London-area records five more COVID-19 deaths

Nasal swabs in test tubes. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / ayo88.

Five more COVID-19 deaths were reported in the London region Tuesday, the highest number of deaths in a single day so far this year.

The Middlesex London Health Unit said three women in their 80s, a man in his 80s, and a woman in her 90s are the latest to die from the virus. Three of the five deaths are linked to long-term care homes.

Until now, the area has not seen more than four COVID-19 deaths in a 24 hour period in 2021. The death toll now sits at 132.

For the first time since last Friday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in London and Middlesex County has fallen below 100. There were 79 new infections logged on Tuesday, down from 143 on Monday and 116 on Sunday.

There have been 4,592 cases in the area since the pandemic began last March.

Currently, there are 14 local long-term care and retirement homes dealing with outbreaks. The latest outbreak was reported Monday at Elmwood Place.

One unit at Victoria Hospital continues to grapple with an outbreak. Less than five staff members and less than five patients have contracted the virus. No deaths are associated with the outbreak. The London Health Sciences Centre has 40 inpatients with COVID-19, up one from the previous day. There are 29 hospital employees currently infected.

Seventy-one more recoveries were reported since Monday, bringing the total number of resolved cases to 3,155. That leaves 1,305 active COVID-19 cases in the region.

In Elgin and Oxford, 64 new infections and three deaths were confirmed. Southwestern Public Health said that brings its total case count to 1,825 and death toll to 35. Maple Manor in Tillsonburg continues to be the hardest-hit long-term care home in the region with an outbreak that has infected 80 residents and 28 staff. There have been 11 deaths linked to the outbreak. Resolved cases have increased to 1,425 and there are 365 active cases.

Ontario has declared its second state of emergency and introduced new restrictions as new COVID-19 projections show deaths from the virus potentially reaching 100 a day by the end of February.

“The latest modelling data shows that Ontario is in a crisis and, with the current trends, our hospital ICUs will be overwhelmed in a few short weeks with unthinkable consequences,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We need people to only go out for essential trips to pick up groceries or go to medical appointments.”

The “stay at home” order goes into effect at 12:01 Thursday.

On Tuesday, the province recorded less than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in eight days.

Public health officials logged 2,903 new infections, down from 3,338 on Monday. Eight of the new cases were confirmed to be the more contagious U.K. variant.

The highest number of new cases were in Toronto (837), Peel (545), York Region (249), and Niagara (246).

Ontario’s total number of cases now stands at 222,023.

Forty-nine more people died from the virus across the province. The epidemiology report indicates 23 of Tuesday’s deaths were among people living in long-term care homes.

The COVID-19 death toll in Ontario is now 5,053.

Recoveries are up to 186,829.

Hospitalizations from the virus continue to climb, with 1,701 people admitted. Of those, 385 are in the intensive care unit and 262 are on ventilators

Just over 40,000 COVID-19 tests were processed over the last 24 hours period. The positivity rate among those tested remains high at 7.8 percent.