Critical-care beds filling up with COVID-19 patients in London, Ont., following 4 deaths

Four more people with COVID-19 died in London, Ont., over the weekend as hospital admissions continue to climb. Locally, there are now 89 patients, with 21 in critical care.

There are 89 patients with the virus in local hospitals

The London Health Sciences Centre has seen a sudden surge of COVID-19 patients due to the fast-spreading Omicron virus. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The number of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in hospitals in London, Ont., continues to climb.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is reporting 89 patients being treated for the virus, with 21 people in critical care.

Of those patients, LHSC said Monday:

  • 68 patients are being treated specifically for the virus.
  • 21 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 when admitted for other treatment.

The number of patients in the intensive care unit has almost double since Friday, up by nine in three days.

"At this time, we have received five or fewer patients from hospitals throughout the province and continue to be available to provide further support as directed by the Ontario Critical Care COVID Command Centre," said Carol Young-Ritchie, one of LHSC's vice-presidents and its chief nursing officer.

There are two ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at the hospital network, she said. Twelve patients and five or fewer staff contracted the virus at the Clinical Neurosciences Unit at University Hospital. The Adult Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit at Victoria Hospital has five or fewer patients and five or fewer staff connected to a second outbreak.

Five or fewer patients have been admitted to the Children's Hospital, along with five or fewer in pediatric critical care, according to LHSC. There are 434 staff members who have currently tested positive for the virus and are isolating, down by four from Friday.

Of the most recent hospitalizations, 56 per cent were people who are fully vaccinated, 40 per cent are unvaccinated and four per cent are partially vaccinated, according to data from the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU).

Four more people died with COVID-19 over the weekend. The health unit said three of the most recent deaths were people living in long-term care who were fully vaccinated with booster doses.

"I fully anticipated and I'm not surprised, although very saddened, to see deaths amongst those that have been boosted," said Dr. Alex Summers, acting medical officer of health for the MLHU. "Again, I think it highlights the fact that Omicron is so transmissible and so infectious that we are seeing so many cases, and therefore the less likely events are still going to happen."

The fourth death reported over the weekend was a person who was unvaccinated. The ages of the deceased were not reported.

Triple-digit case counts continue

The MLHU reported an additional 1,124 cases of COVID-19 since Friday, though the actual number of new infections in the region is likely much higher. That's due to a rollback in who is being tested. PCR and rapid antigen tests are being prioritized for those most at risk for severe illness, along with those who work or live in high-risk settings.

There were 223 new cases reported Monday, which is significantly lower than the seven-day rolling average of 432.

The health unit reported 1,091 recoveries since Friday, with 4,496 known active cases in the region.

Southwestern Public Health has reported 387 new COVID-19 cases since Friday, along with two additional deaths. There are 1,459 ongoing cases in the region, including 428 in Woodstock and 416 in St. Thomas. There were 22 people in hospital in Elgin-Oxford, including seven people in critical care.

Huron Perth Public Health posted 65 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. There are 1,081 active cases in the region.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 2,467 patients in hospital with COVID-19 on Monday, as the number of patients receiving treatment for the illness in intensive care units climbed to 438.

The same day, the province reported at least 9,706 new cases, which is likely significantly lower than the actual number due to limits on who qualifies for a PCR test. Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimates roughly one in five cases is being confirmed by the province's testing regime.