Canada: Coronavirus: 33 cases, 20 recoveries reported Monday and Tuesday in London-Middlesex: MLHU

COVID-19: Ontario reports lowest daily hike in two months; Ottawa reports 72; military sees case surge

  COVID-19: Ontario reports lowest daily hike in two months; Ottawa reports 72; military sees case surge What you need to know, at a glance Ontario reports 1,670 new cases, lowest daily count since last November 49 more deaths reported, bringing total to 5,958 people since pandemic began There have been 260,370 cases in Ontario, 232,480 considered resolved Hot spots remain Toronto, with 450 new cases, Peel (342), York (171) and Niagara 128 The province reported 82 new cases in Ottawa. Provincial and Ottawa Public Health tallies can differ because data are pulled from different database systems at different times. In surrounding regions, there were 28 new cases identified in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, which includes Cornwall.

Jump to: Hospitalizations - Outbreaks - Schools - Vaccinations and Testing - Ontario - Elgin and Oxford - Huron and Perth - Sarnia and Lambton

a close up of many different vegetables on display in a garden: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. © National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit's online coronavirus dashboard came back online Tuesday after being down the previous day for a scheduled outage involving the province’s case and contact management system.

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According to health unit figures, 33 cases were reported between the health unit's last update on Sunday and its most recent update on Tuesday, including 16 on Monday and 17 on Tuesday.

At least 20 recoveries were reported between Sunday's update and Tuesday's, however, due to the way the health unit's dashboard displays data, it was not immediately clear how many were reported each on Monday and Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, the region's pandemic case tally stood at 5,722, of which 3,827 have recovered. At least 175 deaths have been reported, most recently on Friday involving two people, in their 70s and 90s, who were both linked to long-term care.

Factoring in Monday's case increase, which is reflective of data from Jan. 31, the month of January reported at least 2,322 cases and 69 deaths, the most cases and deaths of any month during the pandemic.

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The health unit says it's continuing to move its COVID-19 dashboard system over to that used by the province, meaning some local datasets, including school case and outbreak data and contact tracing figures, are not available at the present moment. It should be noted, however, that school case data is still available through school boards.

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Of the 33 cases reported on Monday and Tuesday, 30 are from London while two are from Strathroy-Caradoc and one is from Middlesex Centre.

People under 40 make up more than half of the cases. Four are aged 19 or younger, 10 are in their 20s, five each are in their 30s and 40s, six are in their 50s, and three are in their 60s. No cases were reported involving people 70 or older.

Exposure source information was still pending for at least 14 cases, while nine are listed as being due to close contact, seven have no known link, and three are outbreak-related.

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The lower case count continues a downward trajectory in infections that is a stark contrast to the extreme triple-digit peaks the region saw just a month ago.

But despite the positive trend, local health officials stress it isn't guaranteed for the long-term.

“We are walking along a path that is as thin as a razor, and it would be very easy to fall in either direction in a way that would substantially increase our case counts,” Dr. Chris Mackie, the region's medical officer of health, said during a media briefing on Monday.

“We’re still at a rate of daily case counts across the province that are higher than the peak of wave one. If we make mistakes now, if we take our attention away from the public health measures and precautions that have gotten us this far, we will see case counts spike again," he said.

“We’re past the peak, but it’s the middle of winter. So we could easily see the increase in cases again if measures aren’t continued to be followed.”

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The region's seven-day case average sits at 32.85 as of Tuesday, while the 14-day average is 39.85.

London has recorded at least 4,963 cases during the pandemic, followed by Middlesex Centre with 239.

Due to its smaller population, Middlesex Centre has been hit harder by its caseload than London, reporting a cumulative incidence rate of 1,352 cases per 100,000 people to London's 1,226.

Elsewhere, Strathroy-Caradoc has reported 193 cases, Thames Centre 96, Lucan Biddulph 48, Southwest Middlesex 36, North Middlesex 28, Adelaide Metcalfe 13 and Newbury two. At least 104 cases are pending location data.

The health unit says people under the age of 40 have accounted for roughly 54 per cent of the region's overall caseload, with people in their 20s accounting for 23 per cent.

Hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the care of London Health Sciences Centre stood at 19 as of Tuesday, down one from a day earlier.

The number of those patients in critical or intensive care, however, rose by one to nine.

Active staff cases within LHSC, meantime, fell by one to 13. An outbreak remains active at University Hospital in its emergency department. The outbreak is linked to 10 staff cases, however no additional cases have been reported since last week.

No COVID-19 patients are in the care of St. Joseph's Hospital, according to St. Joseph's Health Care London. The organization has three active staff cases, all linked to an outbreak at Mount Hope.

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One case is also active within Parkwood Institute's Mental Health Care Building, however it is not outbreak-related.

The health unit says 339 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 66 in intensive care.

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On Monday, Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC's chief medical officer of health, said the organization had seen relatively steady patient occupant rates in comparison to other jurisdictions.

“LHSC is currently working with partners from across the province to ensure capacity is appropriately balanced throughout the system, particularly in critical care, which is facing significant pressure in the Greater Toronto Area,” Dukelow said.

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LHSC, he says, had prepared for the imminent transfer of up to four critical care patients from the GTA last week, however only one patient had arrived as of Monday.

“We remain at the ready to accept other appropriate cases as directed by the Ontario Critical Care COVID Command Centre. The proactive transfer of COVID-19 patients requiring critical care between hospitals in Ontario is being implemented to ensure access to this enhanced level of care is maintained for all patients in Ontario that need it.”

Locally, Dukelow says local operating room capacity currently stands at 85 per cent for University Hospital and 90 per cent for Victoria Hospital.

Outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared in the region, and one previous outbreak has been declared over.

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The outbreak, declared at Glendale Crossing in its Lambeth and Westminster areas on Jan. 9, was declared over on Monday, the health unit said.

According to provincial data, the 192-bed facility saw no active resident cases, and fewer than five cases involving health-care workers.

Elsewhere, 10 institutional outbreaks remain active in the region, including nine at long-term care and retirement homes.

Since March 2020, the region has seen at least 94 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including 68 at local seniors’ facilities.

Elsewhere, an outbreak remains active at University Hospital's emergency department involving 10 staff cases, unchanged since late last week.

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An outbreak also remains active at the city's jail.

The outbreak, first declared on Jan. 18 at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, has been linked to at least 42 cases, including 25 among staff and 17 among inmates as of Monday, according to the health unit.

"New cases continue to come in. The positive is... well there are two: it's a relatively young population, so the risk is generally lower; second: certainly on the inmate cases, this is a situation where they're confined, so the risk of spread beyond the facility is mitigated," Mackie said Monday.

"It is difficult to implement additional precautions in a setting like EMDC, and so we do expect that we will continue to see cases come from that facility, unfortunately."

Mackie noted that recent testing by the province's lab on samples from the outbreak found no positive signs of more contagious coronavirus variants.

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Schools

No active school cases were reported on Tuesday in the London and Middlesex region by either the Thames Valley District School Board or London District Catholic School Board.

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A previously active case at Chippewa Public School has been resolved.

Monday marked the first day that elementary students in the region could return to the classroom. High school students will be returning on Thursday.

The province says its aiming to have all schools in Ontario reopen for in-person learning by the middle of next week, and expects to make a final decision Wednesday.

Ontario's chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, says the province needs to do more work with public health units before those schools can reopen.

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The return to class has come with added measures, including a stricter mask mandate -- all students in grades 1 through 12 have to wear a mask outside when physical distancing can't be maintained -- more stringent screening protocols, and expanded access to asymptomatic testing.

On Monday, the province provided some more details, saying Ontario will have the capacity to complete 25,000 lab tests, and 25,000 antigen rapid tests per week. Officials, however, could not say how long it will take to reach those numbers.

“What is available, from our understanding, is teams that can provide testing to classes or schools as appropriate,” the region's medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, said Monday.

“There is not capacity for testing for all students in the system, so we will look for opportunities, whether there are clusters or small outbreaks, whether broader testing might assist in controlling what is happening in the school.”

The province also announced it had allocated $341 million of federal funding to school boards to bolster COVID-19 safety to be used for a variety of measures, including hiring more cleaning staff, buying personal protective equipment, and enhancing air filtration in schools.

During Monday's briefing, Mackie said he would be surprised if the region made it through the week without a case being confirmed at a local school.

“Schools uncover those cases because of the policy of testing people that have symptoms. So we will over the next few weeks uncover, no doubt several, maybe more, cases associated with students,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean they’re acquired in school… anything that tests positive this week, for example, almost certainly was acquired prior to the opening of schools.”

Vaccinations and Testing

Local health officials say the current focus of the region's vaccination campaign is getting second doses to long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents.

On Monday, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region's medical officer of health, said the health unit had begun its first round of second doses in such facilities, going on roughly the same schedule as was seen the first go-around.

Oneida Long-Term Care Facility was the first facility to see second doses of the vaccine, Mackie said, exactly three weeks to the day the facility saw its first doses.

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“We did have a shipment of Pfizer vaccine arrive today at the (Western Fair District) Agriplex," Mackie said.

"Very encouraging. And those vaccines are going out to long-term care and retirement homes as we speak.”

Mackie couldn't say specifically how much vaccine had arrived, citing provincial requests not to divulge such information, but said vaccination teams would "almost certainly" be able to get second doses to all long-term care residents within 21 days, "given the vaccine supplies that are in-house and expected."

Asked whether the temporarily closed Western Fair District Agriplex vaccination clinic would be able to reopen at the end of the week, Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC's chief medical officer of health, said an extended shutdown was likely, but noted that decision would depend on the amount of supply of vaccine received.

“We don’t have a line of sight as to how much vaccine we’ll receive next week, which is the key aspect as to when that might be able to open up again," he said.

On Tuesday, the province said it expected to receive about 80 per cent fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the first two weeks of this month, with shipments set to return nearly to previously expected levels beginning Feb. 15.

Ontario also expects to receive approximately 20 per cent fewer Moderna shots this week.

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It all comes on the heels of the health unit's release last week of a draft vaccination plan, detailing how it plans to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of eligible recipients as soon as possible through mass vaccination clinics, mobile clinics and more.

At least three additional mass vaccination clinics are set to open by mid-February, with the goal of vaccinating as many as 3,000 people per day. The plan is still a draft and is subject to feedback from the ministry and members of the public.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada had signed a tentative agreement to have U.S.-based Novavax produce millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Canada once it's approved for use here.

If Health Canada approves it -- something likely at least two months away -- a new National Research Council facility in Montreal will begin pumping out Novavax doses when the building is finished later this year, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to be produced domestically.

Canada is currently at the mercy of foreign governments, which could at any time slam the doors shut to vaccine exports until their own people are vaccinated.

That risk becomes ever more real this week as Europe's new export controls on vaccines take hold, putting at risk Canada's entire supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

All doses from the currently approved vaccines being produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are being made in Europe.

Read more: 86 per cent of Canadians support new international travel restrictions, poll finds

Both of the city’s COVID-19 assessment centres, which are still operating on an appointment model, continue to see steady, albeit lower turnout compared to early on in January.

Carling Heights reported an average of 289 visits per day between Jan. 25 and 29, while Oakridge Arena reported an average of 264.

Between Jan. 11 and 15, Carling Heights reported an average of 462, while Oakridge saw 331.

Officials with the Thames Valley Family Health Team have attributed the slump to several factors, including the province’s stay-at-home order and the ceasing of testing for travel.

Ontario

A data issue has resulted in an underestimation of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, with the province reporting 745 new cases of the virus Tuesday.

The government says the figure does not include data from Toronto, which is migrating its information to the provincial case system.

The Ministry of Health says it anticipates fluctuations in case numbers over the next few days as the databases are reconciled.

Read more: Ontario reports 745 new coronavirus cases, notes underestimation from data system migration

The ministry also says that case counts for other public health units may have been affected by system outages related to the migration.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 334 new cases in Peel Region, 124 in York Region and 65 in Niagara Region.

Ontario is reporting 14 new deaths linked to the virus and 2,297 resolved cases.

The province also says that so far, Ontario has seen 109 cases of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the U.K. variant and one of the variant that emerged in South Africa.

Another 2,715 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the last daily update. A total of 344,615 doses have been administered in Ontario so far.

Elgin and Oxford

Thirteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus while another 27 have recovered, Southwestern Public Health reported Tuesday.

The region's pandemic case tally stands at 2,318, of which 2,109 have recovered. Fifty-seven people have died, with the most recent death reported on Saturday.

The health unit says at least 152 cases are active in the Elgin-Oxford region.

At least 61 cases are active in Woodstock, while 18 each are active in Norwich and St. Thomas, and 17 in Tillsonburg. Ten other municipalities have active tallies of 10 or fewer.

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One new school case has been reported in the region.

The case was reported late Monday by the Thames Valley District School Board at Central Public School in Woodstock.

No other active cases are listed in the region by the Thames Valley or London District Catholic school boards.

An outbreak at Terrace Lodge in Aylmer has resolved. The outbreak, declared on Dec. 19, was linked to six staff cases.

Elsewhere, eight other outbreaks remain active at long-term care and retirement homes, declared on:

Jan. 28 at Extendicare in Port Stanley (one staff case)

Jan. 24 at Arches Transitional Bed Program in Woodstock (one staff case)

Jan. 21 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in Woodstock (40 resident, 10 staff cases; two resident and one staff case more than the day before)

Jan. 21 at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas (one staff case)

Jan. 15 at Dayspring Residence in Tillsonburg (one resident case)

Jan. 1 at Woodingford Lodge – Woodstock (two resident, two staff cases)

Dec. 16 at PeopleCare Tavistock (47 resident, 36 staff cases; nine deaths)

Dec. 12 at Maple Manor Nursing Home (85 resident, 52 staff cases; 20 deaths)

Health unit figures show that at least 32 outbreaks at 21 facilities have been reported during the pandemic.

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The health unit says a total of 424 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 398 have been in St. Thomas, 357 in Aylmer and 320 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 196 cases have been in Norwich, 161 in Bayham, 101 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 99 in Ingersoll, 53 in Zorra, 47 in Blandford-Blenheim, 46 in South-West Oxford, 43 in Central Elgin, 24 in Southwold, 21 in West Elgin, 19 in Dutton/Dunwich and eight in Malahide.

The region's test positivity rate stood at 2.4 per cent the week of Jan. 17, down from 3.2 the week before and 5.9 the week before that.

Updated figures are expected on Wednesday.

Huron and Perth

One person has died and five others have tested positive for the coronavirus, Huron Perth Public Health reported on Tuesday.

It brings the region's pandemic case tally to 1,231, an increase of just four from the day before. One previously confirmed case was reassigned to a different health unit.

The health unit says at least 1,116 people have recovered, an increase of eight from the day before.

Forty-one people have died during the pandemic. The death reported Tuesday involved a resident of Seaforth Manor, which is experiencing an ongoing outbreak.

One death was also reported at the facility on Monday.

Health unit figures show two of Tuesday's cases were reported in Goderich, two were in Huron East, and one was from North Perth.

At least 74 cases are currently active in the region. Roughly 65 per cent of them, 48, are located solely in Huron East, while 10 cases are active in North Perth. Nine other municipalities have three or fewer active cases each.

Three people are currently in hospital in the region.

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One new institutional outbreak has been declared, located at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East.

The outbreak, declared Jan. 31, is linked to five resident cases, the health unit says. An outbreak is also active in Seaforth Manor's nursing home, linked to at least 56 cases and two deaths.

The outbreak is among five that are currently active in the region, all at long-term care and retirement homes. The outbreaks were declared on:

Jan. 31 at Seaforth Manor Retirement Home in Huron East (five resident cases)

Jan. 30 at Fordwich Village in Howick (one staff case)

Jan. 17 at Seaforth Manor Nursing Home in Huron East (41 resident, 15 staff cases; two staff cases more than the day before. At least two deaths have been reported)

Jan. 10 at Caressant Care Nursing Home in North Perth (43 resident, 27 staff cases, 12 deaths)

Jan. 7 at Caressant Care Retirement Home in North Perth (30 resident, 10 staff cases, one death)

Meantime, two new school cases have been reported, both by the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

The cases were reported at Elma Township Public School in Atwood and at Listowel District Secondary School.

They're among five school cases that are currently active in the region, located at the following schools:

Elma Township Public School

Listowel District Secondary School (two cases)

North Perth Westfield (two cases)

No cases are active under the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board. The region remains in remote learning.

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At least 520 cases have been reported in Perth County during the pandemic, including 333 in North Perth 132 in Perth East, 29 in Perth South and 26 in West Perth.

Elsewhere, 396 cases have been reported in Huron County, including 89 in South Huron, 82 in Huron East, 47 in Central Huron, 40 in Morris Turnberry, 38 in North Huron, 34 in Howick, 32 in Bluewater, 21 in ACW and 13 in Goderich.

At least 287 cases have been reported in Stratford, and 28 in St. Marys.

The region's test positivity rate rose slightly the week of Jan. 17, up to 3.2 per cent from 3.1 the week prior. Updated figures are expected Wednesday.

Sarnia and Lambton

Three people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 21 have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported.

The region's pandemic case count stands at 1,845, with 1,739 recoveries and 38 deaths. The most recent death was reported on Monday.

At least 68 cases are listed as active in the region. The locations of the active cases were not available.

According to Bluewater Health, at least six people were in their care for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

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No new outbreaks have been declared, and no outbreaks have resolved.

Seven outbreaks remain active, including four at seniors' facilities, two at workplaces and one at Bluewater Health hospital.

Jan. 28 at Lambton Meadowview Villa in Petrolia (one staff case)

Jan. 13 at Vision Rest Home (32 resident, 14 staff cases, two deaths)

Jan. 8 at Twin Lakes Terrace (LTC) in Sarnia (18 resident, five staff cases, one death)

Dec. 30 at Village on the St. Clair in Sarnia (28 resident, 14 staff cases, three deaths)

The outbreak at Bluewater Health is linked to four patient and six staff infections, figures unchanged from Monday.

The workplace outbreaks are linked to eight cases. The names and locations of the workplaces have not been released.

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It's still not clear if any school cases have been reported.

Both the Lambton Kent District and St. Clair Catholic District school boards have paused public reporting while students are in remote learning.

The health unit itself does not report school cases.

The county's test positivity rate fell to 2.3 per cent as of the week of Jan. 17 to 23, down from 4.5 the week before and 6.2 the week before that. Updated figures are expected Wednesday.

-- With files from The Canadian Press

Canada adds 3,239 new coronavirus cases as deaths top 21K .
Provincial health authorities also confirmed 95 more people have died after testing positive for COVID-19. So far, the disease has claimed 21,004 lives in Canada. Read more: ‘Critical’ Global Affairs Canada services disrupted amid coronavirus cases at offices In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, warned of the danger of the new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus.

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