1 new COVID-19 death, 129 hospitalizations in London-area

A microbiologist performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus. (Photo by Tom Wolf from Flickr)

The London region has recorded its fifth COVID-19 death of the new year as local hospitalizations from the virus continue to hit record highs.

The Middlesex London Health Unit reported the death of a man in his 70s on Wednesday. He was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, the health unit stated. The death comes after four other deaths linked to the virus were recorded over the weekend – two on Saturday and two on Sunday. The death toll in London and Middlesex County is now 264.

There were 324 new cases logged in the area over the past 24 hours, up from 260 on Tuesday. Resolved cases increased to 20,628, which helped lower the number of active cases locally to 3,984. It is the first time this year the number of active cases in the community has been below 4,000. However, public health officials have said current case numbers are likely an underestimation of the true number of people with the virus due to eligibility changes for lab-based PCR testing.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has more COVID-19 positive people in its care than ever before. The hospital network confirmed Wednesday there are 129 inpatients with the virus, up from a record 107 the previous day. While new admissions have gone up, the number of people with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit has held steady for a third straight day at 21. The number of inpatients at Children’s Hospital went up by one to six.

The LHSC specified that of the 129 COVID-19 patients at its hospitals, 80 are being treated for COVID-19, while 49 were admitted for other reasons but have the virus.

Forty-four more hospital staffers have tested positive for the virus, for a total of 512.

Another COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at University Hospital. Ten patients and nine workers have been linked to the outbreak on the A9 inpatients Unit on corridors 100 and 200. The north-end hospital also has an ongoing outbreak on 7IP Clinical Neurosciences. An active outbreak continues on Victoria Hospital’s Adult Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.

Southwestern Public Health reported 106 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, increasing the local case count since the pandemic began to 8,720. The death toll rose to 126 with four additional deaths reported since Tuesday. Resolved cases rose to 7,112. There are now 1,382 active cases in the two counties.

The number of people in the intensive care unit at Ontario hospitals has surpassed 500.

A total of 3,448 people infected with the virus are currently in hospitals across the province. That is up by 228 patients from Tuesday. Just under half of those admitted to hospital are there for other reasons but tested positive for COVID-19.
Of those in hospital, 505 are in the ICU, up 28 from the previous day. Roughly 83 per cent of those in the ICU were admitted because of COVID-19, while the remaining 17 per cent are there for other reasons but also have the virus.

The province recorded 9,783 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which is considered an underestimate of community spread. Daily case numbers are no longer thought to be a true reflection of spread of the virus in the province as the government has limited who is eligible for a free PCR test. Currently, only high-risk individuals who are symptomatic or are at risk of severe illness from the virus can get the test.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now sits at 906,031.

According to public health officials, there were 46 additional deaths related to the virus recorded Wednesday. The official death toll now stands at 10,445.

Resolved cases across the province are up by 16,109 to 763,398. That leaves 132,188 known active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, 56,420 COVID-19 tests were processed. Ontario’s positivity rate is now 20.3 per cent.

The province has administered 28,853,124 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday night. More than 88 per cent of Ontarians 12 and older have received both doses of the vaccine and are considered fully inoculated. There are more than 5 million people in the province who have now received the booster shot.