Coronavirus: 3 deaths, 61 new cases in London-Middlesex; January deadliest month of pandemic

coronavirus 3 deaths 61 new cases in london middlesex january deadliest month of pandemic

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Three people have died and 61 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported Friday in what’s the lowest single-day increase the region has seen in three weeks.

The update brings the London-Middlesex pandemic case tally to 4,872, of which 3,305 people have recovered — an increase of 28 from the day before — and 139 have died.

The deaths are the 35th, 36th and 37th that have been reported so far this month, making January the deadliest month of the pandemic. The region has posted at least one death per day for the last 15 days and has posted at least two deaths per day for the last 14.

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The three deaths reported Friday involved a man in his 70s who was not linked to a seniors’ facility, and a man and woman in their 90s who were associated with a long-term care home, the health unit said.

London and Middlesex has reported at least 1,433 positive infections since the month began, second only to the entire month of December 2020, which recorded a record 1,724.

At least 1,428 cases are currently active in the region.

Read more: ‘Temporary delay’ chops Canada’s deliveries of Pfizer vaccine in half for four weeks

Health unit figures show that 53 of Friday’s cases are from London, while three are from Strathroy-Caradoc, two are from North Middlesex, and one each is from Middlesex Centre and Thames Centre. One case is pending location data.

At least eight cases involve people 19 or younger, 11 each are in their 20s and 30s, six each are in their 40s and 50s, 14 are in their 60s, two are in their 70s and three are 80 or older.

With contact tracing efforts still playing catchup with the recent surge in cases, 48 of Friday’s cases are still pending exposure source data. Seven are due to outbreaks, three are due to close contact with another positive case and three have no known link.

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Health officials believe the region has yet to see the peak of the second wave in terms of new cases.

“I think we’re still climbing. It’s nice to see things levelling off for a few days, but I don’t think that we’ve reached our highest case counts yet,” Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health said on Thursday.

Read more: Canada on track for 10K COVID-19 cases a day, measures must be ‘further intensified,’ feds say

Friday marks the second full day of a provincewide stay-at-home order that came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The order requires residents to stay home except for essential outings, such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries or outdoor exercise.

There’s no set definition from the province of what “essential” means. The government says everyone has their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.

The impact of the order won’t be seen for several weeks.

The province and local police have noted that the order does not give officers the authority to stop people and vehicles at random, or enter homes to ensure compliance.

Police Chief Steve Williams said in a statement Thursday that enforcement locally will continue to be largely complaint-driven, or if officers observe something that contravenes the order.

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“We have been working in partnership with City of London bylaw throughout the pandemic in addressing violations of restrictions and orders, and we will continue to do so,” he said.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Mayor Ed Holder stressed that the province is under a state of emergency for a reason.

“The spirit or the overriding message from the premier is crystal clear: unless it’s for something absolutely essential, stay home. That’s it. It’s very straightforward,” he said.

“The primary concern should not be, ‘If I do this, will I get a ticket?’ It should be, ‘Is this activity worth the risk that I or someone else might get infected with COVID?’”

Read more: Police can’t randomly stop people under coronavirus stay-at-home order, Ontario government says

As of Friday, the region’s seven-day case average stands at 107.0, a decrease from 110.28 on Thursday. The average is still well above the 80.28 seen on Dec. 31.

The 14-day average, meantime, is 107.21, largely unchanged from Thursday. The 14-day average was 75.78 on Dec. 31.

The region’s seven-day case incidence rate stands at 74.1 per 100,000 as of Friday, down from 83 the day before. Ontario’s sits at 61.2 as of Friday, down from 78.6 on Thursday.

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Looking at the entire pandemic, the London-Middlesex incidence rate is 960 cases per 100,000 people to Ontario’s 1,556.1.

Middlesex Centre has seen the biggest impact when it comes to cases. Despite recording a total of 224 cases during the pandemic, the municipality’s small population means that equates to an overall incidence rate of 1,267 cases per 100,000 people.

London, which has seen nearly 19 times the cases (4,222), has an overall incidence rate of 1,043 per 100,000.

Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 169 cases, Thames Centre 87, Lucan Biddulph 30, North Middlesex and South Middlesex 27 each, Adelaide Metcalfe 13 and Newbury two.

At least 71 cases are pending location data.

Hospitalizations

No change has been reported to the number of COVID-19 inpatients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre.

The current figure stands at 35 as of Friday, with at least 14 in critical or intensive care, also unchanged.

The number of active LHSC staff cases has dropped by nine to 19, the organization said.

Read more: Ontario MPP kicked out of Ford’s caucus after letter claims ‘lockdowns are deadlier than COVID’

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No COVID-19 patients were in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital as of late Thursday, the most recent update.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London, however, says at least 23 staff members are currently infected, including 16 related to an outbreak at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care — an increase of four staff cases from the day before.

The health unit says 318 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, including 63 in intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

One new institutional outbreak has been declared and one previous outbreak has been declared over, the health unit says.

The new outbreak was declared active late Thursday at Kensington Village. The outbreak involves the first floor of the facility’s long-term care home, the health unit says.

Elsewhere, an outbreak at Earls Court Village is over. That outbreak had been declared on Dec. 26, and involved the facility’s third floor.

Read more: Coronavirus — Ontario parents, children dealing with stress of virtual learning

Two outbreaks also remain active at Victoria Hospital, located in C6-100 – Geriatric Behavioral Unit and B41 Antenatal. Both are linked to fewer than five patient and five staff cases and no deaths.

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The health unit says several institutional outbreaks remain in place at the following local seniors’ facilities, declared on:

  • Jan. 14 at Kensington Village (first floor of long-term care home)
  • Jan. 11 at Elmwood Place (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 10 at Queens Village (Memory Lane area)
  • Jan. 9 at Fox Hollow Retirement Residence (first floor)
  • Jan. 9 at Glendale Crossing (Lambeth, Westminster)
  • Jan. 8 at Chelsey Park Retirement Community (fifth floor)
  • Jan. 8 at Strathmere Lodge (Sydenham Meadows)
  • Jan. 5 at Oneida Long-Term Care Home (facility-wide)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – fifth floor, second floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (third floor, second floor)
  • Dec. 26 at Oakcrossing Retirement Living (second floor)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 22 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV4; outbreaks in SM1, SM2, SM3, and MV5 have resolved. At least 10 residents and 16 staff were actively infected as of Friday, four more staff cases than the day before. At least three people have died, one more than Thursday)
  • Dec. 8 at Country Terrace (facility-wide).

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Since March, the region has seen at least 88 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 63 at local seniors’ facilities.

Seniors’ facility outbreaks alone are linked to 322 resident cases — two more than Thursday — and 322 staff cases — 11 more than Thursday. They’re also linked to 68 of the region’s deaths.

Schools

No new school cases have been reported and none are active, the health unit said Friday.

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At least 176 cases have been reported tied to schools and child-care centres in London and Middlesex during the pandemic so far.

One new case has been reported involving a local child-care centre. The case involves London Bridge: Huron Heights Early Childhood Learning Centre.

A case is also still active involving Tia’s Castle, the health unit says.

Students in the region, and across southern Ontario, will stay in remote learning until at least Jan. 25. There have been calls to extend the remote learning period due to the state of emergency, including by the union representing Ontario Catholic school teachers.

Vaccinations and testing

No update on the local vaccination effort was available Friday. An update will be released on Monday during the health unit’s media briefing.

During the briefing on Thursday, the region’s medical officer of health said staff with the health unit were set to administer more vaccinations to long-term care and retirement home residents over the coming days, at a planned rate of one facility per day.

“The primary goals in a pandemic are: number one, to reduce the number of deaths; number two, to reduce serious illness and hospitalizations; and number three, to reduce the overall impact on society, including the economy,” Dr. Chris Mackie said.

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Read more: Retired nurses stepping up to help the coronavirus vaccine efforts in London, Ont.

Mackie noted that because some 60 per cent of deaths in the province have occurred in long-term care homes, which represent less than 10 per cent of Ontario’s population, the facilities are currently the best place to maximize the impact of the vaccine.

He added that present demand for the vaccine greatly surpasses available supply.

Phase 1 of the province’s three-phase vaccine rollout is set to run until March, with health-care workers; essential caregivers; adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations; and adults who receive chronic home health care being added to the list of those to be vaccinated.

Phase 2 of the plan is anticipated to begin at the start of April, with the vaccine becoming available to older adults, those who live and work in high-risk congregate settings, front-line essential workers and those with high-risk chronic conditions.

On Friday, the federal government reported that production issues in Europe will temporarily reduce Pfizer’s ability to deliver vaccines to Canada.

The U.S. drugmaker is temporarily reducing deliveries because of issues with its European production lines, and while the company says it can still deliver four million doses by the end of March, it’s no longer guaranteed.

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As of Friday, local assessment centres will no longer perform COVID-19 tests for international travel, in compliance with a recent provincial change.

Those in need of a COVID-19 test before travelling or entering their country of destination are asked to consult alternative local testing options.

According to the health unit, London’s two assessment centres continue to see very high demand, as has been the case since late November.

Carling Heights has seen an average of 468 visits per day over the last seven days, while Oakridge Arena, which is not open on weekends, has seen an average of 333 between Monday and Thursday of this week.

Both centres are continuing to operate by appointment only.

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Ontario is reporting 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 100 more deaths linked to the virus.

Due to database software consolidation, 46 deaths previously reported in Middlesex-London that occurred earlier in the pandemic are included in Ontario’s daily report today.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 800 new cases in Toronto, 618 in Peel Region and 250 in York Region.

Read more: Ontario reports 100 new coronavirus deaths, some unaccounted for during data cleanup

She also says there are 161 new cases in Waterloo and 153 in the Niagara Region.

There were 15,609 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered in Ontario since Thursday report for a total of 174,630 total doses administered.

Ontario is also reporting nearly 76,500 tests completed since the last daily update.

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Forty-two people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 26 have recovered, Southwestern Public Health reported on Friday.

The update beings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,962, of which 1,538 people have recovered and 39 have died, 26 just since Jan. 1.

The region’s two most recent deaths were reported on Thursday involving a 79-year-old man and 82-year-old woman from Elgin.

As of Friday, 385 cases remain active in the region, the health unit says. At least 111 are in Tillsonburg, while 75 are in St. Thomas. Elsewhere, 46 cases are active in Woodstock, 39 in Norwich and 38 in Aylmer. Ten other municipalities have active case tallies under 20.

At least 12 people were in hospital as of Thursday, with four people in intensive care.

Read more: No severe adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines reported in Ontario thus far: officials

One institutional outbreak has been declared over, according to the health unit.

The outbreak, declared at Goodness Retirement Living on Jan. 4, had been linked to one staff case. Elsewhere, active cases remain at multiple facilities, declared on:

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  • Jan. 8 at Extendicare Port Stanley (two staff cases; one more than the day before)
  • Jan. 6 at Trillium Retirement Home (12 resident, five staff cases)
  • 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 (five staff cases)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (40 resident, 37 staff cases, seven deaths; four staff cases more than the day before)
  • Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (80 resident, 49 staff cases, 13 deaths; one staff case more than the day before)

No new school cases have been reported. No cases were listed as active by either the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.

Whether any cases have been reported at any other school boards, or at private schools, is unclear. The health unit does not report school cases itself, instead deferring to the province’s online database, which is not being updated amid remote learning.

Read more: Ontario special education teachers raise safety concerns as classes resume amid COVID-19 pandemic

St. Thomas has seen the highest number of cases in the region, 355, reporting a cumulative incidence rate of 912 cases per 100,000 people.

Aylmer has reported the second-highest number of cases, 317, and has a cumulative incidence rate of 4,231 cases per 100,000.

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Elsewhere, Woodstock has seen 309 cases while Tillsonburg has seen 291, Norwich 165, Bayham 146, East Zorra-Tavistock 82, Ingersoll 76, Blandford Blenheim and Zorra 44 each, South-West Oxford 39, Central Elgin 34, Southwold 20, West Elgin 18, Dutton/Dunwich 15 and Malahide six.

At least six per cent of tests were coming back positive as of the week of Jan. 3, a slight decrease from 6.2 the week before. The health unit says about 5,081 people were tested, down slightly from 5,149 the week before.

Twenty-three people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 12 have recovered, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Friday.

The update brings the region’s total case tally to 972, an increase of just 22 from the day before. The health unit says a previously reported case was reassigned to a different health unit.

At least 837 have recovered and 25 deaths have been reported, most recently on Monday.

At least eight of Friday’s cases come from North Perth, while five are from Stratford and three are from Morris Turnberry. Two each are from Central Huron and South Huron, while one each is from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Bluewater and West Perth.

The region has reported at least 148 cases this month and two deaths.

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As of Friday, at least 110 cases were active in the region, according to the health unit. Of those, nearly half, 50, are in North Perth. Elsewhere, 16 cases are active in Stratford and 15 are active in South Huron. Eleven other municipalities have active case tallies that are five or lower.

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

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On Thursday, health officials in Huron and Perth said limited amounts of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech were being distributed to long-term care residents as outlined in the provincial distribution plan.

Staff from the facilities have also been vaccinated since late December in London at the Western Fair District Agriplex.

The health unit says work is being done to develop local sequencing models and distribution plans that fall in line with the province’s plans, and its ethical framework.

For the broader general public, the health unit says vaccines likely won’t become available for a few months.

“HPPH asks the public to be patient and await further information – there is no vaccination waiting list set up for the general public.”

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

The outbreak had been declared on Jan. 3 at Seaforth Manor in Huron East. It was linked to one staff case. It was the second outbreak to be seen at the facility, following an outbreak from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4, 2020 that was also tied to one staff case.

Elsewhere, an outbreak at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth has seen five new resident and two new staff cases compared to the day before. An outbreak is also active at the facility’s retirement home.

As of Friday, a total of nine institutional outbreaks are in effect, with seven at long-term care homes and two at retirement homes, declared on:

  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (20 resident, two staff cases; five resident and two staff cases more than the day before)
  • Jan. 10 at Spruce Lodge in Stratford (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fordwich Village in North Huron (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 8 at Wildwood Care Centre in St. Marys (one staff case)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (19 resident, four staff cases; one more each than the day before)
  • Jan. 7 at Greenwood Court in Stratford (one staff case)
  • Jan. 4 at Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East (two staff cases)
  • Jan. 1 at Livingstone Manor in North Perth (two resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 18 at Exeter Villa in South Huron [LTC] (36 resident, 11 staff cases; one staff case more than the day before)

At least 32 long-term care and retirement home outbreaks have been reported during the pandemic, linked to at least 217 of the region’s cases. A death toll relating to the outbreaks was not immediately available.

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Two new school cases have been reported in the region.

The cases involve Clinton Public School, according to the Avon Maitland District School Board.

It’s unclear if any cases have been reported outside of the boards as the province has paused the public reporting of school cases during remote learning.

According to the Avon Maitland board, cases remain active at:

  • Avon-Maitland board
  • Clinton Public School (two cases)
  • Elma Township Public School
  • F.E. Madill Secondary School
  • South Huron District High School (four cases)
  • St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute (three cases)
  • Stratford District Secondary School (three cases)

Perth County remains the hardest-hit municipality of the Huron-Perth region, clocking in at a total of 420 cases since the pandemic began. More than half, 242, are in North Perth.

Elsewhere, 275 cases have been in Huron County, 250 have been in Stratford and 27 have been in St. Marys.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 3.3 per cent as of the week of Jan. 3, a minor drop from the 3.5 per cent the week before.

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At least 3,616 people were tested during the week of Jan. 3, slightly higher than the 3,537 tested the week before.

Two people have died and 26 others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Lambton Public Health reported on Friday.

The update brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,502, of which 1,256 people have recovered, an increase of 37 from Thursday.

At least 30 people have died. Health unit figures show the two deaths reported Friday were linked to an ongoing outbreak at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia.

The health unit says there are at least 216 active cases in the region. It’s not clear where the cases are located as the health unit has not made location information public during the pandemic.

At least 11 are in hospital with COVID-19, according to Bluewater Health — a tally unchanged from the day before.

The last few days have seen lower single-day case increases for the county compared to earlier in the month, though it’s unclear if health officials see this as a longer-term trend.

The county has reported at least 655 cases since the month began, and its weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 residents was at least 253 as of provincial figures released Wednesday. The rate was the second-highest in Ontario behind Windsor-Essex.

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One institutional outbreak and one workplace outbreak have been declared over, the health unit says.

The institutional outbreak, declared on Dec. 19 at Trillium Villa in Sarnia, was tied to four staff cases, while the workplace outbreak, declared on Jan. 3, was linked to five cases.

The name and location of the workplace, or any workplaces that have experienced outbreaks, are not made public by the health unit.

An outbreak at Village on the St. Clair has claimed the lives of two residents, the health unit said. The outbreak was declared active on Dec. 30 at the Sarnia retirement home. At least 21 resident and seven staff cases have been reported there, an increase of one staff case from a day earlier.

The Village on the St. Clair outbreak is among nine that remain active at long-term care and retirement homes in the county, declared on:

  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (one staff case)
  • Jan. 11 at Landmark Village in Sarnia (two staff cases; one more than the day before)
  • Jan. 9 at Sumac Lodge in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fiddick’s Nursing Home in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Fiddick’s Retirement Home in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (15 resident, two staff cases)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (Retirement) in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 4 at Fairwinds Lodge in Sarnia (five resident, two staff cases)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (21 resident, seven staff cases; one more staff case than the day before)

A total of 25 seniors’ facility outbreaks have been tied to 104 resident and 73 staff cases and 18 deaths.

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Meantime, one workplace outbreak remains active, tied to seven cases. The outbreak was declared on Jan. 3. The name and location of the workplace have not been made public.

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It’s unclear if any new school cases have been confirmed. No information is available from the two main local boards.

The Lambton Kent District School Board says it is not reporting case data during the mandated remote learning period, while the St. Clair Catholic District School Board has not updated its online COVID-19 page since before the holidays.

The region’s weekly test per cent positivity stood at 6.2 per cent as of the week of Jan. 3, with some 4,614 people tested, roughly the same as the previous week, when the test positivity rate was 6.8 per cent.

A total of at least 80,552 people have been tested in Lambton.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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