More than two dozen new COVID-19 cases reported in London-area

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / vichie81.

For only the second time this month, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the London region has risen above 25.

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported 26 new infections on Wednesday. That is up from seven on Tuesday and 18 on Monday. Single-day cases in the region have not been above 25 since June 2 when 33 cases were recorded.

Since the pandemic began, there has been a total of 12,475 cases in the city and county.

The local death toll is unchanged at 223.

Hospitalizations in the area held steady with 19 COVID-19 patients in the care of the London Health Sciences Centre. Of those, ten are listed in intensive care. COVID-19 patients transferred to the LHSC from outside of the region include fewer than five in acute care beds and fewer than five in intensive care. Fewer than five hospital workers have tested positive for the virus.

The region’s only active outbreak is on University Hospital’s 8TU transplant unit. That outbreak was declared over the weekend and is the hospital’s first since March.

There were 68 more cases involving variants of concern in London and Middlesex County, for a total of 3,383. Of those, 3,294 have been identified as the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) strain from the U.K., 83 are the P.1. (Gamma) variant from Brazil, four are the B.1.617 (Delta) strain from India, and there are two cases of the B.1.351 (Beta) variant from South Africa. The health unit also noted a total of 212 cases have tested positive for a mutation.

Resolved cases are up by seven for a total of 12,137. Active cases in the region rose to 115, a day after falling below 100.

On Wednesday, the health unit expanded accelerated second dose appointment eligibility to people who had their first shot on or before May 9. Rebooking of fast tracked second-dose appointments is also open to adults 70 and older, Indigenous people, certain health care workers, and those with specific health conditions. Vaccination appointments can be made online at www.covidvaccinelm.ca or by calling 226-289-3560 between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday to Sunday.

The health unit issued a reminder that the minimum rebooking interval for people who received Pfizer or Moderna for their first dose is 28 days. People who got AstraZeneca have to wait eight weeks for their second shot.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie also voiced strong support for vaccine interchangeability on Wednesday.

“Regardless of what you received for your first dose, Pfizer and Moderna are both excellent options for a second dose, and clients will receive the vaccine that is available,” said Mackie. “AstraZeneca is also a great second dose option for those who received it for their first dose.”

Vaccine interchangeability has been recommended by experts as a way to inoculate more people quicker.

Southwestern Public Health recorded five new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The latest cases puts Elgin and Oxford counties’ total up to 3,843. There were no additional COVID-19 related deaths reported in the region, leaving the death toll at 83. Resolved cases rose to 3,734. There are now 26 active cases locally.

Ontario’s daily case count climbed back above 300, a day after dropping to a low not seen in nine months.

A total of 384 new infections were confirmed on Wednesday, up from 296 the previous day. There were 447 cases on Monday and 530 on Sunday.

Regions with the highest number of new infections over the past 24 hours were Waterloo with 71, Peel with 60, and Toronto with 54.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now sits at 540,810.

According to public health officials, there were 12 additional deaths related to the virus on Wednesday. The official death toll now stands at 8,986.

The daily epidemiologic summary indicates Ontario found 488 more lab confirmed cases over the past 24 hours of the B.1.1.7. variant. There are now a total of 141,106 cases of that strain. Another 54 cases of the P.1. variant has been confirmed for a total of  4,156 and there were four more cases of the B.1.351 variant for a total of 1,141 in Ontario. Another 54 cases of the Delta B.1.617 variant were also identified for a total of 497.

Hospitalizations in the province have risen to 438 COVID-19 positive patients admitted. That’s an increase of five patients from the previous day. Of those in hospital, there are 377 in intensive care and 242 on ventilators.

Resolved cases across the province are up to 527,162. That leaves 4,662 known active cases of the virus in Ontario, down from  6,824 a week ago.

In the last 24 hour period, 28,076 COVID-19 tests were processed, up from 17,162 on Tuesday. Ontario’s positivity rate has dropped to 1.5 per cent.

The province has administered 11,732,414 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday night with more than 75 per cent of Ontarians having now received at least one dose. The province administered a new one day record of 202,984 doses on Tuesday. There are 2,198,715 people in Ontario who have received both doses of the vaccine and are considered fully inoculated.