London

105 new COVID-19 cases in London Friday as hospital preps for new patients

New case counts were lower Friday than they've been in the last two days in the London region but young people continue to be infected most frequently. The health unit said 105 people tested positive, the majority in their 20s or younger. 

London Health Science Centre opened 18 new ICU beds Friday

The coronavirus pandemic has taken an emotional toll on healthcare workers both professionally and personally. A sign affixed to a fence outside LHSC's Victoria hospital acknowledges their sacrifice. (Colin Butler/CBC)

Recent developments

What's the latest in the London region

New case counts were lower Friday than they've been in the last two days in the London region but young people continue to be infected most frequently. The health unit said 105 people tested positive, the majority in their 20s or younger. 

Since Monday, the active case count has been over the 1,000 mark with 1,175 known active cases heading into the weekend. 

There has also been an increase in confirmed variant cases. The Middlesex London Health Unit recorded an additional 71 infections Friday linked to the strain of COVID-19 originating in the U.K.

There are currently two people, tested this week, who have the variant originating in Brazil. The health unit said one person contracted it while travelling. 

Here's why London doctors are worried

On Friday, the region's largest hospital opened an additional 18 intensive care unit beds to accommodate new patients.

The number of people being admitted to the London Health Sciences Centre with illnesses linked to COVID-19 has risen all week. 

Friday, the hospital marked the highest number of patients to-date, with 65 people being treated, 30 of those in the ICU. Of those critical care parents, 20 have come from other regions in the province, primarily the Greater Toronto Area, where hospital staff are at capacity. 

Dr. Adam Dukelow, medical officer at LHSC, said Friday on CBC's London Morning, that staff could open up additional beds in a section of the hospital known as E-tower. He said if that area were to reach capacity, the field hospital would be opened. 

Staff across the hospital system have been reassigned to help treat COVID-19 patients, while non-emergency surgeries are cancelled to provide space, equipment and staff. 

Across Ontario, admissions to hospitals climbed to 1,955, while the number of people being treated for COVID-related illnesses in intensive care rose to 701. This is an all-time high since the pandemic began.

What's happening outside of London

There were 30 new infections reported Friday by Southwestern Public Health. That region now has 198 known active cases, the majority in Woodstock and St. Thomas. 

Huron Perth Public Health reported two new cases, both involving people living in Stratford. That region currently has 54 known active cases. 

Across Ontario, the numbers continue to rise. Public health reported 4,812 more cases of COVID-19 Friday, the most ever on a single day, marking three straight days of new peaks.

Here's a look at potential new rules

It is expected that Ontario will face stricter rules when Premier Ford speaks at 3:30 p.m. This story will be updated at that time. 

Sources with knowledge of the discussions said Ford and his ministers are debating the following proposals on top of the stay-at-home order and shutdown already in place:

  • Closing all non-essential retail, no curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Further restricting retail hours of operation.
  • Restricting curbside pickup (only permit non-essential retail to deliver).
  • Shutting down non-essential construction, warehouses and manufacturing not related to health, food or automotive.
  • Tightening capacity of indoor events like places of worship, weddings and funerals.
  • Increasing fines, increase policing powers.

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