COVID-19 hospitalizations, death toll rise in London region

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / alphaspirit

The COVID-19 death toll in London and Middlesex County has increased for a third straight day.

The Middlesex London Health Unit confirmed on Thursday a man in his 80s has succumbed to the virus. He was associated with a long-term care home, according to the health unit. There have now been four COVID-19 related deaths in the region this week – including two Tuesday and one Wednesday. The latest death brings the local death toll to 382.

The health unit also recorded 63 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from 41on Wednesday. Daily case tallies are believed to be an underestimate of community spread since the provincial government limited eligibility for PCR testing at the end of December. The total number of cases locally since March of 2020 is now 37,510, according to the health unit.

The number of resolved cases is up to 36,604. Currently, there are 524 known active cases in the region, down from 715 a week ago.

COVID-19 hospitalizations went up by five over the last 24 hours. The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) confirmed on Thursday it has 36 inpatients with the virus in its care. It is the first time this week, local hospitalizations have increased.

Of the 36 people in hospital, there are 19 being treated for COVID-19 and 17 being treated for other ailments but who have also tested positive.

Intensive care unit admissions related to the virus were unchanged at five or fewer. The number of COVID-19 patients in the care of Children’s Hospital continues to be five or fewer with none of those inpatients in paediatric critical care.

The hospital network said it currently has 149 infected staffers, up ten compared to Wednesday. A week ago there were 169 employees who had tested positive.

Southwestern Public Health, the health unit for Elgin and Oxford counties, does not update its COVID-19 cases dashboard on Thursdays. Its next update will be released on Friday.

Provincially, there was another drop in the number of people with COVID-19 admitted to hospital and ICU.

A total of 1,451 people with COVID-19 were admitted to Ontario hospitals on Thursday, down 77 over the previous day. It is the second consecutive day hospitalizations from the virus have decreased. At this time last week there were 1,676 hospitalizations.

The provincial breakdown of hospitalization numbers reported on Thursday shows 40 per cent of those admitted were because of COVID-19 and 60 per cent are being treated for other reasons but also have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 175 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units across the province, down one since Wednesday, according to the latest figures released by the province.

Public health officials said there were 2,160 new cases in Ontario on Thursday. Public health officials have cautioned that daily case numbers are considered an underestimate of the spread of the virus though, as the provincial government continues to restrict who is eligible for a free PCR test.

The province’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now sits at 1,281,360.

Fourteen additional deaths related to the virus were reported on Thursday, to bring the death toll up to 13,034. The province said all of the latest deaths occurred within the last month.

The number of resolved cases rose by 2,602 to 1,247,571.

In the last 24 hour period, 16,360 COVID-19 tests were processed. Ontario’s positivity rate is now 10.7 per cent, down from 13 per cent a week ago.

The province has administered 32,027,991 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of Wednesday night. Provincial data shows 93.1 per cent of Ontarians 12 and older have received one dose of the vaccine, while 91.2 per cent have been given a second dose. More than 7.3 million first booster shots have been administered.