London region records two more COVID-19 deaths

Nasal swabs in test tubes. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / ayo88.

The COVID-19 death toll in London and Middlesex County has gone up for the first time in six days.

The Middlesex London Health Unit confirmed on Thursday a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s have succumbed to the virus. Neither were associated with a long-term care or retirement home, according to the health unit. There have now been nine COVID-19 related deaths in the region this month – five of which occurred last week. The latest death brings the local death toll to 385.

The health unit also recorded 36 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, down from 43 on 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 37,763, according to the health unit.

The number of resolved cases is up to 36,976. Currently, there are 399 known active cases in the region, down from 524 a week ago.

COVID-19 hospitalizations went down by three over the last 24 hours. The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) confirmed on Thursday it has 30 inpatients with the virus in its care. It is the lowest local hospitalizations have been so far this month.

Of the 30 people in hospital, there are 17 being treated for COVID-19 and 13 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. There are zero COVID-19 patients in the care of Children’s Hospital, down from five or fewer on Wednesday.

The hospital network said it currently has 128 infected staffers, down two over the past 24 hours. A week ago there were 149 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, the number of people with COVID-19 admitted to hospital was down again.

A total of 1,207 people with COVID-19 were admitted to Ontario hospitals on Thursday, down 41 over the previous day. It is the second consecutive day hospitalizations from the virus have decreased. At this time last week there were 1,451 hospitalizations.

The provincial breakdown of hospitalization numbers reported on Thursday shows 39 per cent of those admitted were because of COVID-19 and 61 per cent are being treated for other reasons but also have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 168 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units across the province, an increase of five since Wednesday, according to the latest figures released by the province.

Public health officials said there were 1,565 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 1,291,814.

Twenty-three additional deaths related to the virus were reported on Thursday, to bring the death toll up to 13,122. The province said 20 of the latest deaths occurred within the last month. Three others occurred more than a month ago and were just added to the total as part of a data clean up.

The number of resolved cases rose by 2,204 to 1,261,782.

In the last 24 hour period, 15,462 COVID-19 tests were processed. Ontario’s positivity rate is now 9.6 per cent, down from 10.7 per cent a week ago.

The province has administered 33,176,573 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 91.3 per cent have been given a second dose. More than 7.3 million first booster shots have been administered.