Home, where an outbreak had been active until Thursday.

There remain 182 active cases in the region. At least 56 of them are in Woodstock, while 35 are in Tillsonburg, 22 in Norwich, 20 in St. Thomas, 13 in Aylmer and 12 in East Zorra-Tavistock. Nine other municipalities have active case tallies under 10.

At least four people were in hospital for COVID-19 as of Thursday, with one in intensive care, according to the health unit.

At least 41 people have died since the beginning of the month, while 896 cases have been reported.

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One new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region, health officials say.

The outbreak is located at Extendicare in Port Stanley and is linked to one staff case. It’s the second outbreak to be seen at the facility this month, following one declared Jan. 8 that was linked to two staff infections.

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Elsewhere, additional cases have been reported at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock. At least six additional residents and one additional staff member have contracted the virus, bringing the facility’s total to 35 resident and six staff cases.

The active outbreaks were declared on:

  • Jan. 28 at Extendicare in Port Stanley (one staff case)
  • Jan. 24 at Arches Transitional Bed Program in Woodstock (one staff case)
  • Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (35 resident, six staff cases; six resident cases and one staff case more than the day before)
  • Jan. 21 at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas (one staff case)
  • Jan. 16 at Chartwell Oxford Gardens (one staff case)
  • Jan. 15 at Dayspring Residence in Tillsonburg (one resident case)
  • Jan. 4 at Caressant Care Bonnie Place – St. Thomas (two resident cases and one death)
  • Jan. 1 at Woodingford Lodge – Woodstock (two resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 19 at Terrace Lodge in Aylmer (six staff cases)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 36 staff cases; nine deaths)
  • Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 52 staff cases; 20 deaths)

No other details have been released. At least 32 outbreaks have been declared in the region at 21 facilities during the pandemic.

Meantime, no new school cases have been reported, and none are active in the region at any school operated by the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.

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According to the health unit, 408 cases have been confirmed during the pandemic in Woodstock, while 390 have been in St. Thomas, 355 in Aylmer and 320 in Tillsonburg.

The caseload has impacted Aylmer much harder than the other locales. The town’s case incidence rate is equivalent to 4,738 cases per 100,000 people. Woodstock’s is 997 and St. Thomas 1,002.

Elsewhere, 194 cases have been in Norwich, 159 in Bayham, 99 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 91 in Ingersoll, 52 in Zorra, 47 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 43 in Central Elgin, 24 in Southwold, 21 in West Elgin, 17 in Dutton/Dunwich and eight in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 2.4 per cent the week of Jan. 17, down from 3.2 the week before and 5.9 the week before that.

Health officials say 5,239 tests were conducted the week of Jan. 10, down slightly from the roughly 5,711 done the week before.

Four people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 34 have been listed as recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported Friday.

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The region’s total case tally is now 1,203, an increase of three from the day before. The health unit says one previously reported case was reassigned to another health unit.

At least 1,078 cases have been deemed recovered by the health unit, while 39 people have died, most recently on Thursday involving a resident of Caressant Care Nursing Home.

Health unit figures show at least 17 people have died since the beginning of the month.

Of the four new cases Friday, health officials said two were from North Perth and one each were from Bluewater and Goderich.

As of Friday, at least 86 cases were listed as active in the region. Half of them, 43, are located just in Huron East, while 19 are in North Perth and seven are in Stratford. Nine other municipalities have active case tallies under 10.

At least six people are currently in hospital due to COVID-19.

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No new outbreaks have been declared and none have been deemed resolved.

Three are active, with two at long-term care homes and one at a retirement home. No new cases were reported in relation to them on Friday.

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The outbreaks were declared on:

  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor in Huron East (37 resident, eight staff cases)
  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 26 staff cases; 12 deaths))
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, nine staff cases; one death)

Earlier this week, an outbreak at Stratford General Hospital in the facility’s surgery unit was declared over. It was linked to four staff cases.

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No new school cases have been reported, but two have recovered.

The two cases were tied to Listowel District Secondary School and St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Both were reported on Jan. 15.

One case remains active at Listowel District.

The update leaves six active cases at schools in Huron-Perth, all under the banner of the Avon-Maitland District School Board:

  • Listowel District Secondary School
  • North Perth Westfield Elementary School (two cases)
  • Stratford District Secondary School
  • Stratford Intermediate School (two cases)

No cases were listed as active by the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

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At least 516 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 330 in North Perth 131 in Perth East, 29 in Perth South and 26 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 375 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 89 in South Huron, 69 in Huron East, 46 in Central Huron, 39 in Morris Turnberry, 37 in North Huron, 32 in Bluewater and Howick, 20 in ACW and 11 in Goderich.

In Stratford, 284 cases have been reported, while in St. Marys, 28 have been reported.

According to the health unit, the region’s test positivity rate rose slightly the week of Jan. 17, up to 3.2 per cent from 3.1 the week prior. At least 3,635 people were tested that week.

One person has died and 10 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Lambton Public Health reported on Friday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case total to 1,817, of which 1,673 have recovered, an increase of six from the day before.

A total of 37 people have died in the county. Details on Friday’s reported death were not immediately available.

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There are at least 107 active cases of the virus in Lambton. At least seven people were in hospital at Bluewater Health as of Friday.

At least 970 cases have been reported in Lambton since Jan. 1, more than were reported through all of 2020 — 847.

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One new institutional outbreak has been declared in the region, located at Lambton Meadowview Villa, a long-term care home in Petrolia. The outbreak is tied to one staff case.

It’s the fourth outbreak to be declared at the facility during the pandemic, and the second this month. All four outbreaks collectively have been linked to a total of five staff cases.

Eight outbreaks are active in the region, including five at seniors’ facilities, two at workplaces and one at Bluewater Health hospital.

Elsewhere, one death was reported at Vision Rest Home, while two new staff cases were reported at Village on the St. Clair and one patient case was reported in the outbreak at Bluewater Health.

The long-term care and retirement home outbreaks are as follows, declared on:

  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (32 resident, 14 staff cases, two deaths; one death more than the day before)
  • Jan. 11 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (17 resident, five staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (27 resident, 14 staff cases, three deaths; two staff cases more than the day before).

Meantime, the hospital outbreak is tied to three patient and six staff cases, while 13 cases have been reported in the two workplace outbreaks.

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No information has been released relating to possible new school cases. The health unit does not report school cases, and the Lambton Kent District and St. Clair Catholic District school boards have paused public reporting while students are in remote learning.

The region will remain in remote learning next week.


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Coronavirus: U.S. reports 379 confirmed cases of COVID-19 U.K. virus variant

Location details for the county’s reported cases are not available.

The county’s test positivity rate fell to 2.3 per cent as of the week of Jan. 17 to 23, down from 4.5 the week before and 6.2 the week before that.

At least 4,231 people were tested the week of Jan. 17, compared to a total of 5,027 a week earlier.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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