Another spike in new COVID-19 cases in London-area

COVID-19 testing in a laboratory. (Photo from Pxhere)

It was another triple-digit day for new COVID-19 infections in the London region.

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported 151 new cases on Thursday, its third highest daily number of new infections since the pandemic began. It comes just one day after the area saw a record 176 cases and five days after the second highest number of 161 cases.

Since the start of April, there have been 11 days on which the number of new cases has exceeded 100.

The latest cases bring the region’s total case count to 8,903, with 7,492 resolved.

There were no additional COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday, leaving the death toll at 193. Currently, there are 1,218 active cases in the city and county.

A second case of the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil has been identified in the London-area. There were also 53 more cases determined to be the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first reported in the U.K., for a total of 798. Public health officials said 187 have been confirmed as mutation-positive samples.

The London Health Sciences Centre reported five more patients with COVID-19 in its care for a total of 57. Of those, 24 are in the intensive care unit. That is an increase of six compared to Wednesday’s numbers. There are nine employees at the hospital who have tested positive for the virus.

Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building is the only medical facility locally with an outbreak. There are also active outbreaks at eight Western University residences, two daycare centres, and seven schools.

Preparations to shift students from in-person learning to full-time remote study as of next week continue. The Thames Valley District school board (TVDSB) has told parents learning materials are being posted to digital learning platforms so students can begin independent learning “right away” when full remote learning begins next week.

“We are committed to providing all students with a high-quality remote learning experience while schools are closed,” said Mark Fisher, TVDSB Director of Education. “No student will be disadvantaged by this interruption to in-person learning.”

Families in need of a computing device are advised to contact their home school April 19 to 21. The provincial government has closed schools indefinitely as the third wave of COVID-19 surges.

There was a slight decrease in new cases reported Thursday in Elgin and Oxford counties. Southwestern Public Health reported 23 new infections, down from 30 the previous day. The latest numbers bring the region’s total case count to 3,110. There was another COVID-19 related death in the two counties, bringing the death toll to 72. Resolved cases in the region have increased to 2,858. There are 180 known active cases. Caressant Care Bonnie Place and Metcalfe Gardens, both in St. Thomas, are the only long-term care facilities with outbreaks. There are five cases at Caressant Care – three resident and two staff infections. Two employees at Metcalfe Gardens have contracted the virus. There are no deaths associated with either outbreak.

Ontario’s daily COVID-19 cases soared above 4,700 for the first time ever.

There were 4,736 infections reported across the province on Thursday, up from 4,156 the previous day and surpassing the previous record high of 4,456 on Sunday.

Toronto had the highest number of new infections of any city in the province over the past 24 hours with 1,188. Peel recorded 983, York Region had 526, Ottawa had 342, and Durham reported 216.

Ontario hit a grim milestone on Thursday as the total number of people to contract the virus across the province since the pandemic started last year surpassed 400,000. There have been 403,571 lab confirmed cases to-date.

Twenty-nine additional deaths were reported since Wednesday. That brings the province’s death toll up to 7,639.

At hospitals in Ontario the situation has become more direr with a record 1,932 patients with COVID-19 admitted. Of those, 659 are in intensive care (a new record high) and 442 are on ventilators.

The number of resolved cases rose to 357,591. There are currently 38,341 active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, more than 65,500 COVID-19 tests were processed. That is up from 54,211 tests on Wednesday. Ontario’s positivity rate is roughly 8 per cent.

The province has administered 3,528,404 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since Wednesday. There are 339,491 people in Ontario who have received their second dose of the vaccine to be considered fully inoculated.