The Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 280 new COVID-19 cases and 483 recoveries on Tuesday.
The health unit reported a record 357 new cases on Saturday, while 276 were reported on Sunday and 241 on Monday. No deaths were reported on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
Saturday’s daily case record was the fourth in a row for the region after 335 cases were reported on Friday, 263 on Thursday and 228 on Wednesday.
Because of the recent explosion in new cases, the region’s seven-day moving average sits at 281.1, roughly 5.16 times higher than the average of 54.4 recorded two weeks earlier on Dec. 13.
In total, there have been 18,225 confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, including 2,317 active cases (an increase of 723), 15,651 resolved cases (an increase of 483) and 257 deaths (unchanged).
However, due to testing backlogs and a dearth of available testing appointments, the number of active cases in London-Middlesex is likely higher.
The most recent death was reported Dec. 16, involving a man in his 90s not associated with a long-term care or retirement home. He was unvaccinated.
With case counts surging, local contact tracing efforts have become overwhelmed.
As a result, the health unit stated last week that anyone developing any kind of respiratory symptoms should treat it like COVID-19 and self-isolate. Other members of the household should follow suit.
As of Tuesday, people aged 25 to 39 make up the highest number of active cases with 702. While London has the largest number of active cases, Lucan Biddulph has the most when adjusted pro-rata by population with 596.5 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 467.7 for London.
Information on local variants of concern can be found on the health unit’s summary of COVID-19 cases on the Middlesex-London page and the “Case Status” tab.
London Health Sciences Centre has paused reporting over the holiday period and updated case counts on Tuesday for the first time since Thursday.
LHSC is said at least 17 COVID-19 patients were in the care of LHSC, up by two from Thursday. Of those, seven were in adult critical care or the intensive care unit, five or fewer were in LHSC’s Children Hospital and five or fewer were in pediatric critical care.
While patient numbers were steady, cases among LHSC staff have surged as of Tuesday, to 104, up by 50 from Thursday.
A statement from LHSC said the positive staff cases are reflective of the widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our community and due to an outbreak.
Senior leadership is working diligently to review strategic plans to ensure delivery of essential services is not interrupted, a statement said.
Hospital staff say there are not any known service disruptions due to the number of staff testing positive.
At St. Joseph’s Health Care London, 20 health-care workers were positive with COVID-19 as of the organization’s last update on Friday, up from 17 on Thursday.
Of those, one staff case was linked to an outbreak at Parkwood Institute’s main building.
One new institutional outbreak has been reported Tuesday. There are 10 outbreaks at local long-term care and retirement homes, according to the health unit:
- McCormick Home, in its Memory Lane area, declared Dec. 14
- Chartwell London, in its Magnolia and Pinebrook areas, declared Dec. 18
- Parkwood Institute Main Building, on 3A-East, declared Dec. 23
- Extendicare, on its second and third floors, declared Dec. 24
- Sisters of St. Joseph, facility-wide, declared Dec. 24
- Longworth Retirement Residence on its second floor, declared Dec. 25
- Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care in SM1, declared Dec. 25
- Village of Glendale Crossing in its Brighton area, declared Dec. 25
- Middlesex Terrace on its third floor, declared Dec. 26
- Elmwood Place, facility-wide, declared Dec. 27
At local schools, no new outbreaks have been declared. As of Tuesday, outbreaks remain active at the following 14 schools:
- A. B. Lucas Secondary School, declared Dec. 20
- Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, declared Dec. 18
- Byron Somerset Public School, declared Dec. 21
- Clara Brenton Public School, declared Dec. 17
- Emily Carr Public School, declared Dec. 20
- H. B. Beal Secondary School, declared Dec. 21
- J S Buchanan French Immersion Public School, declared Dec. 23
- John Dearness Public School, declared Dec. 20
- Notre Dame Catholic School, declared Dec. 20
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, declared Dec. 6
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School, declared Dec. 14
- St. Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, declared Dec. 17
- Stoney Creek Public School, declared Dec. 23
- Wilberforce Public School, declared Dec. 22
At child-care and early years settings, three outbreaks are active, with the most recent declared Thursday:
- Wee Watch — Dream Weavers Daycare, declared Dec. 23
- YMCA: North Meadows Elementary School — Before and After School, declared Dec. 22
- YMCA: St. Patrick Catholic School — Before and After School, declared Dec. 19
Two outbreaks remain active at post-secondary institutions:
- Western University – Delaware Hall Residence, declared Dec. 10
- Western University – Saugeen-Maitland Hall Residence, declared Nov. 27
The number of active COVID-19 cases involving local schools has shrunk significantly since Friday, according to health unit data.
As of Monday, nine cases were active at local schools, down from at least 66 on Friday. The health unit notes its tally “lists schools … with one or more cases of COVID-19 in the last 10 days.”
- Emily Carr Public School (one case)
- Byron Somerset Public School (one case)
- John Dearness Public School (two cases)
- Notre Dame Catholic School (one case)
- Ryerson Public School (one case)
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School (one case)
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School (one case)
- St Mary Choir & Orchestra Catholic School (one case)
Cases were also active at child-care and early-years centres:
- London Children’s Connection: John Dearness Before and After School (two cases)
- Springbank Early Childhood Learning Centre (one case)
Information on school and child-care centre outbreaks can be found in the outbreaks section.
The health unit says at least 600 cases have been reported since September involving elementary and secondary schools, as well as child-care and early-years centres.
In comparison, 470 cases were reported at elementary and secondary schools and at child-care and early-years centres between September 2020 and August 2021.
Vaccinations and testing
As of Dec. 25, the most recent data available, 82.1 per cent of residents five and older had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 87.6 had received at least one dose.
As of Dec. 18, , the most recent data available, 19.7 per cent of people have received a third dose.
Children five to 11, who have been vaccine-eligible since Nov. 26, had a 44.8 per cent vaccination rate for first doses as of Dec. 25, while 3.5 per cent had received a second dose.
The health unit said it is prioritizing its supply of Pfizer vaccine for those aged 12 to 29. Those 30 and older will receive the Moderna vaccine.
The city’s main COVID-19 assessment centre at Carling Heights is open.
Appointments can be booked online. Open slots fill up very quickly. Telephone booking is unavailable until Tuesday, and will also be unavailable on Jan. 3, 2022.
Health unit data shows the main assessment centre remains the leading source of vaccinations for residents, however, pharmacies aren’t far behind.
Unvaccinated residents, who make up only 12 per cent of the local population, made up 40.7 per cent of the region’s 26 hospitalizations over the last six weeks, according to the health unit.
Roughly 72.9 per cent of cases in that time period involved fully vaccinated individuals, while 19.8 per cent were unvaccinated.
The health unit notes that people who are vaccinated can still get COVID-19, however, those individuals “become less sick than individuals with COVID-19 who were not vaccinated, and are much less likely to require hospitalization or die.”
Of the nine COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last six weeks, four individuals were unvaccinated, four were fully vaccinated and one was partially vaccinated.
On the health unit’s website, residents can find information on pop-up clinics, mass vaccination clinics and pharmacies, as well as guidance for anyone vaccinated outside of the province or country, transportation support for those in need and more.
Anyone looking to be tested for COVID-19 can find information about the locations of testing sites on the health unit’s website.
The latest COVID-19 test positivity rate in the region was 6.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 12, up from 3.7 per cent for the week of Dec. 5 and 3.1 per cent for the week of Nov. 28.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 8,825 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a lower count compared with the rest of the week. The provincial case total now stands at 715,405.
Over the last three days, there were 9,418 new infections on Monday, 9,826 reported on Sunday and a record-breaking 10,412 new cases on Saturday. The seven-day average has now reached 8,318.
For comparison, last Tuesday saw 3,453 new cases and the previous Tuesday saw 1,429 new cases. Tuesdays typically have lower case counts due to testing from the weekend.
Elliott said 491 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is up from Monday’s report, when there were 480 people hospitalized. There are 187 people in intensive care units due to a COVID-19-related illness, which is up from the previous day, when there were 176 people.
Despite the recent rise in cases, the number of people in ICUs due to COVID-19 has remained relatively stable, but is now on a slow rise.
Elliott says 90.7 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have had one vaccine dose, while 88 per cent have received at least two.
Elgin and Oxford
No COVID-19 update was available on Tuesday from Southwestern Public Health.
On Friday, the health unit reported:
- 6,221 total cases (an increase of 110 from Thursday, with two previous cases removed due to data cleanup)
- 479 active cases (an increase of 82)
- 5,631 resolved cases (an increase of 25)
- 111 deaths to date (an increase of one)
The death, reported on Friday, involved a woman in her 70s from Elgin and was the 13th COVID-19-related death reported in the region in December and the third that week.
Of the 479 active cases in the region as of Friday, 222 were in Elgin County (including 129 in St. Thomas and 27 in Central Elgin) and 257 were in Oxford County (including 114 in Woodstock and 38 in Ingersoll).
The health unit automatically closes all cases 10 days after a positive result, regardless of their outcome.
On Friday, 13 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with five in the ICU. No details were available about their vaccination status.
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An outbreak at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas declared Nov. 28 was ongoing on Friday. It involves 11 resident cases and nine staff cases. Two deaths are associated with the outbreak.
No new school outbreaks were reported on Friday. Outbreaks were active at the following schools:
- St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in West Lorne, declared Dec. 10
- Hickson Central Public School in Hickson, declared Dec. 15
- Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute in Ingersoll, declared Dec. 15
- King’s Academy Private School in St. Thomas, declared Dec. 16
- St. Joseph High School in St. Thomas, declared Dec. 17
- St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary School, declared Dec. 19
- Westfield Public School in Tillsonburg, declared Dec. 19
- Mitchell Hepburn Public School, declared Dec. 20
- Dunwich Dutton Public School in Dutton, declared Dec. 21
- Oliver Stephens Public School in Woodstock, declared Dec. 21
- Holy Family Catholic French Immersion School in Woodstock, declared Dec. 22
- Thamesford Public School in Thamesford, declared Dec. 22
Roughly 6.8 per cent of tests in the region were coming back positive as of the week of Dec. 12, the highest percentage of the pandemic, up from 4.6 per cent the week of Dec. 5.
As of Dec. 23, 76.0 per cent of those aged five and older in the region had received two doses of the vaccine, while 81 per cent have had at least one dose.
Information on where and how to get vaccinated can be found on the health unit’s website.
SWPH is not currently accepting calls for vaccine appointments “until we get through our current backlog of voicemails.” The health unit encouraged people to join its Same Day Vaccination List, which offers any leftover doses due to cancellations or no-shows.
Huron and Perth
No COVID-19 update was available from Huron Perth Public Health as of early Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, Huron Perth Public Health reported:
- 3,143 total cases (an increase of 148 from Friday)
- 229 active cases (an increase of 141 from Friday)
- 2,727 recoveries (an increase of 33 from Friday)
- 73 deaths to date (an increase of one from Friday)
Among the 343 active cases on Friday, 87 were in Stratford, 64 were in Huron East, 34 were in North Perth, 23 were in Central Huron and 20 were in St. Marys. Full case counts by the municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
Five people were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 as of Monday, with three patients still considered active cases.
At least five of the region’s active cases involve health-care workers.
HPPH had 11 active outbreaks listed on Monday involving 10 schools and one workplace. The most recent school outbreak was declared on Dec. 23, at Listowel Christian School.
- Clinton Public School in Central Huron, declared Dec. 13 and involving one staff member and two students
- Elma Township Public School in North Perth, declared Nov. 23 and involving 27 students
- Howick Central Public School in Howick, declared Dec. 15 and involving three student cases
- Listowel Christian School in North Perth, declared Dec. 23 and involving two student cases
- Listowel District Secondary School in North Perth, declared Dec. 16 and involving two staff and three student cases
- Little Falls Public School in St. Marys, declared Dec. 14 and involving five students
- Milverton Public School in Perth East, declared Dec. 9 and involving four students
- North Perth Westfield ES in North Perth, declared Nov. 30 and involving one staff member and 11 students
- North Woods Elementary School in Huron East, declared Dec. 22 and involving one staff member and five students
- St. Josephs Catholic Elementary Public School in Stratford, declared Dec. 13 and involving two students
As of Dec. 23, 82.5 per cent of residents aged five and older have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 77.6 per cent are fully vaccinated. Third-dose coverage stands at 21.4 per cent.
The region’s test positivity rate was 3.8 per cent for the week of Dec. 12.
Information on how and where to get a vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.
Sarnia and Lambton
A brief COVID-19 update was released by Lambton Public Health on Tuesday. The health unit’s next detailed update is set to come Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the health unit reported:
- 5,220 total cases (an increase of 26)
- 497 active cases (a decrease of six)
- 4,640 resolved cases (an increase of 29)
- 83 deaths to date (an increase of three)
The three deaths all involved people who were hospitalized, one in their 50s and one each in their 60s and 80s. All died in hospital between Dec. 23 and 27. Details on their vaccine status were not released.
As of Friday, there were 14 COVID-19 patients in the care of Bluewater Health. No update was provided Monday.
No further information was released as part of the health unit’s brief update.
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LPH reported 10 active outbreaks as of Thursday, eight of which were at unidentified workplaces:
- Bright’s Grove Public School, declared Dec. 10 and involving 10 cases
- John Knox Christian School, declared Dec. 10 and involving five cases
- an unidentified workplace declared Dec. 15, involving four cases
- four unidentified workplaces, all declared Dec. 16 and involving two cases each
- an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 17 and involving two cases
- an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 17 and involving three cases
- an unidentified workplace, declared Dec. 20 and involving two cases
The test positivity rate was 6.8 per cent for the week of Dec. 12, up from 3.6 per cent for the week of Dec. 5.
Among area residents, 80 per cent have had at least one dose while 76 per cent have had two doses. Fifteen per cent have had a third dose.
Residents can book and re-book COVID-19 vaccine appointments or find information on vaccine availability at pharmacies using the health unit’s registration page. People can also contact the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222.
Those who are able to get vaccinated on short notice are encouraged to sign up for Lambton Public Health’s daily Vaccine Standby List.
— with files from Matthew Trevithick, Gabby Rodrigues, Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian Press
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