Five new cases of the coronavirus and 11 new recoveries were reported by officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) on Friday.
The region’s total case tally stands at 1,023, of which 877 people have recovered and 58 have died. There are at least 88 active COVID-19 cases in the region.
One new outbreak was also declared at Chartwell London Long Term Care Residence in London.
This comes a day after the health unit reported the first coronavirus death in several months, bringing the region’s total to 58.
The death, which involved a 91-year-old male resident of Extendicare, a seniors’ facility in the city, is the first reported by the health unit since June 12, when officials announced a retirement home resident in her 90s had died of the virus.
Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, said the death was associated with an outbreak at the facility, declared Oct. 8, which has seen two cases confirmed.
Subsequent testing of residents and staff at the home yielded the man’s positive diagnosis, which was confirmed the same day he died, Mackie said.
“Our hearts go out to all of the family and staff and residents affected there,” he said.
Of Thursday’s nine new cases, eight are from London while one is from Middlesex Centre, health unit data shows. One individual is aged 19 or younger, two are in their 20s, one is in their 30s, one is in their 40s, one is in their 50s, two are in their 60s and one is aged 80 or older.
Two people contracted the virus through an outbreak, while one became infected through close contact. Four cases have their exposure source listed as pending or undetermined, while two have no known link.
The region’s non-ICU hospitalized tally rose by two, but it’s unclear if the increase is due to one of Thursday’s new cases. Overall, 119 people have needed to be hospitalized during the pandemic, including 33 with intensive care.
The number of people currently hospitalized due to the virus is unclear as such real-time information is not released by the health unit. London Health Sciences Centre will issue a tally, but only if it rises above five, which it has not.
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Health officials also reported nine new cases, six recoveries on Thursday, five new cases and five recoveries Wednesday, six new cases and 10 recoveries on Tuesday, 25 cases and seven recoveries on Monday, 20 cases and seven recoveries on Sunday, and three cases and 12 recoveries on Saturday.
Londoners looking to get tested at the city’s appointment-only Oakridge Arena assessment centre can now book appointments online.
The Thames Valley Family Health Team, which operates the city’s two assessment centres alongside London Health Sciences Centre, said Thursday that residents can now visit covidtestinglm.ca or call 519-667-6886 to book a time at Oakridge Arena.
Carling Heights is still operating on a time-card system, but TVFHT officials have said an appointment system for that assessment centre is in the works.
Both are continuing to prioritize certain individuals.
Testing of certain asymptomatic people is also still available at three Shoppers Drug Mart locations in London.
The entire Chartwell London Long Term Care Residence facility had an outbreak declared on Thursday. This is the ninth institutional outbreak to be reported in under two weeks and the 12th to be declared since mid-September.
A new outbreak was also declared Wednesday on the fourth floor of Chelsey Park.
Outbreaks at long-term care homes and retirement homes are linked to at least 287 cases and 38 deaths in the region.
Elsewhere, outbreaks remain active at Craigwiel Gardens (facility-wide), McGarrell Place (Ivey Lane, Harris House, Windermere Way), Henley Place LTC (Harris), Extendicare (facility-wide), Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper and Norway Spruce), Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care (MV3) and Earls Court Village (fourth floor).
It’s not clear how many cases are linked to the most recent outbreaks. Such information is not released by the health unit.
No new cases have been reported involving schools in the city or surrounding county, according to the province.
At least 10 have been reported since Sept. 21, seven since Monday, Oct. 5.
The most recent case was reported at Northdale Central Public School in Dorchester on Tuesday. The case involved a student at the school.
The weekend case at Sir Arthur Currie prompted an outbreak declaration by the health unit as it was the second case to be confirmed at the school in as many days. The outbreak remained active as of Thursday. The first case was reported on Friday, Oct. 6 and involved a staff member.
An active outbreak remains at London Hall, a student residence building at Western University.
Declared Sunday, the outbreak came after four students tested positive for the virus. They’re now isolating out of the residence building. Some close contacts were also moved to a quarantine location as a precaution.
No new cases have been reported as a result of the London Hall outbreak.
At least 74 Western students have tested positive for the virus since the start of last month. The number is likely higher, however, the health unit is refraining from issuing an ongoing updated figure.
“We continue to have a number of cases coming in that are linked with Western University,” Mackie said Thursday.
“It is smaller than those outbreaks that we saw in early-middle of September, but we still see cases. Most of the cases at this point are transmission within resident space or within shared housing of various sorts.”
Health officials have said the main activities driving the cases among students are after-hours parties.
Overall, people in their 20s account for the largest group of cases in the region during the pandemic, with 249 confirmed infections, followed by people in their 50s and people in their 30s.
The region’s incident rate has risen to 201.6 per 100,000 people, while Ontario’s is 418.4.
At least 936 cases have been reported in London, while 31 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc.
Elsewhere, Thames Centre’s case count stands at 21, while Middlesex Centre’s is 19, North Middlesex is at eight, Lucan Biddulph seven and Southwest Middlesex one.
Provincially, Ontario reported 71 fewer cases than the day before for a total of 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
According to Friday’s provincial report, 213 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region, 108 in Ottawa, 62 in York Region, 46 in Halton Region and 27 in Durham Region. All other public health units in Ontario reported under 25 new cases.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said more than 38,500 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. The government has said it hoped to increase testing to 50,000 per day by mid-October.
However, there is currently a backlog of 37,155 tests that need results.
Ontario has a total of 62,908 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 54,004 resolved cases.
Nine more new deaths were reported on Friday for a death toll of 3,031.
The province also notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by the local public health unit on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available.
Elgin and Oxford
Officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) reported Friday that two people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and one person had recovered.
The new cases bring the region’s total case count to 287, of which 269 people have recovered and five have died. The death toll has not changed since early July.
There are now at least 13 active cases in the region, according to the health unit. None are currently in hospital.
Four are in Tillsonburg, two each are in Ingersoll and Woodstock, and Aylmer, St Thomas, West Elgin, East Zorra-Tavistock and Norwich have one each.
The active cases involve five people in their 50s, four people aged 19 or younger, two people in their 20s, and one person each in their 30s and 70s. Seven are female and five are male.
Six new cases were reported in the region on Thursday, two new cases and one recovery were reported on Wednesday, while no change was reported Tuesday. Three cases were reported Monday.
No new cases are linked to schools in the region. Two cases have been reported in the region, both in St. Thomas. Both are considered resolved.
None of the new cases are linked to an ongoing outbreak at Caressant Care on Mary Bucke. The seniors’ facility in St. Thomas has seen one staff case and an outbreak was subsequently declared Oct. 5.
Five institutional outbreaks have been reported during the pandemic, linked to at least 11 staff cases, one resident case and no deaths. One outbreak at Caressant Care on Mary Bucke Nursing Home is still listed as active with one staff case.
By location, Aylmer has still seen the largest number of cases during the pandemic, recording 83. A large number were reported in July and August.
Elsewhere, St. Thomas has seen 47 cases, while Bayham has seen 38, Woodstock 31 and Tillsonburg 29.
People in their 50s make up the largest group of infections by age, accounting for 57 cases, followed by people in their 20s with 52 cases.
Of the region’s overall case count, 23 people have needed hospitalization, including 11 who have been admitted to intensive care.
Huron and Perth
No new cases or recoveries were reported by officials with Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) on Friday.
The region’s total case tally stands at 140, of which 131 people have recovered. Five people have died, a tally that has not changed since April 29.
The health unit says there are at least four known active cases in the region as of Friday.
One recovery was reported Thursday, no change was reported Wednesday, and four cases and four recoveries were reported Tuesday.
There are no active institutional outbreaks in the region. A total of eight have been reported, linked to 24 cases and four deaths.
There have also been no cases yet linked to schools.
Overall, 49 cases have been reported in Perth County, with North Perth and Perth East reporting 19 and 16 cases, respectively.
Elsewhere, Huron County has seen 48 cases, with Central Huron, Bluewater and South Huron reporting 14, 13, and 10 cases, respectively.
Stratford has reported 37 cases as well as four outbreak-related deaths, while St. Marys has seen six cases and one death.
At least 32 cases in the region have involved people in their 20s, while 25 have been people in their 50s and 22 in their 60s.
Eighteen cases have involved people in their 30s, while 16 have involved people aged 19 or younger.
The total number of hospitalizations has not changed since late April. A total of five people have needed to be hospitalized.
Some 42,983 tests had been conducted by the health unit as of Oct. 10, the most recent figures available. The week of Oct. 4 to 10 saw 2,614 people tested.
Sarnia and Lambton
Seven people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials with Lambton Public Health reported late Thursday night.
The region’s total case count is at 358, of which 323 people have recovered. Twenty-five have died, a tally unchanged since early June.
“This is sort of the next phase that we’re now expecting that we will be seeing more cases, that we will be seeing more transmission in the community,” Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, said on Friday.
Ranade said the cases have gone from one to two a day to now seven.
“Because more and more things are open, you see more and more potential contacts for any given case because people are doing more things, so that has led to the need to contact a lot of people and isolate a lot of people for any one given case.”
There are at least 10 known active cases in the region. One case was reported late Wednesday, Tuesday and late Monday.
It’s not clear where the active cases are in the county as the health unit has refused to release location data.
Two outbreaks have been declared in the region, one at Twin Lakes Terrace Long-Term Care Home with one active case and the second in an unidentified workplace with three cases. Both outbreaks were declared on Oct. 15.
A total of 12 outbreaks have been declared, with 10 in health facilities and two in unspecified workplaces.
“One outbreak has been declared at a workplace and there are several exposures, potential exposures within schools that have not resulted in the declaration of an outbreak but have resulted in a substantial number of people affiliated with the school required to isolate,” Ranade said.
The outbreaks have been linked to 113 cases and 16 deaths, with nearly all cases and all 16 deaths coming from two Sarnia seniors’ facilities.
According to the health unit, 76 cases have involved people aged 80 or older, while 53 cases have involved people in their 50s and 52 have involved people in their 20s.
The region has reported its first school-linked coronavirus case of the pandemic.
One case was reported on Tuesday at Colonel Cameron Public School in Corunna involving a student, according to the province.
Officials with the Lambton Kent District School Board say the school is open and buses are continuing to operate, adding that the health unit is “working closely with the school community and is contacting any individuals… who may have been in potential contact with the virus.”
Bluewater Health says one COVID-19 patient is in its care as of this week. It’s the first patient with the virus to be admitted to Bluewater Health since late May.
The hospital says it’s tested a total of 63 people who have been confirmed positive since the pandemic began.
— With files from Matthew Trevithick and Gabby Rodrigues Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Active COVID-19 cases in Calgary zone exceed 1,000 – Calgary Herald
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Sixteen of the 70 ICU beds allocated for COVID-19 patients are currently in use in Alberta, which marks 23 per cent of available space.
Due to the rise in case numbers, delayed wait times for test results and an increase in flu and cold symptoms, the province has placed more restrictions on asymptomatic testing.
“We must take further action,” said Hinshaw. “Effective immediately, we will be pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing in those who have no known exposure. This is an important and necessary step to help us reduce testing wait times, get results to Albertans and limit the spread.”
Asymptomatic testing was only available for priority groups before Tuesday’s announcement.
Alberta’s top doctor said Alberta has seen a handful of examples of gatherings gone wrong in recent weeks, adding to the provincial COVID-19 case count.
She noted a Calgary “superspreader” wedding linked to at least 49 cases, a workplace gathering connected to nine cases, and a party where one-third of the attendees have tested positive.
“COVID-19 really does love parties and we need to keep this in mind while planning or attending social events,” said Hinshaw, reminding Albertans to keep gatherings small while following all public health guidance.
There are no immediate plans for the government to implement additional measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 as cases grow, unlike other provinces such as Ontario that have rolled back relaxed directives.
Manitoba seeking nurses, health-care aides, contact tracers in fight against COVID-19 – CBC.ca
Manitoba is appealing to the public for help filling a number of nursing and health care aide jobs to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
People from all health-care disciplines are asked to apply, including current and former nurses, and people with comparable training, said Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa in a news release on Monday.
“These are unprecedented times and we are appealing to everyone who has chosen a career in caring to consider how they can help,” she said.
“Right now, some of Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens need our help. Whether you are a student just starting your career, are already working in our health system or are looking to step back into patient care after some time away, we have a role for you.”
Jobs are available for people with varied levels of training and experience, including health care students, new graduates as well as current and former health care workers, Siragusa said.
Although there is a need for nurses and health care aides in personal care homes, there are also positions in areas like contact tracing, call centres and testing sites.
Staff are provided with personal protective equipment, training and support. Every precaution is taken to ensure their safety, according to the release.
People with health-care education, as well as those with comparable training including dietitians, spiritual health providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and others are invited to apply.
“Across the province, compassionate and caring individuals have stepped up to ensure we are able to continue offering the services and support needed by those most vulnerable in our community, but we need additional help in a variety of direct care and behind-the-scenes areas,” Siragusa said.
This comes after Manitoba New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Wab Kinew shared health-care vacancy numbers in western Manitoba during question period Thursday.
The NDP obtained information from Prairie Mountain Health last week showing that 22 per cent of licensed practical nurse positions were open as of August, as well 19 per cent of registered nursing positions and 16 per cent of nurse practitioners jobs.
In addition, 15 per cent of home-care aide and health-care aide positions were sitting vacant.
Meanwhile, the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) says nurses are working well below baseline staffing, at times hovering around half their normal complement.
MNU says nurses are being mandated to work overtime at Parkview Place, a private care home run by Revera which is currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.
Alberta medical experts call for mandatory COVID-19 restrictions based on hospitalization numbers – CBC.ca
Two Alberta medical experts say the province should bring in mandatory restrictions to combat rising COVID-19 cases and the high number of people being treated for the illness in hospitals.
With 3,203 active cases and 116 people in hospital, including 16 in ICU beds, there’s enough evidence that voluntary restrictions are not working, said Leyla Asadi, an infectious disease specialist in Edmonton.
“If our metric is increasing hospitalizations, which we’re definitely seeing, then we are responding to transitions that occurred several weeks ago,” Asadi said. “So I think that those factors definitely suggest that we need to be looking at mandatory restrictions.”
A potential second wave of COVID-19 could become a tsunami based on the current number of cases, said Dr. Tehseen Ladha, a pediatrician and assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who also wants to see mandatory measures introduced.
“This is a time that requires some rules and regulations in order to keep us safe,” Ladha said. “And that simply hasn’t happened. I’m really hopeful it will happen soon, because things are snowballing. And they’re going so fast that even if restrictions are put in place now, things are still going to peak very high.”
On Tuesday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said hospitalization rates don’t meet the thresholds that would trigger mandatory restrictions.
“Putting in mandatory restrictions, again, is something that we absolutely have on that list of things to do if we start to see our health-care system being impacted beyond what it can achieve,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“We have seen an increase in our hospitalizations, and in the past few days we have had more people in hospital with COVID than we ever have before. So while we have not met that trigger, it is critical that we all work together.”
Hinshaw introduced voluntary measures on Oct. 8, nearly two weeks ago. Since then cases have continued to increase, as have hospitalizations.
Asadi would like to see gatherings restricted to 10 people, and wants to limit restaurants to 50 per cent of their capacity, along with a curfew on alcohol sales or a temporary closure of bars.
She said Albertans would be understanding if restrictions were introduced for a limited time to help decrease the number of cases in the province, as happened back in April.
“Huge sacrifices were being made at the time, and nobody wants to go back to that level of stringency,” Asadi said. “But I think Alberta and its institutions have shown that they’re more than able to respond appropriately, like the lab has ramped up its testing dramatically. They’ve hired a lot more contact tracers.
“And I also think that the sooner we act, the less strict we may need to be in the long run.”
Ladha said economic concerns and civil liberties may be reasons for not introducing mandatory restrictions, but she worries things will get worse if no further action is taken.
“If some restrictions aren’t put into place right now, the impact on the economy long term, if we have to return to a full lockdown, will be much, much more damaging than if we are able to put in no more minimal restrictions on a rolling basis to keep things under control.”
‘A matter of debate’
Hinshaw said it’s a matter of debate whether mandatory measures should be introduced now versus waiting for hospitalization metrics to be reached.
“There are always risks and benefits,” she said. “If we were to put in place mandatory measures right now, we would be putting them in place before we knew if we were able to turn that tide without the mandatory measures.
“We know that restrictions have an impact on other aspects of people’s health. And if we don’t need to use mandatory restrictions, then that would be the ideal scenario where we can get through this with people’s collective efforts and mitigate the impact on all those other determinants of health that we know are so important.”
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