The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in London and Middlesex rose to 26 on Thursday after health officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported three new deaths, all involving local seniors’ facilities.
The health unit said two of the deaths were reported at long-term care homes, while one was reported at a retirement home.
Health officials also reported four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, including two linked to long-term care homes — one resident and one staff member.
It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 347. Eight people were also reported to have recovered, bringing that total to 163 — nearly half of all confirmed cases.
Local long-term care and retirement homes account for 42.3 per cent of reported deaths (11) in London and Middlesex, and 26.5 per cent of confirmed cases, with 36 residents and 20 staff testing positive at long-term care homes, and 24 residents and 12 staff testing positive at retirement homes.
Meantime, the total number of COVID-19 outbreaks declared in London and Middlesex since the start of the pandemic now stands at 15 after a second outbreak was declared on Wednesday at Victoria Hospital.
London Health Sciences Centre says the outbreak is in the hospital’s oncology unit on the seventh floor of Zone C (C7-400). Another outbreak at the hospital, declared April 11 in the geriatric behavioural unit (C6-100), remained active as of Wednesday, the health unit said.
London Health Sciences Centre wouldn’t provide any further information on the two outbreaks when contacted Thursday afternoon.
University and Victoria hospitals were treating a combined 33 COVID-19 patients Thursday — two more than Wednesday — with 11 in intensive care.
Other local outbreaks remain active at Sisters of St. Joseph and St. Joseph’s Hospice, while three outbreaks have been declared over, including at Sprucedale Care Centre, University Hospital’s inpatient cardiology unit, and Chelsey Park.
At least 10 outbreaks have been declared at local long-term care and retirement homes, eight of which remain active, including at Horizon Place, Mount Hope Centre, Meadow Park (SM5), Earls Court Village, Kensington Village, Seasons Strathroy, Grand Wood Park, and Henley Place.
They’re among at least 135 outbreaks that have been declared so far at long-term care homes across Ontario, where at least 1,933 residents and 889 staff have tested positive, and where 358 residents and one staff member have died.
On Wednesday, the province issued new guidance to public health units for all residents and staff at long-term care homes across Ontario to be tested.
Provincially, Ontario reported 634 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 54 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 12,879, a 5.2 per cent increase over Wednesday.
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The total includes 713 deaths and 6,680 cases that have been resolved.
Meanwhile, the province has extended a number of pandemic emergency orders that had been set to expire.
The orders mean the closure of parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces and restaurants will continue until at least May 6. The extension also keeps in place restrictions that limit staff to working in only one long-term care or retirement home.
Nationally, the number of cases across the country stood at nearly 41,000 as of early Thursday afternoon, including nearly 14,500 recovered cases and more than 2,000 deaths.
Sarnia and Lambton
Nine more people have tested positive while four people have recovered, Lambton Public Health reported Thursday.
It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 159 and the number of recovered cases to 66. Fourteen people have died, a tally that remained unchanged.
Lambton health officials said five of the new cases are linked to an ongoing outbreak at the Landmark Village retirement home in Sarnia — four more residents and one staff member tested positive.
At least 39 cases involving 30 residents and nine staff have been confirmed at the hard-hit facility since an outbreak was declared there late last month. Six of the county’s 14 reported deaths have also been linked to the retirement home.
The outbreak is one of two that have been declared in Lambton. The second, at the county-run Meadowview Villa long-term care home in Petrolia, was declared last week after a staff member tested positive. No new cases have been confirmed since, according to the county.
At least 14 of Lambton’s confirmed cases involve staff members of Sarnia’s Bluewater Health who have tested positive and who are now recovering at home.
Eleven staff members contracted the virus through the community, three more than earlier in the week, while four contracted it through work, said Bluewater spokesperson, Julia Oosterman.
“We’ve been able to trace it back to… patients that they were treating,” she said of the hospital-acquired cases. None work in the hospitals COVID-19 or intensive care units or its emergency department.
The hospital was treating 13 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday morning, the same as Wednesday, as well as seven patients who were suspected positive or were awaiting tests.
As of Thursday, 1,301 COVID-19 tests had been administered in the county, 152 more than Wednesday.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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