Middlesex London reports record 176 new COVID-19 cases

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / gemphotography

The number of new COVID-19 cases to be reported in a single day in the London-area hit a record high on Wednesday.

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported 176 new cases on Wednesday, 100 more than the number reported the day before. The latest figure surpassed the previous record high of 161 cases, which was reported on Saturday. Prior to that, the record was 148 cases set on January 5.

Seven of the past eight days have seen daily caseloads above 100 as the third-wave of the pandemic continues.

Wednesday’s case spike comes a day after Cargill announced it was temporarily shutting down its London chicken processing plant after 82 workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The region’s total case count since the start of the pandemic is now 8,752.

Public health officials reported another COVID-19 related death on Wednesday. A man in his 80s, who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, has become the fifth person to succumb to the virus this month. There have now been a total of 193 COVID-19 related deaths in London and Middlesex County.

Resolved cases are up to 7,376 and there are 1,183 known active cases in the region.

The health unit has changed the way it reports variants of concern in order to align with Public Health Ontario’s method of reporting. That change has led to a shift in the number of variants of concern. The city and county now show having 746 cases with a variant of concern and 186 with a mutation-positive sample. Of the variants of concern, 745 have been determined to be the B.1.1.7 strain first reported in the U.K. and one case has been identified as the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil.

The London Health Sciences Centre currently has 52 patients with COVID-19 in its care, with 18 listed in critical care. There are nine hospital employees who have tested positive for the virus. Following the case surge on Wednesday, the hospital’s chief operating officer took to socials to urge people to follow public health restrictions.

“Hey London! Ya you!! Go home! Stay there!! Please help your neighbours. You don’t want to visit our ICUs! Do it for your life and everyone else’s,” tweeted Neil Johnson.

Outbreaks remain locally at seven schools, two daycares, eight university residences, and one health care facility.

The Thames Valley District school board reported cases at three more schools on Wednesday. C.C. Carrothers, and H.B. Beal secondary in London and Mitchell Hepburn in St. Thomas. Over 40 cases remain active within the the Thames Valley.

Southwestern Public Health recorded 30 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths on Wednesday. That is down from 32 new infections and one death the previous day. The latest cases puts Elgin and Oxford counties’ total up to 3,087 and leaves the death toll at 71. Resolved cases rose to 2,834, leaving 182 active cases in the region. There are two outbreaks at local seniors’ facilities – Caressant Care Bonnie Place and Metcalfe Gardens, both in St. Thomas.

After a one day drop, daily case numbers in Ontario have surged back above 4,000.

According public health officials, 4,156 new infections were confirmed on Wednesday. That is up from Tuesday’s 3,670 cases. Infections recorded on Monday and Sunday were 4,401 and 4,456.

Regions with the highest new case counts continue to be Toronto with 1,254 and Peel with 593. That is followed by York Region with 476, Ottawa with 340, and Durham with 248.

The daily epidemiologic summary indicates Ontario found 3,980 more lab confirmed cases over the past 24 hours of the B.1.1.7. variant. There are now a total of 24,467 cases of that strain, which was first discovered in the U.K. Another 33 cases of the P.1. variant have been confirmed for a total of 176 and there were three more cases of the B.1.351 variant for a total of 84 in Ontario.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now sits at 398,835.

Twenty-eight more deaths were reported over the past 24 hours to bring the province’s death toll to 7,610.

Hospitalizations in the province continue to rise with 1,877 COVID-19 positive patients admitted, up 55 from the previous day. Of those in hospital, there is a record 642 in intensive care and 442 on ventilators.

Resolved cases across the province are up to 354,417. That leaves 36,808 known active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, 54,211 COVID-19 tests were processed, up from nearly 42,200 on Tuesday. Ontario’s positivity rate has dropped to 8.6 per cent from 10.3 per cent.

The province has administered 3,422,974 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday night. A total of 337,000 people in Ontario have received their second dose of the vaccine and are considered fully inoculated.