Twenty people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 31 have recovered, health officials in London-Middlesex reported on Wednesday.
The update brings the region’s total case tally to 5,934, of which 3,977 people have recovered and 179 have died, according to the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
The two most recent deaths were reported on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s update is a notable drop from the peak in cases seen in early January, a decline that has held relatively steady for the last two weeks.
At least 226 people have tested positive for the virus and four people have died since the start of the month. In comparison, in the first nine days of January, 998 people contracted the virus and 19 died.
Of the 20 new cases reported on Wednesday, 18 are from London while one is from Middlesex Centre and one from North Middlesex.
All but one individual are under the age of 60, with people in their 40s making up the largest group by age with six cases.
Three cases involve people aged 19 or younger, four are in their 20s, two are in their 30s, six are in their 40s, four are in their 50s and one is aged 80 or older. No cases involve people in their 60s or 70s.
The health unit says eight of the 20 cases have no known link, while six are due to contact with another positive case and one to travel. Five cases are pending an exposure source.
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As three regions in the province return to the colour-coded framework Wednesday, the London-Middlesex area will have to wait another six days before it can do the same.
It’s unclear what colour the region will enter, but orange or red is likely, according to Mayor Ed Holder.
The province’s plan to move regions out of the stay-at-home order comes with an “emergency brake” the government could use to quickly move a region into lockdown if it experiences a rapid increase in cases or if its health system becomes overwhelmed.
The region has reported at least four cases of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, first detected in the U.K., unchanged from the day before, according to the latest epidemiologic summary released Wednesday by Public Health Ontario.
No cases have been found yet in the region involving the variant B.1.1.248, which was first detected in Brazil, or variant B.1.351, also known as the N501Y.V2 variant, first detected in South Africa, according to Public Health Ontario.
Testing for the more contagious variants is being done on the provincial level. According to local health officials, Ontario is looking to move toward universal testing for all positive samples of COVID-19 variants.
At least 5,100 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 241 have been in Middlesex Centre.
Elsewhere, at least 198 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 95 in Thames Centre, 50 in Lucan Biddulph, 36 in Southwest Middlesex, 30 in North Middlesex, 15 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.
At least 108 cases have pending location information.
The health unit says 646 of the region’s cases have involved health-care workers.
People in their 20s make up roughly 23 per cent of the region’s overall case count. People under the age of 40 make up just over half of all cases.
The number of COVID-19 patients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 21 as of Wednesday, an increase of one from the day before.
At the same time, the number of COVID-19 patients in critical or intensive care remained unchanged at six, while active staff cases numbered fewer than five, down from five on Tuesday.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London, meantime, reported no COVID-19 patients in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital, while active staff cases within STJCL number four, with three tied to a since-resolved outbreak at Mount Hope.
One patient case has been reported at Parkwood’s Mental Health Care Building.
At least 350 people have been hospitalized for the virus during the pandemic, including 66 admitted to intensive care.
The health unit says no new outbreaks have been declared. No previous outbreaks have been resolved.
Six institutional outbreaks remain active in the region at long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:
Active outbreaks (as of Feb. 8) at seniors’ facilities, as declared on:
- Feb. 3 at Westmount Gardens (Lily and Daisy units)
- Jan. 30 at Henley Place LTC Residence (Victoria unit)
- Jan. 27 at Kensington Village Retirement (5th, 6th and 7th Avenue)
- Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
- Dec. 26 at Extendicare (facility-wide)
- Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)
The region has seen at least 97 institutional outbreaks since the pandemic began. At least 71 have been at local seniors’ facilities.
An outbreak is also active at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.
At least six inmate cases were listed as being active at the jail as of Monday, according to provincial data, an increase of one from the day before. At least 16 inmate cases have since resolved, for a total of at least 22.
Staff cases number at least 21, according to the health unit, however it’s unclear how many are still active. The provincial data does not list staff cases, only inmate ones.
The jail outbreak began on Jan. 18
No new school cases have been reported in London and Middlesex by either the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.
No previous school cases have been resolved.
Six school cases are currently active in the region, with one case each active at Caradoc North Public School, Clara Brenton Public School, Kensal Park Public School, Sir Isaac Brock Public School, St. Mary Choir and Orchestra Catholic School and Westminster Secondary School.
The health unit says at least 191 cases have been reported at local schools and child-care centres during the pandemic.
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As of Wednesday, two cases are active at child-care centres in London and Middlesex. One case is located at Grand Avenue Child Care Centre, while one is located at London Bridge: Springbank Early Childhood Learning Centre.
Elementary schools and high schools in the region returned to in-person learning last week.
The province has yet to announce whether it’s cancelling March break to reign in COVID-19 infections.
Vaccinations and testing
The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.7 per cent as of the week of Jan. 31, down from 2.2 the week before, figures released Wednesday show. The rate has steadily declined since reaching a peak of 6.2 per cent during the week of Jan. 3.
At least 10,060 people were tested during the week of Jan. 31, a slight decrease from the 10,341 tested a week earlier.
An update on the region’s vaccination campaign is expected during a media briefing on Thursday.
The region’s only currently active mass vaccination clinic reopened to the public on Monday after being closed for two weeks. The closure of the Western Fair District Agriplex clinic came as a result of supply issues with the Pfizer vaccine.
Officials have announced plans to open a second clinic at the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges, but details remain limited as to when it’s expected to open.
Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said Monday that work is underway at the community centre, and that the clinic would open in the coming weeks once more vaccine has arrived in the region.
Health officials are planning to open a total of four such clinics to vaccinate up to 3,000 people per day. Details on the remaining two clinics have yet to be announced.
Health unit teams have been administering second doses to long-term care and retirement home residents this week.
Both of the city’s COVID-19 assessment centres continue to operate on an appointment model and continue to see steady, albeit lower, turnout compared to a month ago, when cases were peaking in the region.
The Carling Heights centre saw an average of 302 visits per day between Monday and Friday of last week, slightly higher than the 289 seen the week before.
At Oakridge Arena, which isn’t open on weekends, roughly 268 visits were recorded between last Monday and Friday, close to the 264 seen a week earlier.
Between Jan. 3 and 8, Carling Heights saw an average of 513 visits per day, while Oakridge saw 334.
Ontario is reporting 1,072 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 41 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 393 new cases in Toronto, 196 in Peel Region and 125 in York Region.
She also says more than 52,500 tests were completed since the last daily update.
The province is reporting that 1,709 more cases were resolved since Tuesday’s report.
Ontario says that another 13,486 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province’s last update.
A total of 412,119 doses of a vaccine have been administered in the province so far.
There have been 281,566 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began.
Of those, 261,700 have been resolved and 6,596 people have died.
Health units in Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County moved into the least-restrictive green category on Wednesday.
That means the province’s lockdown and stay-at-home order will lift in those regions, and restaurants and non-essential businesses can reopen.
All remaining regions, except three GTA hot spots, will follow suit next week. Toronto, Peel Region and York Region are set to make the transition Feb. 22.
— This story will be updated.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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