COVID-19: 105 new instances in London-Middlesex; 30 in Elgin Oxford – London

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Jump to: Hospitalizations – Outbreaks – Schools – Vaccinations and Testing – Ontario – Elgin and Oxford – Huron and Perth – Sarnia and Lambton

The Middlesex-London region has surpassed the 9,000 COVID-19 case mark with the latest update from health officials.

On Friday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 105 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total case count to 9,007.

At least 193 deaths have been reported to date, most recently on Wednesday.

As of Friday, at least 1,175 cases remain active in the region.

Since the month began, London and Middlesex has recorded at least 1,224 cases. A record 176 cases were reported on Wednesday by the health unit.

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The local seven-day rolling case average stands at 133 as of Thursday.

The local test positivity rate stood at 7.7 per cent as of April 4, up from 5.9 the week prior, according to the most recent figures. The tally is based on 10,328 tests compared to 10,527 a week earlier. The provincial rate for the week of April 4 was 8.3 per cent.

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Of the 105 new cases, 96 are from London while, one is in Strathroy-Caradoc, two in Thames Centre, and five cases are pending location data.

Infections are spread out among the age brackets tracked by the health unit, however younger people make up much of the cases. At least 42 per cent of Friday’s cases are under 30, and 67 per cent are under 40.

At least 15 cases involve people 19 or younger; 30 are in their 20s; 26 are in their 30s; 10 each are in their 40s and 50s; nine are in their 60s; four in their 70s; and zero are 80 or older.

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The number of variant cases (presumed and confirmed via genomic analysis) in London-Middlesex stands at 873, an increase of 73 from the previous day.

At least 871 of those cases are the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., while at least two are the P.1 variant, detected in Brazil, an increase of 73, respectively, from Thursday.

Meanwhile, the number of cases that have screened positive for a spike protein mutation common to a variant, but which have not yet undergone genomic analysis, stands at 192.

It should be noted that the health unit recently changed how it counts variant cases to bring local reporting in line with the province.

Officials are now adding cases that are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant into a single tally, along with cases which have undergone genomic analysis and confirmed to involve a variant.

A note on the process of confirming variant cases:

  • Confirming a variant is a multi-step process. Positive COVID-19 cases undergo initial screening for spike protein mutations common to variants (N501Y, E484K, and K417N), and if found to have one or more, undergo further genomic analysis to determine the specific variant involved (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, or P.1) — a process that can take up to two weeks.
  • Since last month, however, the province has stopped conducting genomic analysis on cases which screen positive for just the N501Y mutation. Now, those cases are presumed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, as that variant has only been associated with the N501Y mutation.
  • Cases that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutations are still being sent for genomic analysis as they have been associated with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

Of the 187 cases that have screened positive for a mutation, but which have not had their genomes analyzed, at least 61 have screened positive for the E484K mutation.

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Another 181 have screened positive for the N501Y mutation, but because the E484K mutation has not been ruled out for any of them, they have not been added to the region’s separate variant case tally.

The health unit says people under 30 account for roughly 60 per cent of all cases in the region which have either been labelled a variant, or have screened positive for a spike protein mutation.

Variant and screened mutation cases comprised roughly 52.1 per cent of infections seen during the week of March 28. The tally stood at 38.5 per cent as of the week of April 4, however figures from that week are still being finalized.

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It’s been one week since the province entered a stay-at-home order to curb rapidly rising case rates.

Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said Thursday that any sign of the stay-at-home order’s impacts on local and provincial case rates won’t be seen for at least another week or two.

“This is because it can be up to two weeks after someone has been exposed to COVID-19 for them to become symptomatic and be diagnosed with that illness. We need to have that two-week window in place to fully see the effect of that stay-at-home order,” he said.

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“We experienced that back in late December and early January. Two to three weeks after that stay-at-home order, we did see case numbers plateau and begin to fall,” he continued.

Summers added that the health unit, in partnership with city bylaw enforcement and police, continues to follow up with any complaints when it comes to order violations by businesses or members of the public.






4:07Answering your COVID-19 questions, April 15


Answering your COVID-19 questions, April 15

During the briefing, Mayor Ed Holder was asked whether any progress had come in the push to designate the city’s N6A postal code, or any area of the city, as a COVID-19 hot spot by the province, opening it up to more resources and vaccine doses.

N6A encompasses part of Western University’s campus, off-campus student neighbourhoods, and about half of Old North, as well as much of the downtown core and Richmond Row.

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The area saw a roughly 30 per cent test positivity rate as of April 3, the most of any area of the province at that time, according to provincial data made public by the non-profit health research firm ICES. Newer data has not been released yet. Western has also seen multiple outbreaks in its student residences.

Holder replied that the Greater Toronto Area has been the main focus of the province given the region’s population size and density, but he notes officials in the Ford government have “heard very clearly” that London also be recognized as a hot spot.

“By the way, it’s not a designation we wear with any pride, it’s a tragedy,” Holder said.

“As vaccines become available, it’s my belief that will have some real impact on us being declared a hot spot as needed.”

The region’s surge in cases in recent weeks has prompted changes to the way the health unit contact traces lower-risk cases.

As previously reported, lower-risk cases are being asked to assist the health unit in notifying their close contacts of their exposure and providing directions on how to quarantine.

Higher-risk cases, such as those in primary care settings and riskier workplaces, are still being fully investigated, health officials say.

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At least 7,997 cases have been confirmed in the City of London since the pandemic began, while 311 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, 271 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 113 in Thames Centre, 60 in Lucan-Biddulph, 52 in North Middlesex, 51 in Southwest Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 136 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

At least 65 COVID-19 inpatients were in the care of London Health Sciences Centre as of noon Friday, according to an organization spokesperson. The tally surpasses the previous record of 57 set on Dec. 7, according to provincial data.

In an email, the LHSC spokesperson said 22 of the 29 critical/ICU patients reported Thursday were from outside of the London-Middlesex region, and had been transferred to LHSC. Of the 36 inpatients not in critical or intensive care, five were from outside of the region, they said.

Nine staff at LHSC are currently infected with COVID-19, unchanged from the day before.

“One of the objectives of all of the work that we’ve done as a community over the last year has been to ensure that our hospital system has not been overwhelmed. In addition, of course, to ensure that we don’t have as many people as could have been, die from this illness,” said Dr. Summers.

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“So when we hear of those numbers, it’s a significant concern, and as we heard on Monday from Dr. (Adam) Dukelow at London Health Sciences Centre, they are unfortunately having to put contingency plans into place to support both admissions from our community as well as from others across our province.”


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2:18Ontario’s record COVID-19 hospitalizations threatens health care system


Ontario’s record COVID-19 hospitalizations threatens health care system

During his opening remarks, London Mayor Ed Holder implored people to follow pandemic guidelines to ease rising hospitalization rates.

“We only have so many beds, so many doctors, so many resources and so many ICU spaces available. COVID doesn’t care about our capacity, and our capacity is not unlimited,” he said.

“We’re nearing the point across Ontario where medical professionals may well be placed in the unthinkable position of having to choose who receives such care and who does not. Can you imagine having to make that kind of decision? Can you imagine being told the decision went against your loved one?”

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Hospitals across Ontario have been ramping down non-essential and non-urgent medical procedures this week to ensure they have the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients as infections keep rising, including among younger Ontarians.

This week, the province set new records with the number of patients hospitalized and in intensive care units due to COVID-19.

Updated numbers weren’t immediately available, but earlier this week, Dr. Adam Dukelow, chief medical officer with LHSC, said surgical capacity had been reduced by at least 30 per cent at both University and Victoria hospitals.

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St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHCL) listed no COVID-19 patients in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital, however, at least 13 cases are active within the organization as a whole — a decline of 11 from the previous day.

There are two patient and four staff cases within SJHCL linked to an outbreak at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building, and seven staff cases that are not outbreak-related.

At least 439 people in London-Middlesex have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 71 in intensive care, the health unit says.

Outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared or resolved.

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Two outbreaks remain active at health-care institutions, both at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building (G2, G5, and H2).

St. Joseph’s Health Care London says at least two patient cases and four staff cases are currently active as a result of the outbreak.

No outbreaks are currently active at any local long-term care or retirement home. Outbreaks at those facilities have accounted for roughly 793 of the region’s cases and 106 of its deaths.

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A non-institutional workplace outbreak remains active at Cargill’s London meat processing facility.

The outbreak had been linked to as many as 87 cases as of Thursday, an increase of five from the previous update on Tuesday. The surge in cases has prompted production at the plant to be halted temporarily.

The company had no definite timeline for when it expected the plant to open. The facility employs around 900 people and processes some 80,000 chickens per day.

“An entire department has been placed into quarantine because of the transmission we’ve seen amongst staff within that department,” said Dr. Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health.

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Elsewhere, an outbreak is also still active at the city’s jail.

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre outbreak has seen active cases ebb and flow since it was declared on Jan. 18.

The tally rose to nine on March 31, fell slightly, and then rose to 13 on April 11 where it stood as of Tuesday, the most recent data available from the province.

At least four staff cases were active at the jail as of earlier this week, according to a spokesperson with the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Overall, the jail outbreak has been linked to at least 49 inmate and 34 staff cases. Up until it was declared in January, EMDC had only seen two reported inmate cases.

Details on the Western University outbreaks can be found below.

Schools

At least eight new COVID-19 cases have been reported associated with local schools, according to the health unit and local school boards.

One case each has been reported at the following schools:

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  • Cornerstone 1 (Alternative Education)
  • Mitchell Hepburn Public School
  • Northbrae Public School
  • Princess Anne French Immersion Public School
  • Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School
  • Sir John A. Macdonald
  • St. Mark Catholic School
  • St. Anthony, London
  • Holy Rosary, London
  • St. Anne, London

At least 35 cases that are associated with schools are currently active in London and Middlesex. A full list can be found on the MLHU website.

Outbreaks are also still active involving:

  • Providence Reformed Collegiate
  • East Carling Public School
  • St. Anne’s Catholic School
  • Holy Rosary Catholic School
  • Northridge Public School
  • Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School

At least 324 cases involving elementary and secondary schools in the region have been reported during the pandemic.

Schools are on spring break right now, but will move to online learning for the foreseeable future starting next week.

“We are committed to providing all students with a high-quality remote learning experience while schools are closed,” said Mark Fisher, director of education for the Thames Valley District School Board, in a statement Thursday.

“No student will be disadvantaged by this interruption to in-person learning.”

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Meanwhile, at least 44 cases involving child care/early years settings have been confirmed during the pandemic, an increase of five from the day before.

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At least 13 cases are active, associated with five facilities.

Five of the cases are associated with Faith Day Nursery in London, which declared an outbreak on Tuesday, and three cases are associated with Kodorable Child Care Centre in London, which declared an outbreak on April 8. Three cases are associated with Stoneybrook Early Childhood Learning Centre-London Bridge.

Elsewhere, one case each is associated with London French Day Care Centre Inc. in London and La Ribambelle – St. Jeanne D’Arc.


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4:25Educators face another hurdle in a year that’s been full of ups and downs


Educators face another hurdle in a year that’s been full of ups and downs

In post-secondary, outbreaks remain active in eight student residences linked to Western University.

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Together, they’re associated with at least 138 cases as of Monday, with 44 alone located at Saugeen-Maitland Hall, Western University’s largest student residence.

The health unit did not have an updated tally on Thursday, but Summers said few additional cases have been reported as students have largely returned home following the completion of the semester.

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“As a result, with increasing distance and a reduction in the amount of people in a congregate living setting, the numbers are declining quite a bit,” he said.

“As we know, that drove quite a bit of activity within that N6A postal code, and so it is certainly good news to see that those numbers are reducing.”

In all, seven of Western’s eight first-year student residences have active outbreaks.

Outbreaks are active at the following residence halls (case tallies as of Monday):

  • King’s Commons – 7 cases
  • Essex Hall – 8 cases
  • Perth Hall – 9 cases
  • Elgin Hall – 10 cases
  • Delaware Hall – 16 cases
  • Ontario Hall – 17 cases
  • Medway-Sydenham Hall – 27 cases
  • Saugeen-Maitland Hall – 44 cases

Vaccinations and Testing

More than 108,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered locally.

Local health officials continue to push for anyone 60 or older to book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Eligibility for the age group opened up on Tuesday, the same day the health unit also expanded booking slots for far as four weeks out.

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Dr. Summers estimates that roughly 10,000 appointment slots have been utilized by those in the 60 and over crowd, and more slots become available every day.

Three mass vaccination clinics are currently in operation in the London-Middlesex region. The health unit plans to open a fourth, but current vaccine supply levels have delayed its start. The three clinics currently operating are running well below their maximum capacity.

More information on eligibility can be found on the MLHU’s website. Eligible residents are asked to visit the local vaccine booking website or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment at one of the region’s three mass vaccination clinics. Online appointments are encouraged due to the high call volume.

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During Thursday’s briefing, Summers said that the clinic running at the North London Optimist Community Centre (NLOCC), which up until now has been doling out Moderna shots, has had to pivot to offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a result of major Moderna shipment delays.

“The Moderna deliveries are somewhat unpredictable, so we do try and schedule appointments around a window of delivery so that we don’t have to cancel appointments,” Summers said.

“We did, though, transition NLOCC to Pfizer mainly because our supply of Pfizer was higher. We’re trying to use as many appointment slots at one go as we can, and we will modify the type of vaccine delivered at any of our mass (vaccination) clinics as necessary in order to fully get that vaccine out the door.”

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The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are currently being administered at the three mass vaccination clinics.


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0:45COVID-19 vaccines ‘don’t rest in provincial freezers’: Ontario health official


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Summers said it was a concern of the health unit that the London-Middlesex region may see reductions in vaccine supply as the province shifts focus, and vaccine resources, to designated hot spots.

“We continue to highlight our numbers here. They’ve certainly been high. And I know that the province is aware of the high amount of activity that we have seen here,” he said.

“We, too, have a desperate need for as much vaccine as we can get. We send it out the door as quickly as we receive it, we are working with primary care, we are supporting pharmacies in their rollout, and we hope that we can see as much vaccine as possible.”

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Summers stressed that those eligible to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot should get vaccinated at a participating pharmacy. At least 26 were giving the shot just in the city of London as of earlier this week.

A full list of participating pharmacies can be found on the province’s website. Residents are asked to book a spot with the pharmacies themselves.

Meanwhile, the region’s two main assessment centres, at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, remain open and operating by appointment.

The local test positivity rate stood at 7.7 per cent as of the week of April 4, up from 5.9 the week prior, according to the most recent figures.

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Ontario

Ontario is reporting 4,812 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking another single-day high for the second day in a row. The provincial total now stands at 408,383.

Friday’s case count surpassed Thursday’s which held the previous record of 4,736 new cases as the province continues to grapple with surging COVID-19 hospitalizations. In the past seven days, five of those saw daily case numbers above 4,000.

According to Friday’s report, 1,469 cases were recorded in Toronto, 851 in Peel Region, 491 in York Region, 366 in Ottawa, 268 in Durham Region and 204 in Hamilton.

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All other local public health units reported fewer than 200 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 7,664 as 25 more deaths were recorded.

Ontario reported a record 1,955 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 23 from the previous day) with an all-time high of 701 patients in intensive care units (up by 42) and 480 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up by 38).

Active cases in Ontario now stand at 39,977 — up from the previous day when it was at 38,341. At the peak of the second wave coronavirus surge in January, active cases hit just above 30,000.

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Elgin and Oxford

Thirty new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Elgin-Oxford, officials with Southwestern Public Health reported Friday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 3,140, of which 2,870 have resolved, an increase of 12 from the previous day.

At least 72 deaths have been reported during the pandemic, the most recent one Thursday. Thursday’s reported death involved a woman in her 80s from Woodstock, according to a health unit spokesperson. It’s the third death to be reported in the region this month.

At least 198 cases are currently ongoing in the region, including 74 in St. Thomas, 46 in Woodstock, 14 in Blandford-Blenheim, and 13 in Tillsonburg. All other areas have cases six and under.

At least eight people are currently hospitalized in Elgin-Oxford, with two people in intensive care, one more than the day before.

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During a media briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Joyce Lock, the region’s medical officer of health, urged people to stay home, noting half of the region’s active cases, as of that date, involved people under 40.

“Do respect the stay-at-home order. We can see from our cases and our contact tracing that people are still socializing, often with other families or relatives or people they know,” Lock said.

“Just because you know them, you still need to stay apart, because this socializing is still spreading the virus in our region.”

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The number of variant cases identified in the region rose by 15 to 233.

Of those, 218 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K.

Cases are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, as they were found during the initial screening process to only have one specific spike protein mutation, named N501Y. The B.1.1.7 variant has been associated with only this mutation.

At least 94 of these 204 B.1.1.7 cases are still considered to be active.

A note on cases being presumed B.1.1.7:

  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been associated with the N501Y spike protein mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, have been associated with mutations N501Y, E484K and K417N.
  • As a result, any specimens screening positive for just N501Y are presumed by the province to involve the B.1.1.7 variant and aren’t being sent for further genomic testing.
  • Specimens that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutations will undergo genomic testing.

The health unit says eight cases, one active and seven resolved, have screened positive for the E484K spike gene mutation common to the B.1.351 and P.1 variants. Another seven, two active and five resolved, have screened positive for both E484K and N501Y mutations.

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Genomic analysis is underway on these 14 cases to determine the specific variants involved.

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The health unit says more than 32,000 residents have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine as of April 11, the most recent figures available.

Two clinics are currently running, one in St. Thomas and one in Woodstock, with a clinic soon to open in Tillsonburg.

At least 10 pharmacies are also doling out doses of the AstraZeneca shot to people 55 and older as part of a provincially run pilot. Appointments should be made directly with a participating pharmacy.

During Wednesday’s media briefing, Dr. Lock said the health unit was also working to bring on board some local family physicians to offer the vaccine to their patients. Details are still murky.

“Also, while I don’t have a date, we will be working intensively within the N5H postal code to get vaccines to those who are 50-plus in line with the province’s hot spot strategy. Our approach will be a combination of physicians, pharmacies and mobile clinics,” Lock said.

Last week, the postal code N5H, centred around Aylmer, was named a COVID-19 hot spot by the Ontario government, meaning it will be prioritized for more vaccine doses and will see younger age groups able to be immunized.

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Premier Doug Ford also announced that people aged 18 and older in hot spots would be eligible for a shot, but did not say how the process would unfold, leaving many eligible residents frustrated.

The province has said the 18-plus rollout will start with the hardest-hit neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel, expanding to other regions later based on local numbers.

Mobile sites and pop-up clinics, largely organized by community groups, will target residents aged 18 and older in “high risk” neighbourhoods within certain postal codes.

Last week, Lock said the health unit was still working out details of the 18-plus announcement, including whether to bring the age eligibility as low as 18.

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Several cases are active in the region. Full school case lists can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

The Thames Valley District School Board listed Woodstock’s Central Public School as being closed as of Thursday. The school was closed following an incident of “significant exposure” at the school two weeks ago.

TVDSB officials had said students there would return to in-person learning after the spring break, but students provincewide will be moving to remote-learning as of Monday in a bid to clamp down on rising case rates.

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3:03Conservative MP questions dropping COVID-19 screening for travellers from Brazil, citing report


Conservative MP questions dropping COVID-19 screening for travellers from Brazil, citing report

Two outbreaks remain active in the region.

One is located at Metcalfe Gardens in St. Thomas and is linked to two staff cases. The other, at Caressant Care Bonnie Place, also in St. Thomas is linked to three resident and two staff cases, one resident case more than the day before.

The health unit says a total of 677 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 561 have been in St. Thomas, 487 in Aylmer and 370 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 216 cases have been in Norwich, 174 in Bayham, 149 in Ingersoll, 126 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 75 in Blandford-Blenheim, 75 in Central Elgin, 67 in Zorra, 61 in South-West Oxford, 33 in Dutton/Dunwich, 27 in Southwold, 24 in West Elgin and 17 in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 3.0 per cent as of the week of April 4, up from 2.1 per cent a week earlier. Roughly 4,575 people were tested compared to 4,275 the previous week.

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Huron and Perth

Six new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Huron and Perth, local health officials said Friday.

Three were reported in North Perth. One each was reported in West Perth, North Huron, and Huron East. One case previously reported was reassigned to another health unit.

The increase, one of the highest seen in recent weeks, brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,515, of which 1,408, an increase of 13 from the day before. At least 52 deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.

At least 55 cases are currently active in the region, including 13 in Stratford and 14 in North Perth. The tally is roughly the same as was seen in early February.

One person is currently in hospital, the health unit says.

Meanwhile, the number of cases that have screened positive for a spike protein mutation consistent with a coronavirus variant is at 44, up by two from the day before.

At least nine cases have been confirmed through further lab testing to be the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., according to Public Health Ontario.

Few details remain limited about the remaining cases, including what spike protein mutations they screened positive for.

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At least 32,215 vaccine doses have been administered in Huron-Perth as of April 15. The tally includes first and second doses.

Earlier this week, the health unit reported that no local clinics would be open this week to book future appointments due to vaccine supply issues.

The HPPH website is showing no available vaccine appointments, and booking temporarily halted for May 4 to 8.

The HPPH website is showing no available vaccine appointments, and booking temporarily halted for May 4 to 8.

Huron Perth Public Health

“Everyone who has booked an appointment in the next few weeks will be vaccinated,” the health unit said in a statement, adding it is “prepared to administer all the vaccine we receive.”

“We have had very good uptake from eligible populations and HPPH clinics have been fully booked. The rate limiting step in Huron Perth (and all across Ontario) has been vaccine supply.

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“This is not unexpected, as the projections from the Federal Government and the Provincial Government have always been that it would take many months to reach their total population with a first dose.”

More information on the local vaccine campaign can be found on the health unit’s website. When vaccination slots open up again, those looking to book an appointment are asked to do so via the local booking system or by calling 1-833-753-2098.

People aged 55 and older are also able to receive an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the province’s ongoing pharmacy immunization program.

Local health units are not directly involved, and residents are asked to contact the pharmacies directly. A list of local participating pharmacies can be found on the province’s website.


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1:53Ontario’s Grey Bruce Health Unit declares COVID-19 ‘critical threshold’ amid case surge


Ontario’s Grey Bruce Health Unit declares COVID-19 ‘critical threshold’ amid case surge

Two workplace outbreaks currently active in the region. No details on the workplaces are known at this time.

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No other outbreaks are active in Huron-Perth.

At least five cases are active involving four schools.

Two cases involve F.E. Madill Secondary School while one case each is associated with Shakespeare Public School in Stratford, Jeanne Sauvé Catholic Elementary School in Stratford and St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in Goderich.

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At least 598 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 368 in North Perth and 140 in Perth East, while at least 493 have been reported in Huron County, with 109 in South Huron and 105 in Huron East.

Stratford has reported at least 386 in total, while St. Marys has seen 38.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.5 per cent the week of April 4, up from 0.8 the week earlier.

Sarnia and Lambton

Eight more people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Lambton County, local health officials reported on Friday.

It brings the county’s pandemic case tally to 3,098, of which 2,930 have resolved, an increase of 13 from the day before. At least 54 deaths have been reported, most recently on Wednesday when two deaths were reported.

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At least 114 cases remain active in Lambton, health officials say. Seven people are currently in the care of Bluewater Health, down two from the day before.

At least 250 variant cases have been identified in Lambton, one more than the day before.

Of those, at least 198 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., according to the province.

Note on the presumption of B.1.1.7 cases:

  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been associated with the N501Y spike protein mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, have been associated with mutations N501Y, E484K and K417N.
  • As a result, any specimens screening positive N501Y and negative for E484K are presumed by the province to involve the B.1.1.7 variant and aren’t being sent for further genomic testing.
  • Specimens that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutations will undergo genomic testing.

The remaining 50 cases have either screened positive for the E484K mutation and are undergoing genomic analysis, or they have screened positive for N501Y but their E484K status is unknown.

Read more:
Quebec reports more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases again, 15 more deaths

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The health unit says more than 35,443 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Lambton as of Tuesday, the most recent figures available, meaning roughly 31 per cent of the eligible population has seen at least one shot.

Officials say lacklustre vaccine supply continues to hinder the local campaign. Capacity in Lambton can reach upwards of 15,000 doses per week, but current deliveries only allow for an average of about 5,000.

On Tuesday, officials said that due to a delay of some 4,000 Moderna doses, two immunization clinics, located in Brooke-Alvinston and Forest, had been postponed to April 16 for the Forest clinic and April 23 in Brooke-Alvinston.

“Individuals who had vaccine bookings scheduled for either clinic are asked to arrive at the same time as their original appointment (on the re-scheduled date),” officials said in an update Wednesday.

Those unable to attend due to the schedule change are being asked to contact the health unit at 519-383-8331, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by visiting the health unit’s website.

Multiple pharmacies in Lambton are also continuing to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to those 55 and older as part of the province-run pilot program. Residents are asked to book appointments with the pharmacies directly.


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4:03Pandemic misinformation


Pandemic misinformation

At least six cases Schools have cases within the Clair Catholic District School Board.

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It’s unclear whether any new school cases have been reported within the Lambton-Kent District School Board, as officials there have paused public reporting of new cases during the spring break.

Figures can be found on the websites of the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

No new outbreaks have been declared and only one is active, located at an unspecified workplace and linked to eight cases. The outbreak was declared on April 7.

The health unit says the county’s test positivity rate was 2.8 per cent the week of April 4, up from 2.4 the previous week, but down from 3.3. the week before that.

At least 140,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Lambton.

— With files from Matthew Trevithick, Gabby Rodrigues, and The Canadian Press

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