Double-digit increase in daily COVID-19 cases in London region

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has reported more than ten new COVID-19 cases in the region, most stemming from community transmission. 

While it's common to see cases increase after a weekend, health officials say it's concerning at this stage

A woman in a surgical mask pays for her groceries at a store checkout in London, Ontario. (Colin Butler/CBC)

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has reported more than ten new COVID-19 cases in the region, most stemming from community transmission. 

On Tuesday, the region's case count rose by 11, bringing the total number of cases in Middlesex-London to 484. 

While it's common to see a significant increase in cases after a weekend, typically due to how labs are reporting results back to health units, Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health and CEO of the MLHU, said the double-digit increase is concerning.

"We should not be seeing these sorts of numbers at this stage," he said, adding that the local increase, as well as the provincial one, is higher than it should be. 

"We're looking at trending. If this continues on for the next few days, we might have to reconsider some of the loosening of public health measures, but at the moment, I don't think we take alarm for one day's worth of data," Dr. Mackie added. 

The new cases include three residents of seniors' homes and two staff members at retirement facilities. The other six cases are members of the greater community, according to numbers released by the health unit. 

In a social media post, the owners of the Huron Heights No Frills grocery store said an employee of the east-end store tested positive for the virus.

"As we do open up our economy, it is now as important as ever that people take measures to protect themselves and protect their families," Dr. Mackie said, adding that the MLHU will be monitoring case increases to see if there are any additional safety measures that might need to come into effect as more businesses reopen. 

Despite the increase in cases, almost 70 per cent of the total number of cases in the region have been resolved. 

No new deaths were reported by the MLHU on Tuesday. The region's death toll has remained unchanged at 48 since Sunday. 

More than half of the deaths in the region were people connected to seniors' facilities, including two staff members whose deaths were reported last week. 

Waverley Mansion, a retirement residence in London's Old South neighbourhood, is the latest seniors' facility to join the list of active COVID-19 outbreaks.

Currently, the health unit is battling outbreaks at five facilities while outbreaks at Henley Place, Elmwood Place, Kensington Village Retirement, Grand Wood Park and Peoplecare Oak Crossing have been resolved. 

Cases beyond Middlesex-London

Across Ontario, the daily case increase hit 427 Tuesday, the first time in ten days where the number of new cases has been higher than 400.

The new cases bring the province's tally to 23,384 cases since the outbreak began in late January.

While more than 75 per cent of the cases have been resolved, more than 1,900 people have succumbed to the virus. 

In Oxford and Elgin counties, health officials reported one new case, bringing the region's total to 65. 

Only five of those cases are active, as 56 people have recovered and five have died after contracting the virus. 

Meanwhile, Huron and Perth have had no new cases to report in more than two weeks, and currently, there are no active cases in the community. 

Over the course of the pandemic, 49 people were infected and five of those people died.  

Health officials with Grey Bruce Public Health said no new cases had been reported in the region Tuesday. 

There have been a total of 91 cases in Grey Bruce to date and health officials are noting that there was an additional false positive case reported Monday that has now been removed from their cumulative total. 

Of the 91 people who have contracted the virus, 78 have recovered.