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Four more people have died — three at University Hospital — and a record 46 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported on Wednesday.

It’s the second day in a row the region has set a new daily case record after the health unit reported 38 cases on Tuesday along with two deaths involving a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s. It also marks the third day in a row that the region has recorded 30 or more cases.

Wednesday’s update brings the region’s total case count to 1,696, of which 1,404 people have recovered, nine more than the day before. A total of 73 deaths have been reported.

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Health officials said the four deaths involve a man and woman in their 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s. Three are linked to an expansive outbreak at University Hospital, the health unit said. The two deaths reported Tuesday were also tied to the hospital.

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Of the 46 cases reported Wednesday, all are from London, according to the health unit.

At least 42 of the cases have their exposure source listed as an outbreak. Two contracted the virus through close contact, while two are pending or undetermined.

It’s unclear how many of the cases are the direct result of the University Hospital outbreak. At least 14 of the 38 cases reported Tuesday involved the outbreak.

The cases span all of the health unit’s age brackets, with more than half of the individuals under the age of 30.

Six are aged 19 and under, 18 are in their 20s, four are in their 30s, two are in their 40s, six are in their 50s, four are in their 60s, and three each are in their 70s and 80 or older.

In just two days, the region has recorded 84 cases, more than were recorded during each of July and August.

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The region’s seven-day average for new cases stands at 26.28 as of Wednesday, while the 14-day average stands at 21.85.

Since Nov. 1, the region has recorded at least 504 cases, or about 29.7 per cent of all cases seen since the pandemic began.

According to the health unit, 1,573 cases have been reported in London since the pandemic began, while 38 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 35 in Middlesex Centre and 30 in Thames Centre. Lucan Biddulph has seen nine, North Middlesex eight, Southwest Middlesex two and Newbury one.


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Coronavirus: Ontario working to determine prioritization for vaccine distribution


Coronavirus: Ontario working to determine prioritization for vaccine distribution

Hospitalizations

The number of inpatients with COVID-19 at London Health Sciences Centre stands at 45 as of Wednesday, an increase of two from the day before. The organization says five patients are in critical care or intensive care.

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It’s the largest number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at LHSC at any given time, according to figures from the province.

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Previously, 38 people were hospitalized at LHSC on April 26.

In addition, at least 44 staff members are currently positive with the coronavirus, a jump of 10 from Tuesday. Most, if not all, are tied to a large outbreak at University Hospital.

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No hospitalized COVID-19 patients were reported at any St. Joseph’s Health Care London facility. The organization said three staff cases had been reported since Nov. 4.

As of Nov. 18, neither St. Joseph’s Health Care London nor Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital has seen more than four COVID-19 patients in their care at any given time. (This is reflected in the data as ‘<5’.)

The health unit says at least 179 people have been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, including 40 who have needed intensive care.

Institutional outbreaks

A severe outbreak at University Hospital continues to worsen, according to officials with London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

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The organization says the number of deaths linked to the outbreak has risen by three to a total of nine, while patient outbreak cases now number 54, an increase of six from Tuesday.

In addition, staff and health-care worker cases linked to the outbreak now number 41, an increase of six from the day before.

(At the same time, the health unit reported patient cases linked to the outbreak numbered 50 while staff cases numbered 47, for a total of 97. It’s unclear what is causing the discrepancy between the two organization’s figures.)

The outbreak originated in 4IP General Medicine on Nov. 10 but has since spread to five other units, most recently 4TU Multi-Organ Transplant Unit and 6IP Cardiovascular Surgery, with outbreaks declared Nov. 27.

The outbreak also involves 6IP Acute/Decant Medicine, 9IP Sub-Acute Medicine and 10IP Palliative Care/Sub-Acute Medicine, which were all declared on Nov. 24.

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A separate smaller outbreak at the hospital, linked to six cases, was reported in 9IP Orthopedics on Nov. 11 but has since been declared over.

In total, since Nov. 10, at least seven University Hospital units have been hit by COVID-19 outbreaks, with nine dead and at least 101 cases confirmed.

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On Monday, LHSC said it would lower its flags to half-mast in memory of those who had died at the hospital.

Officials with LHSC stress that the hospital remains open and that those needing urgent care should not delay seeking care.

Non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries have been postponed at the hospital, and ambulatory or outpatient activity has been reduced to only urgent and emergent appointments, procedures and diagnostic services.

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Elsewhere, one outbreak remains active in 2 Perth of Parkwood Institute’s Main Building. It was declared Nov. 20 and has been linked to at least one case.

Since March, the region has seen at least 54 institutional outbreaks in London and Middlesex, including at least 40 at local seniors’ facilities.

Seniors’ facility outbreaks alone have been tied to 112 resident cases, 111 staff cases and 39 deaths.

Schools

A class outbreak remains active at St. Marguerite d’Youville School in London after the London District Catholic School Board reported an additional student case at the school on Tuesday.

The school board says the case affects the same class as a student case reported on Nov. 28. Health officials, it says, determined the two cases met the criteria of a class outbreak.

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“Students and staff of the affected class were already self-isolating at home as a result of the first case,” the school board said in an online statement Tuesday. “The school will remain open and school buses will continue to operate.”

The two cases are among at least six school cases that are currently active in London and Middlesex:

  • Two student cases are active at Catholic Central High School.
  • One student case is active at Lord Dorchester Secondary School.
  • One student case is active at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School.

At least 48 school cases have been reported in London and Middlesex since the start of September. At least 37 have involved students. All but eight cases have been reported in London.

Recent resolved school cases by date they were reported on:

  • Nov. 13 at Académie de la Tamise involving one staff member.
  • Nov. 14 at Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School involving one student.
  • Nov. 19 at Saunders Secondary School involving one student.
  • Nov. 20 at Providence Reformed Collegiate.
  • Nov. 20 at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School involving one student.

In the post-secondary setting, outbreaks remain active at two Western University student residences: Saugeen-Maitland Hall, declared Nov. 19, and Perth Hall, declared Nov. 21. An updated number of cases tied to the two outbreaks was not immediately available.

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Testing

At least 8,055 people were tested for the coronavirus during the week of Nov. 22, according to new testing figures issued by the health unit.

The tally is slightly higher than the 7,624 reported the week prior.

The region’s test per cent positivity rate stood at 1.6 per cent as of the week of Nov. 22, up from 1.3 per cent the week before.

Both of the city’s assessment centres, Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, are continuing to operate by appointment only. Appointment testing for certain asymptomatic people is also continuing at eight local pharmacies.

Carling Heights reported a five-day average of 381 visits from Nov. 23 to 27, compared to 318 at Oakridge Arena.

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Ontario reported 1,723 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 35 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 500 new cases in Peel Region, 410 cases in Toronto and 196 cases in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 44,226 tests since the last daily report.

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In total, 656 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 183 in intensive care.

The province is also reporting that 106 people are on ventilators in hospital.

The latest figures bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 119,922, with 3,698 deaths and 101,698 cases resolved.

This story will be updated with figures for Elgin, Huron, Lambton, Oxford and Perth.

— With files from The Canadian Press





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

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