Two additional COVID-19 deaths in London, Middlesex

Coronavirus test concept with blood test tubes, test form and other medical objects © Can Stock Photo / alexbowmore

While the number of workers and patients sick with COVID-19 in London hospitals went down again on Friday, the region’s death toll went up by two.

The Middlesex London Health Unit said two men in their 80s succumbed to the virus. One was associated with a retirement home. A dozen COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in London and Middlesex County this week, including six on Thursday, the highest single-day death toll since last January. The overall death toll since the pandemic began is now 282.

Another 224 new cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours in the city and county, marking a slight drop from Thursday’s 239. However, the Middlesex London Health Unit has noted that single-day case counts are likely an underestimate of the true number of people in the region with the virus, due to changes made late last month to testing eligibility.

The local total of infections since the pandemic began now sits at 27,257.

The number of resolved cases rose by 294 to 24,451. There are 2,524 known active cases in the region, down 65 over the past 24 hours.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has 153 COVID-19 inpatients in its care, down 13 from Thursday. Of those, 22 are listed in intensive care. That is down one over the past 24 hours.

The LHSC noted 91 of the 153 COVID-19 positive people in its care were admitted for treatment of the virus. The 62 remaining people came to the hospital for other reasons and tested positive for the virus.

The number of hospital staff who tested positive for the virus has gone down for a fifth straight day. There are now 297 employees infected, down 13 from Thursday and 214 from a week ago. It is the first time since January 5, the number of COVID-19 positive workers at the LHSC was under 300.

In Elgin and Oxford counties, there were 93 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday. Southwestern Public Health, the health unit for the region, said that brings the local total number of cases to 9,533 with 8,543 resolved. The death toll has risen to 130 with one additional death recorded over the past 24 hours. There are currently 860 active cases in the two counties.

Ontario recorded a jump in the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday.

Public health officials confirmed there are currently 4,114 COVID-19 positive people in hospitals across the province. That is up from 4,061 the previous day. Of the 4,114, roughly 54 per cent were admitted because of the virus, while 46 per cent were admitted for other reasons and tested positive for the virus.

In intensive care units, there are 590 patients with COVID-19, down four from Thursday.

Ontario logged 7,165 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. That is down from 7,757 new infections Thursday. Public health officials have cautioned the daily counts are an underestimate of the spread of the virus in the province due to recent changes to PCR testing eligibility.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now stands at 984,359.

There were 64 additional deaths reported over the past 24 hours, increasing the provincial death toll to 10,865. The province said 62 of those deaths happened over the past month and two were from more than a month ago.

The number of resolved cases are up by 11,566 to 898,589.

In the last 24 hour period, 41,538 COVID-19 tests were processed. Ontario’s positivity rate is now 17.7 per cent.

To date, the province has administered 29,872,383 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 88.8 per cent of people 12 and older having received both shots required to be fully inoculated. More than 5.8 million Ontarians have received a booster shot.

Health Minister Christine Elliott also announced on Friday the province has received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid.

“This is an important tool to help reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations for high-risk Ontarians,” Elliott tweeted.

She said the pills are currently being distributed to sites across Ontario and an additional 400 courses of the drug have been secured for First Nations communities in the north.