The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 40 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the local total to 15,200 cases, including 311 active cases (an increase of 22), 14,635 recoveries (an increase of 18) and 254 deaths (unchanged).
The most recent deaths were reported Dec. 7 and involved a man in his 50s not associated with a long-term care or retirement home and a man in his 80s associated with a retirement home.
Thursday morning, the MLHU, in partnership with Southwestern Public Health and Huron Perth Public Health, issued recommendations for this holiday season, urging residents to keep indoor holiday gatherings small, to get vaccinated and to work remotely, where possible.
Earlier this week, the MLHU confirmed the presence of the new Omicron variant in the region, detected in a large cluster of COVID-19 cases.
The rate of active cases continues to climb dramatically among those in the under-12 age group.
For children 11 and under, there were 89 cases or 138.2 per 100,000 population on Thursday, up from 33 cases or 51.2 per 100,000 population last Friday.
The cohort with the next highest rate of active cases is the 18-24 age group, with 46 active cases or 87.1 per 100,000 population as of Thursday.
Information on local variant of concern data can be found by visiting the health unit’s summary of COVID-19 cases on the Middlesex-London page and clicking on the “Case Status” tab.
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is caring for 13 inpatients with COVID-19 on Thursday, with five or fewer in adult critical care or the intensive care unit.
There were five or fewer inpatients with COVID-19 in LHSC’s Children’s Hospital, with five or fewer in pediatric critical care as of Tuesday.
Eight staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.
St. Joseph’s Health Care London is reporting one case involving a health-care worker.
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The MLHU is not reporting any outbreaks at long-term care homes, retirement homes or hospitals but there are several outbreaks involving schools:
- Mountsfield Public School, declared Dec. 7
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, declared Dec. 6
- Riverside Public School, declared Dec. 6
- St. Jude Catholic School, declared Dec. 7
- St. Marguerite d’Youville School, declared Dec. 3
- St. Mary Choir and Orchestra Catholic School, declared Dec. 5
- St. Nicholas Catholic School, declared Dec. 8
- Tecumseh Public School, declared Dec. 3
- West Oaks French Immersion Public School, declared Dec. 4
There is also an outbreak, declared Dec. 6, at Kidzone Day Care Centre.
Additionally, an outbreak at Fanshawe College’s Merlin House residence, declared Nov. 28, and at Western University’s Saugeen-Maitland Hall residence, declared Nov. 27, are both ongoing. The outbreak at Saugeen is now tied to 17 cases while the outbreak at Merlin House is tied to five cases.
The MLHU also announced Monday that there is an outbreak at God’s Favourite House, a church on Dearness Drive, connected to the potential Omicron cluster.
The following schools have active cases associated with them, according to the MLHU:
- A. B. Lucas Secondary School (one case)
- Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (one case)
- Byron Northview Public School (three cases)
- Caradoc Public School (one case)
- Cedar Hollow Public School (one case)
- Covenant Christian School (one case)
- Delaware Central School (two cases)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Public School (one case)
- London Christian Academy (one case)
- London Christian High (one case)
- Lord Dorchester Secondary School (one case)
- Matthews Hall (one case)
- Mountsfield Public School (two cases)
- Northridge Public School (one case)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (three cases)
- Princess Elizabeth Public School (one case)
- Riverside Public School (one case)
- Ryerson Public School (one case)
- Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School (two cases)
- Sir Arthur Currie Public School (one case)
- St. Andre Bessette Secondary School (two cases)
- St. Anthony Catholic French Immersion School (one case)
- St. Jude Catholic School (three cases)
- St. Marguerite d’Youville School (four cases)
- St. Nicholas Catholic School (four cases)
- St. Paul Catholic School (one case)
- Stoneybrook Public School (one case)
- Tecumseh Public School (two cases)
- West Oaks French Immersion Public School (seven cases)
The MLHU is reporting cases at several child-care and early-years centres in its jurisdiction:
- F. D. Roosevelt YMCA School Age in London, one case
- Kidzone Day Care Centre in London, two cases (outbreak declared Dec. 6)
- London Children’s Connection – Mountsfield Before and After School, one case
- St. Theresa YMCA Child Care, one case
- Wortley YMCA Child Care Centre, one case
The health unit says at least 344 cases have been reported since the start of the school year involving elementary and secondary schools, as well as child-care and early-years centres.
Vaccinations and testing
The MLHU provided updated vaccination data on Tuesday, covering up to the end of day on Dec. 4.
According to the MLHU, 90.5 per cent of residents aged 12 and older have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Dec. 4 while 87.9 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Among the entire population aged five and over, 85.1 per cent of the population has had at least one dose while 81.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations for those aged five to 11 began Nov. 26 in London and in just over a week, 23.5 per cent of that cohort have had their first dose.
As for the vaccination status of cases, the MLHU says unvaccinated individuals have accounted for 41.31 per cent of all cases (292 of 701) and 35.0 per cent of hospitalizations (seven of 20) since Oct. 28.
Of the nine COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last six weeks, five involved individuals who were unvaccinated, one involved someone partially vaccinated and three involved someone who was fully vaccinated.
On the health unit’s website, residents can find information on pop-up clinics, mass vaccination clinics and pharmacies; 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 3.1 per cent for the week of Nov. 28, up from 2.1 per cent for the week of Nov. 21.
The province reported 1,290 cases Thursday, the largest daily case count since late May and the highest daily case count, so far, of the fourth wave.
Of the 1,290 cases, 548 were among unvaccinated people, 42 were partially vaccinated, 617 were fully vaccinated and for 83 people the status was unknown.
According to Thursday’s report, 206 cases were recorded in Toronto, 114 in Windsor-Essex, 103 in Simcoe-Muskoka, 98 in the Kingston area, 71 in Peel Region, and 66 in York Region. All other local public health units reported fewer than 65 new cases.
Ten more deaths were also reported Thursday.
Elgin and Oxford
On Thursday, Southwestern Public Health reported:
- 5,609 total cases (an increase of 30 cases)
- 199 active cases (unchanged)
- 5,305 resolved cases (an increase of 30)
- 105 deaths to date (unchanged)
This is the first day this week that SWPH has not reported a death.
Wednesday’s deaths involved a man in his 50s from St. Thomas and a man in his 70s from Oxford County. Tuesday’s deaths involved a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s, both from Elgin County. The death reported Monday involved a man in his 70s.
Further details can be found on SWPH’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Of the 199 active cases in the region, 98 were in Elgin County (including 58 in St. Thomas and 26 in Aylmer) and 101 were in Oxford County (including 38 in Woodstock and 35 in Tillsonburg).
Ten people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with five in the ICU as of Thursday.
An outbreak at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas declared Nov. 28 is ongoing. It now involves eight resident cases and eight staff cases.
The region’s test positivity rate was 5.3 per cent for the week of Nov. 28, down from 5.9 per cent for the week of Nov. 21.
As of Dec. 7, 75.5 per cent of those aged five and older in the region were fully vaccinated while 79.3 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.
Huron and Perth
Global News is awaiting Thursday’s data from Huron Perth Public Health.
On Wednesday, Huron Perth Public Health reported:
- 2,627 total cases (an increase of seven)
- 59 active cases (a decrease of nine)
- 2,498 recoveries (an increase of 16)
- 70 deaths to date (unchanged)
The most recent death was reported Nov. 29 and involved a community member connected to a workplace outbreak, according to a spokesperson for the health unit.
Among the 59 active cases, 21 were reported in North Perth and 10 in Perth East.
Full case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.
There were six people hospitalized with COVID-19 and zero active cases involving health-care workers as of Tuesday.
HPPH has six active outbreaks involving four schools, one child-care centre and one workplace:
- An outbreak at Perth Care for Kids in West Perth, declared Dec. 6, involves two students.
- An outbreak at North Perth Westfield ES in North Perth, declared Nov. 30, involves nine students and one staff case.
- An outbreak at North Perth Westfield Before and After Program, declared Nov. 29, involves two students.
- An outbreak at Elma Township Public School in North Perth, declared Nov. 23, involves 26 students.
- An outbreak at North Perth Spinrite Child and Family Centre in North Perth, declared Nov. 22, involves three child cases.
No further information was provided about the workplace outbreak.
As of Dec. 6, 81 per cent of residents aged five and older have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 77 per cent are fully vaccinated.
The region’s test positivity rate was 2.9 per cent for the week of Nov. 28, down from 3.6 per cent for the week of Nov. 21.
Information on how and where to get a vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.
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Sarnia and Lambton
On Thursday, Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported:
- 4,460 total cases (an increase of 14)
- 60 active cases (an increase of five)
- 4,322 resolved cases (an increase of nine)
- 78 deaths (unchanged)
The most recent death was reported Friday, Dec. 3.
As of Thursday, there are five COVID-19 patients in the care of Bluewater Health.
LPH is reporting five active outbreaks:
- An outbreak at St. Anne Catholic School declared Dec. 3 and involving seven cases.
- An outbreak at St. Bartholomew’s Early Childhood Learning Centre declared Dec. 3 and involving five cases.
- An outbreak at Generations Day Care – St. Philip Site, declared Nov. 28 and involving fewer than five cases.
- An outbreak at an unidentified workplace declared Dec. 6, involving two cases.
- An outbreak at an unidentified workplace declared Nov. 28, involving two cases.
The test positivity rate for the week of Nov. 28 was 3.9 per cent, up from 2.8 per cent the week before.
Among area residents aged five and older, 79 per cent have had at least one dose while 75 per cent have had two doses. Six 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 Global News’ Matthew Trevithick and Gabby Rodrigues
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