London-Middlesex coronavirus case tally hits 600 as 5 new cases reported – London

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in London and Middlesex hit 600 Thursday after health officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported five new cases.

Of that total, 465 people have recovered — three more than Wednesday — and 57 have died, a tally that remained unchanged.

Health unit figures show four of the cases were reported in London, while one case was reported in Middlesex Centre — the second case to be reported in the municipality in as many days.

Four of the cases, including the Middlesex Centre case, involve staff at local long-term care homes, according to health unit data. Of the four cases, three are linked to the same facility.

Of the at least 61 cases that have been reported in London since June 1, seven have been linked to long-term care and retirement homes, according to health unit figures.

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London has seen 560 confirmed COVID-19 cases, followed by Strathroy-Caradoc with 20. Nine have been reported in Middlesex Centre, five in North Middlesex, four in Thames Centre and one each in Lucan Biddulph and Southwest Middlesex.

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The number of active COVID-19 outbreaks in the region declined by one to two as of Wednesday afternoon after an outbreak at Chelsey Park Retirement Community was deemed resolved.

The outbreak was declared on May 30 and saw at least one resident test positive.

It was the second outbreak to be declared at Chelsey Park. An outbreak was active from May 23 to June 4 on the third floor of its long-term care facility.

Two outbreaks remain active in the region, including at Kensington Village, declared April 3, and at Peoplecare Oakcrossing, declared on Tuesday in the facility’s Norway Spruce area.

The outbreak at Peoplecare is the second to be seen there following an outbreak from May 3 to May 18 that saw two staff members test positive.

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At least 25 outbreaks have been reported in the region during the pandemic, with 20 linked to long-term care and retirement homes.

Seniors’ facilities also account for 176 of the region’s cases and 37 of its deaths.

Following Thursday’s update, long-term care homes have now seen 109 cases, involving 62 residents and 47 staff members, along with 24 deaths.

Retirement homes, meantime, have seen 67 cases, involving 44 residents and 23 staff members, and 13 deaths.

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The number of hospitalized patients remains unclear but is under five, according to London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

LHSC has not released an updated tally since June 10 after announcing it would only put out a new figure if there were more than five COVID-19 patients in hospital.

No patients are being treated by St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHC) as of Thursday.

In an online update, SJHC noted that one additional staff member had also tested positive, bringing that total to 19.

It’s not clear how many LHSC have tested positive, as the organization has stopped releasing that number unless staff cases rise by five or more.

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Health-care workers make up about 23 per cent of cases in London and Middlesex, according to the health unit.

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Provincially, Ontario reported 173 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and three more deaths.

The increase is the lowest since late March, bringing the province to a total of 32,917 — an increase of 0.5 per cent over Wednesday, the lowest growth rate since early March.

The total includes 2,553 deaths and 28,004 resolved cases — with those now making up more than 85 per cent of the province’s total.

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The numbers of patients with COVID-19 in hospital, in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped to their lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting those figures at the beginning of April.

More than half of the province’s new cases come from Toronto, with 70 cases, and Peel Region, with 27.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that a made-in-Canada mobile app to alert Canadians who may have been exposed to a person infected with the virus is ready for testing in Ontario and will be ready for downloading in early July.

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Trudeau says the app is completely voluntary and will not share or store any personal information, including a user’s geographical location.

However, he says the app will be more effective the more people download and use it.

It will work by asking people to anonymously tell the app if they have tested positive for COVID-19, and then all the phones that have recently been close to that phone for an extended time will alert their holders to a possible exposure to the illness.

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Elgin and Oxford

No new cases, deaths or recoveries have been reported by officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH).

The total number of cases remains unchanged at 82, of which 70 people have recovered and four have died.

Health officials reported one new case on Wednesday, one new case on Tuesday, and no new cases on Monday or over the weekend.

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The latest case was reported in Woodstock in Oxford County. The county has a total of five active cases, including three in East Zorra-Tavistock, one in Tillsonburg and the case in Woodstock.

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In Elgin County, three active cases remain, including two in St. Thomas and one in Dutton/Dunwich.

None of the active cases have been hospitalized, health unit data shows.

Three outbreaks in have been declared during the pandemic, infecting a total of one resident and nine staff. All have since resolved.

The health unit says the nine staff cases may not necessarily factor into the region’s total case count as staff may live outside of the region.

As of Thursday, 7,491 tests had been conducted in Elgin and Oxford counties, with 619 people still awaiting test results.

The per cent of tests that come back positive stands at 1.2 per cent as of Thursday.

Huron and Perth

No new cases, deaths or recoveries were reported by officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) on Thursday.

The total number of cases confirmed in the region remains at 57, of which 49 people have recovered and five have died.

Health officials reported one new case and one recovery on Wednesday, and no new cases, deaths or recoveries on Monday. The health unit did not release an update Tuesday.

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Three cases remain active in the region, including two in Perth County and one in Huron County.

Twenty-six cases and four deaths have been reported in Stratford, while 14 cases have been reported in Huron County and 13 in Perth County, with four cases and one death in St. Marys.

The four Stratford deaths were associated with Greenwood Court, a long-term care facility that had an outbreak that ended May 11. Six residents and 10 staff members tested positive.

In total, seven outbreaks have been declared. All have resolved.

The number of tests conducted in the region is not known as the figure has stopped being shown on the health unit’s website.

Sarnia and Lambton

One person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and one person has recovered, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Wednesday.

The update brings the total number of confirmed cases to 279, of which 239 people have recovered and 25 have died.

Officials announced two new cases and three recoveries late Tuesday, and no new cases late Monday.

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The total number of outbreaks in the county has risen by one to eight after an outbreak was declared at Bluewater Health hospital in Sarnia involving three staff members from its since-closed COVID-19 unit.

The hospital has seen no COVID-19 patients since Monday morning, when it discharged the final resident in its care from Vision Nursing Home. The hospital had taken in positive cases from the home to keep a severe outbreak at the facility from worsening.

A total of 18 staff members at the hospital have tested positive for the virus over the course of the pandemic, however, this is the first official outbreak to be declared at Bluewater Health by the health unit.

The reason, officials say, is due to a change made earlier this month by the Ministry of Health regarding when to identify an outbreak in a hospital.

Government guidelines now say that an outbreak at a public hospital is defined as two or more lab-confirmed cases — patients and/or staff — within a specified unit, floor or service, within a 14-day period “where both cases could have reasonably acquired their infection in the hospital.”

None of the staff have had to be hospitalized, and the other staff members who previously tested positive have since recovered.

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It’s not clear how many, if any, of the previous 15 staff cases would have triggered an outbreak declaration under the new changes.

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The only other active outbreak in the county is the ongoing outbreak at Vision Nursing Home, which was declared on April 23. Twenty-six residents and 28 staff members have tested positive and 10 residents have died.

Eight outbreaks in all have been declared by the health unit. Six have been in Sarnia, while two have been in Petrolia — both at Lambton Meadowview Villa.

The percentage of tests that come back positive stands at 2.8 per cent, down from 2.9 late Tuesday.

At least 9,998 test results had been received by the health unit as of late Wednesday.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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