London, Ont., region sees largest one-day spike as 24 new coronavirus cases reported

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported its largest daily surge of novel coronavirus cases with 24 new cases on Friday and two more deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases locally to 282 and the total deaths to 16. The MLHU says 125 cases are considered “resolved.”

Among the 24 new cases are 14 at London’s Grand Wood Park Retirement Residence. An outbreak was declared there on March 31 after two residents tested positive.

“Health Unit staff had directed the facility to test all staff and residents as part of the outbreak management process recently put in place as a result of new guidance from the Ministry of Health,” a release stated.

MLHU says all Grand Wood Park staff and residents who have not yet been tested are “in the process of being swabbed” and that risk assessments will be conducted over the weekend for “all long-term care homes and retirement residences in London and Middlesex County.”

Earlier in the week, health officials reported two deaths and eight new cases on Thursday, one death and three new cases on Wednesday, 13 new cases on Tuesday — 11 involving local seniors’ homes — and one death and 20 new cases on Monday.

Forty-five cases — 29 residents and 16 staff — and three deaths in London and Middlesex have been reported at long-term care homes (LTCH), while 24 cases — 21 residents and three staff — have been at retirement homes.

As of Thursday afternoon, 13 local COVID-19 outbreaks had been declared in London and Middlesex since the start of the pandemic, 10 of them at long-term care and retirement homes.

The most recent outbreak was declared at Horizon Place in west London on Wednesday.

Only one outbreak has been marked as resolved — an outbreak declared April 2 at Chelsey Park.

Elsewhere, outbreaks have also been declared at Grand Wood Park, Henley Place, Seasons Strathroy, Kensington Village (second floor), Earls Court Village, Meadow Park Care Centre, Sprucedale Care Centre and Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care (St. Mary’s fifth floor).

Health officials say they won’t be providing a breakdown of the number of cases at each facility.

Outbreaks also remain active at St Joseph’s Hospice, on the sixth floor of Zone C at Victoria Hospital (C6-100) and on the fifth floor of University Hospital in inpatient cardiology.

Provincially, at least 106 outbreaks have been reported at Ontario long-term care homes, where at least 1,229 residents and 621 staff have tested positive, and at least 216 residents have died.

About half of Canada’s more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 have involved residents of long-term care facilities.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday additional testing and infection control measures at provincial long-term care homes, and also issued an emergency order to prevent long-term care staff from working at multiple facilities.

Ontario reported 514 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and 38 more deaths.

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It’s the largest single-day increase in cases the province has seen so far.

That brings the provincial total of cases to 8,961, including 423 deaths and nearly 4,200 cases that have been resolved.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital grew from 807 to 829, but the numbers of people in intensive care and on ventilators remained steady.

Nationally, more than 30,000 cases have been confirmed across Canada, including around 10,100 recoveries, and more than 1,200 deaths.

Elgin and Oxford

No new cases or deaths were reported on Friday in Elgin and Oxford counties, according to the area’s health unit, Southwestern Public Health (SWPH), keeping the total number of cases at 41 and the number of deaths at three.

The health unit reported one more person had recovered, bringing that total to 10.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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