London

1 death, 97 new COVID-19 cases in Middlesex-London Wednesday

The Middlesex London Health Unit is reporting 97 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, along with the death of a man in his 80s.

There are over 500 active cases in the region

People can be seen walking across the bridge on the Western University campus in March 2021. There are currently four COVID-19 outbreaks at student residence buildings at the university. (Colin Butler/CBC)

Recent developments:

  • Ontario reports another 2,333 COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths Wednesday.
  • ICU admissions hit another high, with 421 people in critical care across the province.
  • Students are being asked to take home devices and personal items ahead of the long weekend.

What's the situation in the London area?

The Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting 97 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the highest daily count since Jan. 16. The seven-day average case count is now up to 60.

The health unit says a man in his 80s died with coronavirus. He was not associated with a seniors' facility.

There were 33 recoveries posted Wednesday but the number of known active cases in the region is now up to 505.

A fourth outbreak was declared at a Western University student residence Tuesday after seven cases were confirmed at Elgin Hall Residence. There are three ongoing outbreaks at Essex Hall, Ontario Hall, and Saugeen-Maitland Hall.

The number of patients at the London Health Sciences Centre with coronavirus is climbing, with 18 people testing positive, including five or fewer in critical care. There are now nine staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

What's the situation with schools?

Confusion persists about the status of the possibility of delaying Spring Break for students. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Tuesday that the province plans to proceed with the break for schools on April 12th.

But Premier Doug Ford then told reporters that "everything is on the table" when it comes to further public health measures to curb the third wave of the pandemic.

In a memo sent to parents and guardians Wednesday morning, the Thames Valley District School Board is advising that students will be sent home with learning devices and their personal items in preparation for a return to online learning.

The school board stated, "This is not intended to create stress or speculation about what might occur; the reality is that if we have to shift to full remote learning following the break, we will be prepared."

What's the latest on vaccinations in the region?

People wait outside the Agriplex at the Western Fair District in London, Ont. for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Colin Butler/CBC)

As of March 28, the MLHU says 78,380 doses of vaccine administered in Middlesex-London.

There were 13,597 doses given between March 22 and March 28, a 32 per cent increase over the previous week.

Vaccinations are now open to people 70 years of age and older. To book an appointment, visit covidvaccinelm.ca or call 226-289-3560 between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. New appointments open each day at 7 a.m.

COVID-19 across the region and beyond

Southwestern Public Health posted 18 additional cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and no deaths. There are 92 active cases in the Elgin-Oxford region, including 23 in St. Thomas, 18 in Woodstock and 11 in Ingersoll.

Central Public School in Woodstock was closed and learning directed online after an outbreak impacting students and staff. The school will remain closed until after Spring Break on April 19.

Huron Perth Public Health reported one new case in West Perth. The region now has 11 ongoing cases, including three in Stratford, six in Perth County, and two in Huron County.

Meanwhile, there were 2,333 cases of COVID-19 reported across Ontario, along with 15 more deaths.

Admissions of patients with coronavirus in intensive care units have surpassed the previous pandemic high. There are now 421 patients in critical care.

According to a report from Science Table, variants of concern are associated with a 63 per cent increase in risk of hospitalization, a 103 per cent increase in risk of needing intensive care and a 56 per cent rise in the risk of death from the virus.

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