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Coronavirus: 20 cases in London-Middlesex, stay-at-home order in place until at least Feb. 15

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Twenty people have tested positive for the coronavirus while 33 others have been listed as recovered, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported on Monday.

At the same time, the province announced the London-Middlesex region will not be exiting the province’s stay-at-home order until at least next week.

Monday’s case update brings the region’s pandemic case total to 5,896, of which at least 3,909 people have recovered, according to the health unit.

At least 177 people have died during the pandemic. The most recent death was reported on Friday involving a man in his 30s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home.

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At least 189 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and two have died since the start of February, a stunning drop from the at least 738 cases and 14 deaths recorded in the first seven days of January.






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Of the 20 new cases, all but three are from London. Two are from Strathroy-Caradoc while one is from Middlesex Centre.

Of those infected, two are aged 19 or younger, three are in their 20s, five are in their 30s, four are in their 50s, and three each are in their 50s and 60s. No cases involve people 70 or older.

At least seven cases are listed as being linked to an outbreak, according to their exposure source data. Four are due to close contact and two have no known link. Seven cases are pending exposure source data.

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During Monday’s media briefing, London Mayor Ed Holder commended residents for what was an otherwise quiet Super Bowl Sunday. Bylaw enforcement officers partnered with London police to deal with calls regarding potentially illegal indoor gatherings, and only one was found to be at odds with COVID orders, he said.

“The host of that party in particular was charged with participating in a gathering with non-residents at the same household. Otherwise, as mentioned, it was a very quiet weekend,” Holder said.

Dr. Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said fluctuating day-to-day case numbers is likely due to outbreaks where large numbers of people are being tested, something he says is “probably accounting for about a third of the cases over the last three or four days.”

“We really need to keep our eye on that seven day moving average, and that does continue to move down, which is great,” he said. The region’s seven-day case average stood at 27.0 as of Monday, while the 14-day average was 30.07, health unit figures show.

“The other reassuring thing is we’re seeing a downtrend in deaths as well. That’s, no doubt, in part due to the vaccine campaign’s success in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes. We are about halfway through, by the end of today, long-term care and high-risk retirement homes second doses for all residents.”

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Ontario begins phased reopening Wednesday, majority of regions to remain in lockdown

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Ontario will begin to gradually reopen its economy on Wednesday but the government could use an “emergency brake” to move regions back into lockdown if cases spike.

Three regions are being allowed to move back to the colour coded restrictions framework on Wednesday. All remaining regions, except three hot spots in the GTA, are set to move to the framework on Feb 15.

It’s not clear what category the London and Middlesex region will be placed in once that happens. Holder said based on current trends, orange or red appeared likely. More detail is anticipated later in the week.

Regardless of where we wind up, this is not back to normal,” Holder said, adding that Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott were clear that the province wouldn’t hesitate to put lockdowns in place again if necessary.

According to the plan, the province will have an “emergency brake” in place to allow the government to quickly move a region into lockdown if it experiences a rapid increase in cases or if its health-system becomes overwhelmed.

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“We expect to have a conversation with the chief medical officer of health about the colour coded system and where this region would return to next week,” Mackie said. “The decision of that is a decision of cabinet, so it’s really about what the data is looking like.”

The province is also changing the rules for the strictest category of the restrictions system that will allow previously closed business to reopen with capacity limits of 25 per cent.

A provincial lockdown was imposed in late December and was followed by the state of emergency and a stay-at-home order that took effect Jan. 14 as COVID-19 rates surged.

While cases have since declined, public health officials have said the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19 are a concern.

No new cases were found to involve coronavirus variants B.1.1.7, first detected in the U.K., or B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, according to the most recent epidemiologic summary from Public Health Ontario, released Monday.

London and Middlesex has seen at least four cases of the U.K. variant and none of the South African variant. Testing for variants of concern is done by the province.

“We don’t have yet universal testing for all COVID samples for the variants of concern, but that is the direction that the province is moving,” Mackie said.

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At least 5,100 cases have been confirmed in the city of London since the pandemic began, while 241 have been found 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.

Hospitalizations

The number of coronavirus patients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 22 on Monday, an increase of six from the organization’s last update on Friday.

At the same time, the number of patients in critical or intensive care remained unchanged at eight.

Active staff cases at LHSC number 10 as of Monday, one fewer than Friday.

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Updated figures were not available as of publishing time from St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

According to the health unit, at least 346 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 66 who have needed intensive care.

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During Monday’s media briefing, Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s chief medical officer, said intensive care occupancy rates at University Hospital stood at 85 per cent, while at Victoria Hospital the rate was about 75 per cent.

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“While our overall occupancy is stable, hospitals in other areas continue to experience intense pressures on their resources,” Dukelow said.

“LHSC continues to work with partners from across the province to ensure capacity is appropriately balanced throughout our health care system, particularly in critical care, which is facing significant pressure in the Greater Toronto Area and Waterloo-Wellington.”

Asked whether the organization had taken in any additional COVID-19 patients from out of town, Dukelow said one additional critical care patient was brought in mid-last week, but none since. LHSC has received a total of four critical care patients to date, he said.

Institutional outbreaks

No institutional outbreaks have been declared or resolved, according to the health unit.

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Seven outbreaks remain active at long-term care or retirement homes in the region.

Over the weekend, outbreaks were deemed resolved at Chartwell Parkhill and Dearness Home, days after they were declared active.

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. 8 at Chelsey Park Retirement Community (third and fifth floors)
  • Jan. 2 at Chelsey Park (long-term care – facility-wide)
  • Dec. 26 at Extendicare (facility-wide)
  • Dec. 23 at Middlesex Terrace (facility-wide)

Since March 2020, the region has seen at least 97 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including 71 at local seniors’ facilities.

An outbreak is also active at the city’s jail.

It’s been linked to cases involving at least 22 inmates and 21 staff. As of Sunday, only five inmate cases remained active, according to provincial data.

Similar information for the facility’s staff cases was not immediately available.

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Schools

One new school case has been reported in the region, according to the health unit.

The case was reported at St. Mary Choir and Orchestra Catholic School.

It joins two other active school cases in London and Middlesex, located at Kensal Park Public School while the other is at Sir Isaac Brock Public School.

Elsewhere, one child care case is active at Grand Avenue Child Care Centre, the health unit says.

In all, the region has seen at least 187 cases in schools and child care centres since the pandemic began.


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Elementary schools and high schools in the region returned to in-person learning last week.

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As of Monday, students in 13 other public health units, including Hamilton and Windsor, will return to physical classrooms.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government is taking a number of steps to enhance safety in schools, such as more stringent screening for high schoolers and asymptomatic testing across the province.

Lecce has also said the government is mulling cancelling March break in a bid to reign in COVID-19 infections. He’s said Canadians should avoid travel given the emergence of new variants of the virus.

NDP Opposition leader Andrea Horwath called on Monday for March break to go ahead as planned, saying it’s important for the mental and emotional health of parents, educators and students.

She also repeated calls for heightened safety measures in schools, including widespread COVID-19 testing, smaller class sizes and better ventilation.

Vaccinations and Testing

Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, says health unit teams will be about halfway to getting second doses to all long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents by the end of the day Monday. Second doses for the vulnerable sector began last week.

Mackie added that the campaign’s success in getting doses to long-term care and high-risk retirement homes was “no doubt” partially responsible for the downtrend in deaths the region has recently seen.

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His comments come the same day the city’s first, and currently only, COVID-19 assessment centre at the Western Fair District Agriplex reopened after being closed for roughly two weeks, the result of supply issues with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Its reopening comes days after the health unit and other partners unveiled last week that the region’s second COVID-19 vaccination clinic would open in Mount Brydges’ Caradoc Community Centre in the coming weeks.

It’s unclear when the facility will come online. Officials have only said it will open as more vaccine is made available locally. Work is ongoing to retrofit the community centre, including through the establishment of storage, security, refrigeration installation, and other measures.

“That is all happening over the next week or two so we can be prepared if and when we have adequate vaccine supplies to use that site,” Mackie said.

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“There’s also the issue of staffing up. It’s a new site. It will be ideally a high-volume flowthrough site. So bringing on vaccinators, supervisors, managers, etc., to make sure that the complex logistics of that campaign are as smooth as possible at the site.”

As for when the health unit will be able to begin vaccinating additional groups, Mackie said he expected updated guidance from the province would come down soon.

“We have been indicated that we will continue to receive doses each week over the next few weeks. We’re hopeful that the doses that we receive will be even higher than the past, which would allow us to accelerate into the level of providing new first doses to new individuals.”

The health unit plans to open as many as four vaccination clinics in the region, with the aim of vaccinating as many as 3,000 people per day, according to a draft vaccination plan. The locations of the remaining two pending clinics have not been released.

The region’s test positivity rate fell to 2.2 per cent the week of Jan. 24 from 2.6 the week prior, figures released Wednesday show.

Roughly 10,246 people were tested that week, down from 11,455 the week before.

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Ontario is reporting 1,265 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 33 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 421 new cases in Toronto, 256 in Peel and 130 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 28,303 tests since the last daily report.

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In total, 901 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 335 in intensive care, and 226 people are on ventilators.

A total of 386,171 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered by the province so far.

The latest figures bring the total of COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 279,472, with 6,538 deaths, and 258,603 cases resolved.

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One person has died and six others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Southwestern Public Health reported on Monday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 2,389, of which 2,192 have recovered, an increase of six from the day before.

At least 63 have died since the pandemic began. The death reported on Monday involved a man in his 50s from Oxford County, health officials said.

There are at least 134 active cases in the region, according to the health unit. More than half, 77, are located in Woodstock.

Elsewhere, 21 cases are active in St. Thomas while 13 are active in Ingersoll. Ten other municipalities have active case numbers of five or fewer.

At least five people are in hospital.

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No new outbreaks have been declared in the region and no previous outbreaks have been resolved.

Two were declared resolved over the weekend, located at Dayspring Residence in Tillsonburg and Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock.

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Six outbreaks are active, declared on:

  • Feb. 2 at Trillium Retirement Home in Norwich (one resident case)
  • 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 (51 resident, 18 staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 38 staff cases, 10 deaths)
  • Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 52 staff cases; 20 deaths)

Meantime, no new school cases were reported by the Thames Valley or London district Catholic school boards.

Two cases remain active in the Elgin-Oxford region, located at Central Public School in Woodstock and at Hickson Central Public School.

Elementary schools within Southwestern Public Health were allowed to return to in-person learning on Monday, and high schools on Thursday.

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The health unit says a total of 456 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 415 have been in St. Thomas, 359 in Aylmer and 320 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 200 cases have been in Norwich, 161 in Bayham, 108 in Ingersoll, 101 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 54 in Zorra, 48 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 44 in Central Elgin, 25 in Southwold, 22 in Dutton/Dunwich, 21 in West Elgin, and eight in Malahide.

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The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.4 per cent as of the week of Jan. 24, health unit figures released Wednesday show. At least 4,946 people were tested the week of Jan. 24, down from 5,331 a week earlier.

One person has died and nine others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Monday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,267, an increase of only eight from the day before. The health unit says one previously confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit.

At least 1,143 people have recovered, an increase of nine from the health unit’s previous update on Saturday, while at least 46 people have died. Details on the death reported Monday were not immediately available.

According to the health unit, five of Monday’s new cases came from Huron East, while three came from South Huron, and one from Perth East.

With the update, at least 78 cases remain active in the region. Of those, 48 are situated in Huron East, while seven are in North Perth and six are in Goderich. Seven other municipalities have four or fewer active cases.

At least one person is currently in hospital.

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No new outbreaks have been declared and none have been declared over.

Seven outbreaks are currently active in Huron and Perth, with four at long-term care homes, two at retirement homes, and one at a hospital.

The long-term care and retirement home outbreaks were declared on:

  • Feb. 3 at Hillside Manor in Perth East (one resident, one staff case)
  • Jan. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East (eight resident cases)
  • Jan. 30 at Fordwich Village in Howick (one staff case)
  • Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor Nursing Home in Huron East (43 resident, 19 staff cases, at least five deaths)
  • Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 28 staff cases, 13 deaths)
  • Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, 12 staff cases, at least one death)

One outbreak is also still active at St. Marys Memorial Hospital, declared on Jan. 31. It’s been linked to at least three patient and four staff cases.

Meantime, no new school cases have been reported and none have resolved.

Three cases remain active at local schools, all under the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

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One case is active at Elma Township Public School, while two are active at Listowel District Secondary School.

Schools in the region are returning to in-person learning this week.

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At least 531 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 339 in North Perth 133 in Perth East, 31 in Perth South and 28 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 418 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 94 in South Huron, 89 in Huron East, 50 in Central Huron, 42 in Morris Turnberry, 38 in North Huron, 34 in Howick, 32 in Bluewater, 21 in ACW and 18 in Goderich.

At least 288 cases have been reported in Stratford and 30 in St. Marys.

The region’s test positivity rate fell to 1.6 per cent the week of Jan. 24 from 3.3 per cent a week earlier, figures released Wednesday show.

Roughly 3,311 people were tested the week of the 24th, down from 3,689 the week prior.

Five people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another eight have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Monday.

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It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,877, of which 1,788 have recovered and 42 have died. The most recent death was reported on Sunday.

At least 47 cases remain active in the county, the health unit says. The locations of the active cases has not been made public.

At least four people were in hospital Monday at Bluewater Health, the hospital reported.

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No new outbreaks have been reported. At least three were declared on Sunday at Sarnia’s jail, at Vision Nursing Home, and at an unnamed workplace.

The health unit says two inmate cases have been reported at the jail, while the workplace outbreak is tied to four cases.

A second unrelated workplace outbreak, declared Jan. 29, is linked to three cases.

At least six outbreaks are active at local health-care institutions, including five at seniors’ facilities and one at Bluewater Health.

The outbreaks were declared on:

  • Feb. 7 at Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 28 at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (one staff case)
  • Jan. 22 at Bluewater Health hospital in Sarnia (four patient, six staff cases)
  • Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (32 resident, 16 staff cases, three deaths)
  • Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (18 resident, six staff cases, one death)
  • Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (28 resident, 15 staff cases, five deaths)

At least 366 of the region’s cases and 25 of its deaths have been linked to outbreaks.

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Schools in the county are returning to in-person learning this week.

No new school cases have been reported in the county. None were listed as being active at schools operated by the Lambton-Kent District School Board.

No active cases were listed by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

The region’s test positivity rate sat at 1.5 per cent as of the week of Jan. 24, down from 2.3 the week before, figures released Wednesday show.

It’s a far cry from the 6.2 per cent rate seen during the week of Jan. 3.

— With files from The Canadian Press



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