Long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 while region's case total surpasses 200

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the London, Ont., region have surpassed 200 after new numbers were released on Sunday, while the provincial total tops 7,000. 

The health unit is also reporting 8 new cases at long-term care residences in the area

The latest death from COVID-19, a woman in her 90s, marks the first death linked to a long-term care home in the region. (Shutterstock)

A long-term care home resident in the London, Ont., region has died from COVID-19, while the total number of cases has surpassed 200 according to new numbers released by the health unit on Sunday.

The latest death from COVID-19, a woman in her 90s, marks the first death linked to a long-term care home in the region. It also brings the number of fatalities in Middlesex-London to 10.

"With every person who has died from COVID-19, we're reminded how serious this is and how seriously we have to take the physical distancing measures that we're doing as a community," said Dr. Alex Summers, the associate medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. 

According to the provincial government's tally, 274 people have died of the virus, but data compiled by CBC News from regional public health units indicates that at least 309 people have succumbed to the illness in Ontario.  

On Sunday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), reported 18 new cases in the area, bringing the total number of cases to 215.

"Stay apart so we can get through this together," Dr. Summers said. "The physical distancing and the commitment to washing your hands are the crucial things that have kept our numbers where they are … but we are not out of the woods yet."

The health unit has also reported that among the 18 new cases, eight of them were linked to long-term care homes across the region for a total of 26 cases between staff and residents at these facilities.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus in these facilities, long-term care homes are only allowing essential workers into their facilities and the health unit has recommended that staff wear masks at all time, Dr. Summers said. 

"COVID-19 is often more severe in people that are older and as a result we focus quite a bit attention at these homes to make sure there are as many protections in place as possible," he added.

Currently, there are COVID-19 outbreaks at seven long-term care homes, two retirement homes and one hospice in the area. 

On Saturday, officials with Huron Perth Public Health reported a death at Greenwood Court, a seniors' facility in Stratford. 

They said the patient was a resident in their 80s who became sick with COVID-19 symptoms on April 3.

East-end LCBO store deep cleaning after employee contracts COVID-19

Meanwhile, an employee of the LCBO store on Oxford Street East near Quebec Street is self-isolating after testing positive for the virus, according to company officials. 

The LCBO said the employee last worked in the store on April 4. 

"The LCBO has several measures to keep our employees and customers safe, including increased cleaning and sanitization, implementing measures in store that promote physical distancing and introducing new HR policies in support of all employees," a statement from the company said.

As a precautionary measure, officials said the store was closed on Saturday for deep cleaning. 

Student at King's residence tests positive for virus

Officials say the university is following direction from the health unit to ensure the safety of the remaining 50 students in residence and staff on campus.  (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

One of the 215 cases in the region is a King's University College who lives in one of the student residences on campus and is now self-isolating after testing positive for the virus on Saturday. 

A statement from the school said the male student had not been in contact with any students, staff or faculty since April 4 when he went into isolation in a separate residence building after developing a cough.

"While this news is certainly upsetting for the student involved, we are grateful that he has not been hospitalized," said David Malloy, the university's principal. "Our residence staff are available to discuss any concerns with the remaining residents, [and] provide access to health advice and support. I am also available to speak to anyone who has concerns as well," he added. 

Back in March, the university closed its doors and moved to an online format. While officials advised students to move out of residence, they continued to provide housing for those who were unable to return home.

Malloy said the university is following direction from the health unit to ensure the safety of the remaining 50 residence students and staff on campus. 

As of Saturday, Malloy said the student with the illness had not been hospitalized and had been feeling better each day. The student will be tested again on Monday. 

Cases in the region on a steady climb

Three new cases have been reported by Southwestern Public Health, the health unit that oversees Oxford and Elgin counties, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 35.

Meanwhile, health officials with Huron Perth Public Health have reported the first case of the virus in Listowel. The patient is a woman in her 70s who has been hospitalized. 

Currently, there are 31 confirmed cases in Huron-Perth and two people have died from the virus, including a long-term care resident. 

In Grey Bruce, three more people have contracted the virus, bringing the area's tally to 38 cases. 

Public health officials said two women and one teenage girl are self-isolating.