One COVID-19 death, 24 new cases recorded in London region

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / alphaspirit

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported 24 new COVID-19 cases, along with its fifth death of the month on Thursday.

Public health officials said a woman in her 90s who lived in a local long-term care home is the latest to die from the virus. Her death brings the region’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 180. COVID-19 related deaths in Middlesex-London are down significantly this month compared to the same time last month when 24 deaths had been recorded. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie earlier this week attributed the decrease to the ongoing vaccination program that has focused on long-term care homes.

Thursday marked the first time since Monday the number of new cases rose above 20. The health unit reported 20 cases Monday, 17 cases Tuesday, and 20 cases Wednesday. The region’s total case count now stands at 5,959.

A change in the way the health unit records recoveries saw the total number of resolved case jump to 5,558, up 1,581 from the previous day. That leaves just 221 known active cases.

Clara Brenton Public School in London has become the first in the region to have an outbreak of COVID-19 since students returned to in-person learning on February 1. The health unit said there are two infections linked to the outbreak with evidence the virus spread between close contacts at the school. The school remains open. There are nine schools currently reporting a combined ten cases of COVID-19. The latest schools with confirmed cases are Annandale Public and Princess Elizabeth Public in London.

Outbreaks also remain at six local long-term care and retirement homes.

The London Health Sciences Centre currently has 16 inpatients with COVID-19, with six in the intensive care unit.

In Elgin and Oxford, there are 18 new COVID-19 infections. Southwestern Public Health, the health unit for the two counties, said Thursday’s infections bring the total case count to 2,416. For a second straight day there were no additional deaths, leaving the death toll at 64. There are four area long-term care or retirement homes dealing with cases of the virus. The hardest hit are PeopleCare Tavistock and Caressant Care Retirement Home Woodstock. They have a combined case total of 160 resident and staff infections and 12 deaths. Resolved cases have increased to 2,232. There are now 120 known active cases in the two counties.

Another data issue has seen Ontario’s daily case count fall below 1,000.

Public health officials logged just 945 new infections across the province on Thursday. That is down from 1,072 on Wednesday and 1,022 on Tuesday. However, Health Minister Christine Elliott noted the decline is the result of “under-reported” cases from Toronto Public Health. The health unit has been having data issues since migrating to the province’s COVID-19 reporting system earlier this month.

Elliott did not indicate how many cases from Toronto Public Health are missing from Thursday’s numbers. The region reported just 112 cases total.

Peel had the province’s highest daily number with 258, that was followed by York Region with 116.

There have been 236 cases of the more contagious U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, and three case of the South African variant, known as B.1.351 found in the province. Ontario’s first case of the Brazil variant, P.1 was confirmed Sunday by Toronto Public Health.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now stands at 282,511.

There were 18 additional deaths reported over the past 24 hours, 9 of which were in long-term care homes. The province’s death toll is now 6,614.

At hospitals in Ontario, there are 883 patients with COVID-19. Of those, 229 are in intensive care and 211 are on ventilators.

The number of resolved cases rose to 263,044. There are currently 12,853 active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, more than 68,000 COVID-19 tests were processed. The province’s positivity rate is 2.3 per cent.

To date, the province has administered 426,836 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 136,988 people having received both shots required to be fully inoculated.