Sharp drop in new COVID-19 cases in London-area

Pharmacy technicians drawing up doses of COVID vaccines. (File photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the London-area was down significantly on Monday.

The Middlesex London Health Unit logged just 47 new infections on Monday. That is a sharp drop from the 88 cases reported on Sunday and the 104 recorded on Saturday. It is the first time since March 30 that the single-day case count was under 50.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 10,623 COVID-19 cases in London and Middlesex County.

For the second straight day there was a COVID-19 related death reported locally. The health unit said a man in his 80s who was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home died from the virus. His death brings the area death toll to 202.

There were 48 more cases involving variants of concern identified in the region since Friday, for a total of 1,619. The B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the U.K., now accounts for 1,611 of the cases, while there are eight cases of the P.1. variant from Brazil. Another 274 have tested positive for a mutation.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) announced on Monday its Pathology and Laboratory Medicine team is now routinely screening for variants of concern as part of its COVID-19 lab testing services.

“Public Health Ontario has been screening all positive cases from the entire province for variants of concern since February, but with the increasing demands of the third wave, additional laboratory support was needed,” LHSC Chief Laboratory Officer Dr. Mike Kadour said in a statement. “It helps to uncover where the variants are spreading and at what rate, which allows the Province and local public health units to adapt measures and respond accordingly.”

The hospital has 94 patients with COVID-19 in its care, including 35 who are in the intensive care unit. Of the COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital, 32 were transferred in from other hard hit regions – nine in acute care and 23 in ICU.

Outbreaks remain at three area schools, two daycares, and one Western University residence.

There are currently no healthcare facilities in the city or country with active outbreaks of the virus.

Recoveries were up by 79 for a total of 9,508. Currently, there are 913 active cases in the region.

The number of new cases in Elgin and Oxford counties climbed by 44 on Monday. The number includes infections identified both Saturday and Sunday, as Southwestern Public Health does not update its COVID-19 dashboard on weekends. The latest cases bring the two counties total case count to 3,450. The death toll was unchanged at 76. There is a single outbreak at a seniors’ facility in Woodstock. Caressant Care Nursing home has identified three positive resident cases and three positive staff infections. The health unit said the total number of resolved cases in the area is 3,234, leaving 140 known active cases in the two counties.

Provincially, the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped under 3,500.

Public health officials logged 3,436 infections on Monday, a decrease from the 3,732 recorded on Sunday. However it is up from the 3,369 cases reported on Saturday.

Regions with the most new cases were Toronto with 985, Peel with 714, York Region with 351, Durham with 271, and Hamilton with 194.

According to the province’s daily epidemiologic summary, Ontario identified 3,033 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant over the past 24 hours for a total of 75,346. Forty-five more cases of the P.1 variant were found for a total of 920, while the number of new cases of the B.1.351 variant is up by ten for a total of 301.

The daily epidemiologic summary does not currently list cases in the province of the B.1.617 variant, originally found in India.

The province’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now sits at 473,901.

Sixteen deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, to increase the province’s death toll to 8,118.

At hospitals in Ontario, there are 1,925 patients with COVID-19, a decrease of 36 since Sunday. The number of infected patients in the intensive care unit is down by six to 889 and there are four fewer patients on ventilators for a total of 611.

The number of resolved cases rose by 3,623 to 428,786. There are currently 36,997 known active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, 33,179 COVID-19 tests were processed. Ontario’s current positivity rate has risen to 9.7 per cent, from 8.5 per cent the previous day.

The province has administered 5,378,249 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of Sunday night. A total of 375,905 people in Ontario have received their second dose of the vaccine to be considered fully inoculated. As of Monday, eligibility for the shot was expanded to include people 18 and older living in 114 COVID-19 hotspots in the province. That includes the N5H postal code in Aylmer.