COVID-19: 128 new cases, record 94 hospitalized in London-Middlesex; more people vaccine-eligible

Jump to: HospitalizationsOutbreaksSchoolsVaccinations and TestingOntarioElgin and OxfordHuron and PerthSarnia and Lambton


Health officials in London and Middlesex reported 128 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the region continued to grapple with the third wave of the pandemic, and as London Health Sciences Centre reported another record number of COVID-19 patients in their care.

Wednesday’s case jump, which comes after a three-day dip that saw daily case counts under 90, marks at least the 14th time this month that the region has recorded a triple-digit increase.

It brings the London-Middlesex pandemic case tally to 9,506, of which 8,236 have resolved, an increase of 114 from the day before. At least 195 deaths have been reported, most recently on Monday. At least six deaths have been recorded this month.

The health unit says at least 1,075 cases are active in the region.

The month of April is just 10 cases shy of meeting and then surpassing the total number of cases reported in all of January, the region’s worst month of cases so far. At least 2,322 cases have been reported since April 1, behind January’s 2,332.

The current single-day case jump record stands at 176, set on April 13, according to the most up-to-date health care numbers.

As of Tuesday, the region’s rolling seven-day case average stands at 107, down from 132 the seven days previous.

At least 7.1 per cent of tests in London and Middlesex were coming back positive as of the week of April 11, down from 7.7 a week earlier, according to data released by MLHU this week.

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Of the 128 new cases reported Wednesday, all but five are from London with the remainder from Middlesex County.

As has been the case in recent weeks, people under 30 make up the largest share of cases — roughly 54 per cent, according to health unit figures.

At least 34 people are aged 19 or younger; 36 are in their 20s; 16 are in their 30s; 14 are in their 40s; 13 are in their 50s; nine are in their 60s; four are in their 70s; and two are 80 or older.

Exposure source data is pending or undetermined for 66 of the cases, while at least 39 have been linked to close contact, six to outbreaks, and one to travel. At least 16 cases have no known link, according to the health unit.

Read more: ‘Hospitals are buckling’: Ontario’s science table makes urgent push for stronger COVID-19 measures

The health unit says variant cases have been making up more of the region’s caseload. Upwards of 60 per cent of cases seen during the week of April 4 involved a variant, up from 53 per cent a week earlier, and 40 per cent two weeks earlier.

As of Wednesday, the cumulative number of variant cases in London-Middlesex stands at 1,327, an increase of 158 from the previous day. All 158 involve the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K.

All but two of the 1,327 variant cases found in the region have been the B.1.1.7 variant. The others have been confirmed to be the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil.

It should be noted again that the health unit’s main variant tally now includes cases that are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant, as well as cases that have undergone genomic analysis and have been confirmed to be a variant.

A note on the process of confirming and presuming variant cases:

  • Confirming a variant is a multi-step process. Positive COVID-19 cases undergo initial screening for spike protein mutations common to variants (N501Y, E484K, and K417N), and if found to have one or more, undergo further genomic analysis to determine the specific variant involved (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, or P.1) — a process that can take up to two weeks.
  • Since last month, however, the province has stopped conducting genomic analysis on cases that screen positive for just the N501Y mutation. Now, those cases are presumed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant, as that variant has only been associated with the N501Y mutation.
  • Cases that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutations are still being sent for genomic analysis as they have been associated with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

The health unit has a separate tally showing the number of cases that have screened positive for a variant-associated spike protein mutation, but which have not yet been confirmed or presumed to involve a variant.

That tally stands at 214 as of Wednesday, an increase of 12 from the day before. (The tally will fluctuate up and down as cases undergo genomic analysis and are moved to the main variant tally.)

Of those 214 cases, at least 84 were found to have the E484K mutation, consistent with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, and are under genomic analysis. (Of those 84, at least 70 were also found to have the N501Y mutation.)

The remaining 130 cases were initially found to just have the N501Y mutation, however, they have not been added to the main variant tally as their E484K status has not been determined. It’s unclear if or when these cases may be added to the main variant tally.

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At least 8,360 cases have been confirmed in the City of London since the pandemic began, while 312 have been in Middlesex Centre.

Elsewhere, 278 cases have been in Strathroy-Caradoc, 120 in Thames Centre, 60 in Lucan Biddulph, 53 in North Middlesex, 52 in Southwest Middlesex, 14 in Adelaide Metcalfe and two in Newbury.

At least 130 cases have pending location information.

Hospitalizations

A record 94 COVID-19 patients were listed as being in the care of London Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday, an increase of eight from the previous update, which itself was a record.

Of those, at least 39 are in critical or intensive care, one more than the previous update. Further details were not immediately available. At least nine staff members within LHSC are positive with the virus, a tally unchanged.

Read more: COVID-19: Critical care nurses in high demand in Ontario as 3rd wave puts pressure on hospitals

An updated breakdown of local to out-of-region patients was not immediately available, but on Monday, when at least 86 people were in LHSC’s care, Dr. Adam Dukelow said nearly 40 per cent had been transferred from elsewhere.

At least 79 per cent of those in ICU at the time, 38 people, were on ventilators, he said.

More patients have been arriving at LHSC from areas that have been hard-hit by COVID-19 and have seen their hospitals overburdened. Recently, most if not all patients have been coming from the GTA.

At least two to five patients were expected to arrive from the GTA for the duration of the week, on a daily basis, Dukelow said Monday.

To deal with the influx of patients, LHSC has had to open at least 18 new ICU beds, including eight beds at Victoria Hospital and 10 at University Hospital, all of which are in use, according to the organization.

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No COVID-19 patients were reported to be in the care of St. Joseph’s Hospital, however, at least four cases are active within St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

Two cases, one patient and one staff, are linked to an ongoing outbreak at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building. Two other active staff cases are not outbreak-related.

At least 466 people in London-Middlesex have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 81 in intensive care, the health unit says.

Outbreaks

No new institutional outbreaks have been declared and one remains active at Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building in its G5 area.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London says at least two cases, one patient and one staff, are active as a result of the outbreak at Parkwood.

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Elsewhere, a non-institutional outbreak remains active at London’s jail, more than three months after it was first declared.

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre outbreak, declared Jan. 18, has been linked to at least 64 inmate and 34 staff cases. Of those, at least 17 inmate cases were listed as being active as of Saturday, the most recent data available from the province, down from 28 the day before.

980 CFPL reached out to the Ministry of the Solicitor General for information on how many staff cases were active at the jail but received no response.

A workplace outbreak is also still active at Cargill’s London facility.

As of Wednesday, the outbreak had been associated with more than 100 cases. The outbreak prompted the facility, which employs roughly 900 people and processes thousands of chickens daily, to halt production last week.

Schools

At least four new cases have been reported involving local schools along with one outbreak. All Ontario schools are conducting remote learning at this time.

The Thames Valley District School Board reported late Tuesday that one case each had been reported involving Glencoe District High School and H.B. Beal Secondary School.

The Beal case, they said, had their self-isolation end on April 20.

Elsewhere, the London District Catholic School Board reported one new case each at St. Anne’s Catholic School and St. Andre Bessette Secondary School.

The case at St. Andre Bessette has prompted an outbreak declaration there by the health unit.

Full lists of active cases can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board, the London District Catholic School Board, and the health unit.

Outbreaks are active involving the following schools, according to the health unit:

  • East Carling Public School
  • École élémentaire catholique Frère André
  • Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School
  • Providence Reformed Collegiate
  • St. Andre Bessette Secondary School
  • St. Anne’s Catholic School
  • St. Francis School

At least 345 cases associated with elementary and secondary schools have been reported in London-Middlesex during the pandemic, according to the health unit.

An additional 50 have been reported in local child care and early years settings, the health unit says.

As of Wednesday, at least eight cases were active involving six facilities.

Three active cases are linked to Faith Day Nursery, where an outbreak was declared April 13, while one case each is linked to Blossoms Childhood Education Centre – West London 1; London Bridge: Piccadilly Place Early Childhood Learning Centre; London French Day Care Centre Inc.; Stoneybrook Early Childhood Learning Centre – London Bridge; and White Oaks Children’s Centre.

An outbreak is also still listed as being active involving Kidorable Child Care Centre, declared April 8, however, no active cases are listed as being associated with the facility.

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In post-secondary, meanwhile, outbreaks remain active in eight student residences linked to Western University, according to the health unit.

The outbreaks together (including the King’s Common outbreak which was declared over on Sunday) have been linked to more than 190 cases.

The following case figures for the active outbreaks were issued on Monday:

  • London Hall – 6
  • Ontario Hall – 8
  • Essex Hall – 12
  • Elgin Hall – 15
  • Delaware Hall -19 + 1 from out of area who did not get tested
  • Perth Hall – 28
  • Medway-Sydenham Hall – 33
  • Saugeen-Maitland Hall – 54 + 3 probable cases who have not yet been tested.

Vaccinations and Testing

Adults 16 and older with certain health conditions considered to be ‘highest-risk‘ and ‘high-risk’ by the province are now eligible to receive a vaccine at one of the region’s three mass vaccination clinics.

The change was made public on Wednesday by the health unit.

Read more: Ontario government workers get paid COVID-19 vaccine time, but why aren’t all private-sector workers?

Officials say those 16 and older with the following highest-risk and high-risk health conditions are now eligible:

  • <span data-sheets-value="{"1":2,"2":"Haematological malignancy diagnosed Haematological malignancy diagnosed < 1 year
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)
  • <span data-sheets-value="{"1":2,"2":"Kidney disease eGFR Kidney disease eGFR < 30
  • Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • 40) *"}” data-sheets-userformat=”{"2":513,"3":{"1":0},"12":0}”>Obesity (BMI > 40)
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity weakening medications)
    • Individuals should speak to their treating provider to determine the most appropriate timing for administration of the first dose of vaccine.

The health unit adds that written documentation or proof of an eligible health condition is not required from a health-care provider, and that self-attestation is accepted. One primary essential caregiver is also eligible.

More information on eligibility can be found on the MLHU’s website.

In addition to other designated groups, all adults over the age of 60 are currently eligible to get a shot at a local mass vaccination clinic.

Eligible residents are asked to visit the local vaccine booking website or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment at one of the region’s three mass vaccination clinics. Online appointments are encouraged due to the high call volume.

A further update on the local vaccination campaign is expected during Thursday’s media briefing. As of April 18, more than 125,387 vaccine doses have been administered.

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Outside of the region’s three vaccination clinics, people aged 40 and older are eligible to get the AstraZeneca shot at a participating pharmacy.

A full list of participating pharmacies can be found on the province’s website. Residents are asked to book a spot with the pharmacies themselves.

Local health officials stress that Londoners should get a vaccine if they’re eligible, and not to wait for eligibility to open up for the Pfizer or Moderna shots.

“My advice to everybody is to seek vaccine wherever and however you can. All of the vaccines are on the scale from very good to excellent. They’re all very safe,” Dr. Chris Mackie said Monday.

Meanwhile, the region’s two main assessment centres, at Carling Heights and Oakridge Arena, remain open and operating by appointment.

At least 7.1 per cent of tests in London and Middlesex were coming back positive as of the week of April 11, down from 7.7 a week earlier, according to data released by MLHU this week.

Ontario

Ontario is reporting 4,212 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 32 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 1,249 new cases in Toronto, 771 in Peel Region, and 386 in York Region.

She also says there are 276 new cases in Hamilton and 214 in Durham Region.

The data is based on nearly 51,900 tests completed.

The Ministry of Health says 2,335 people are in hospital in the province with the novel coronavirus, 790 of whom are in intensive care and 566 are on a ventilator.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 4,200 new COVID-19 cases, 32 deaths

Ontario reports that 136,695 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Tuesday’s daily update.

A total of 4,131,882 vaccine doses have been given in the province so far.

Premier Doug Ford’s government said Tuesday it was considering a paid sick-leave program for essential workers amid warnings from its own science advisors that hospitals were “buckling” under the weight of COVID-19.

Public health experts and labour groups have been saying for months that COVID-19 is spreading in workplaces, with essential workers bearing the brunt of the third wave of the pandemic.

The Ford government has frequently refused to offer sick days to essential workers, saying a program run by the federal government already exists.

In the last two days, Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have shot down Opposition motions on the issue of paid sick days and the closing of more non-essential businesses.

Read more: Ontario Premier Doug Ford in isolation after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

But in a sudden change of course, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday the government was looking into the possibility of a provincial paid-sick-day program.

Late Tuesday, Ford’s office said the premier was isolating in Toronto after a member of his staff who was in close contact with him tested positive for COVID-19.

The statement said the premier has tested negative and will follow all public health advice for close contacts.

It said Ford will continue leading his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while in isolation, including briefings with officials and communicating with the public.

Elgin and Oxford

One death and 28 new cases have been reported in the Elgin-Oxford region, officials with Southwestern Public Health reported Wednesday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 3,237, of which 2,975 have resolved, an increase of 21 from the previous day.

At least 74 deaths have been reported. The most recent death involved a man in his 70s from St. Thomas. His death is the third in the region in the last seven days.

At least 188 cases are currently active in the region, including 69 in St. Thomas, 44 in Woodstock, and 28 in Tillsonburg.

At least five people are in hospital with COVID-19 in Elgin-Oxford, including one person in intensive care.

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The number of variant cases identified in the region currently stands at 307, an increase of 13 from the day before.

Of those, at least 282 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K. At least 79 are active.

Cases are presumed to be the B.1.1.7 variant if they screen positive for only one specific spike protein mutation, named N501Y. The B.1.1.7 variant has been associated with only this mutation.

The health unit says at least 25 cases have screened positive for the E484K mutation, which has been associated with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, and are still undergoing genomic analysis. Of those, at least 11 are still active.

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At least 44,690 residents in Elgin-Oxford have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More residents of Elgin-Oxford are now eligible to receive the vaccine. In addition, those residents now have a third choice as to where they get their shot.

Health officials announced Wednesday that a third vaccination clinic is set to open its doors on April 27 at the Tillsonburg Community Centre.

Though the new clinic doesn’t officially open until next week, when it will run weekdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., residents can book appointments there as of April 21.

Two other clinics are currently in operation in Woodstock and St. Thomas.

“Southwestern Public Health covers a large geographic region and not everyone is able to travel to our Woodstock and St. Thomas sites,” said Jaime Fletcher, program manager of SWPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, in a statement.

“Adding another immunization clinic assists with making vaccine as accessible as possible.”

Members of Oxford County EMS will lead vaccination efforts at the new clinic, officials say.

“We’re grateful for the collaboration of the town of Tillsonburg, Oxford County and Oxford County EMS for helping to get this initiative off the ground. We couldn’t do what we do without such committed partners,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health, during Wednesday’s media briefing.

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More groups are officially eligible to get the vaccine at one of those three clinics, including those 16 and older with certain health conditions considered to be ‘highest-risk‘ and ‘high-risk’ by the province.

“You do not need a user name or password to book, and proof of condition is not required. Just indicate what condition you have that makes you eligible when you book your appointment,” Lock said.

More information can be found on the health unit website.

Also now eligible are all residents aged 50 and older living in the N5H postal code.

The postal code, which is centred around the town of Aylmer, was designated a COVID-19 hot spot by the province roughly two weeks ago, opening it up to more resources such as vaccines and allowing for younger groups to be vaccine-eligible.

“When you arrive at the clinic, you will need to show proof of age and proof of address, so bring along your driver’s licence,” Lock said.

Lock added that a vaccination pop-up clinic organized by the East Elgin Family Health Team had seen solid turnout, with all available spots booked up. Hundreds of people over 50 are set to get their shots in the first week of May, she said.

Eligible residents are asked to visit the area’s vaccine booking site or call 226-289-3560 to book an appointment.

Read more: ‘Practically impossible’ to keep COVID-19 variants out, officials say, as flights from hotspots continue

Asked about the potential for opening up vaccinations to anyone aged 18 and older in the N5H postal code, Lock said they would see how the expansion to those 50 and older goes first.

When Premier Doug Ford announced the hot spot areas earlier this month, he implied that people aged 18 and older in the hot spots would be eligible for a shot, but did not say how the process would unfold.

“Age is still the driving force for illness and hospitalization. So we do want to ensure that those higher-risk individuals have the first opportunity, and then we will review,” Lock said.

“The intent behind the 18-plus was for those pop-up locations in more localized at-risk neighbourhoods where you may have larger families or groupings all living close together,” she continued.

“In those situations, it’s probably best to aim for wraparound vaccine coverage and include all of those who are 18-plus. We still may go there in some subsections of our N5H postal code, but at the moment, we’re going to focus on those 50-plus and then we’ll take it from there.”

Meanwhile, younger age groups are eligible to receive the vaccine as part of the province’s AstraZeneca pharmacy pilot.

At least 28 pharmacies in Elgin-Oxford are doling out the vaccine to people aged 40 and older as of Tuesday. Appointments should be made directly with a participating pharmacy.

“The best vaccine for you is the one you can get today. Any one of the three vaccines that are available currently will do the job and is safe. We encourage people to get whatever vaccine is available for them,” Lock said.

Read more: COVID-19: Aylmer, Ont., police charge 4 over Church of God gathering

At least one new school case was reported in Elgin-Oxford.

The case involves Monsignor J.H. O’Neil Catholic School in Tillsonburg, according to the London District Catholic School Board.

Full lists of active cases within Elgin-Oxford can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

Meanwhile, no new institutional outbreaks have been declared, but one remains active.

The outbreak is located at Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas, tied to three resident and two staff cases.

The health unit says a total of 697 cases have been reported in Woodstock during the pandemic, while 591 have been in St. Thomas, 490 in Aylmer and 391 in Tillsonburg.

Elsewhere, 221 cases have been in Norwich, 177 in Bayham, 151 in Ingersoll, 129 in East Zorra-Tavistock, 77 in Central Elgin, 75 in Blandford-Blenheim, 70 in Zorra, 62 in South-West Oxford, 36 in Dutton/Dunwich, 27 in Southwold, 24 in West Elgin and 18 in Malahide.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 3.2 per cent the week of April 11, up from 2.9 the previous week.

Huron and Perth

Five new COVID-19 cases were reported Wednesday in Huron-Perth, local health officials said.

Three cases were reported in Stratford and one each were reported in North Perth and South Huron.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 1,533, an increase of just two from the day before. The health unit says three previously confirmed cases were reassigned to different health units.

At least 1,440 cases have resolved, five more than the day before, and at least 52 deaths have been reported, most recently on April 13.

At least 41 cases remain active in the region as of Wednesday, including 13 in North Perth and nine in Stratford.

One person is currently in hospital as a result of COVID-19, the health unit says.

Read more: Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to defer cases due to COVID-19 pandemic

Meanwhile, the number of variant cases identified in the region stands at 63, nine more than the day before.

Of those, at least 29 have been confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, according to Public Health Ontario — seven more than the day before.

The rest remain under investigation. Details remain limited, including what spike protein mutations those remaining cases screened positive for. (Those positive for only the N501Y mutation would be presumed to involve the B.1.1.7 variant.)

In a statement Monday, the health unit said the region continued to see transmission as a result of people getting together, maskless and not physically distancing, with people outside of their households.

“It is very important to continue following public health and workplace safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Variants, which predominate right now, spread much more easily.”

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COVID-19 update

At least 34,119 vaccine doses have been administered in the region as of April 19. The tally includes first and second doses.

In their update Monday, the health unit reported a 99.8 per cent coverage rate for those aged 80 and older in having had at least one shot. For those 75-79, the tally is 94.6 per cent, and for those 70-74, it’s 100 per cent.

Current vaccination eligibility in the region is for people 65 and older, in addition to groups eligible due to health, workplace and other reasons.

More information on the local vaccine campaign can be found on the health unit’s website. Those looking to book an appointment are asked to do so via the local booking system or by calling 1-833-753-2098.

People aged 40 and older are also able to receive an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the province’s ongoing pharmacy immunization program.

Local health units are not directly involved in the pharmacy initiative, and residents are asked to contact the pharmacies directly. A list of local participating pharmacies can be found on the province’s website.

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At least three new school cases have been reported, but none involved school exposure, according to the Avon-Maitland District School Board.

Two have been reported involving Brookside Public School in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh while one was reported involving Listowel Eastdale Public School in Listowel.

The Brookside cases are the second and third to be reported at the school this week. One associated case was reported on April 19. It too was not linked to school exposure, according to the school board.

Elementary and secondary students returned to remote learning this week when the deferred spring break ended.

Elsewhere, cases remain active that are associated with F.E. Madill Secondary School (two cases), Stratford District Secondary School, Shakespeare Public School, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School.

Meanwhile, three outbreaks are currently active, all at unnamed workplaces in the region.

No outbreaks are currently active at seniors’ facilities, schools, child-care settings, hospitals, or congregate living settings.

At least 607 cases have been reported in Perth County, with 376 in North Perth and 140 in Perth East, while at least 499 have been reported in Huron County, with 110 in South Huron and 105 in Huron East.

Stratford has reported at least 389 in total, while St. Marys has seen 38.

The region’s test positivity rate stood at 1.5 per cent the week of April 4, up from 0.8 the week earlier. Updated numbers are expected later this week.

Sarnia and Lambton

Seventeen new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Lambton County, local health officials reported Wednesday.

It brings the region’s pandemic case tally to 3,142 of which 3,003 have resolved, an increase of 17 from the day before. At least 55 deaths have been reported, most recently on Tuesday.

At least 84 cases are listed active in Lambton. At least eight people are in hospital, according to Bluewater Health, a tally one higher than the day before.

At least 293 variant cases have been identified in Lambton, an increase of 12 from the day before.

Of those, at least 236 have been either confirmed through genomic analysis to be, or are presumed to be, the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in the U.K., according to the province.

Note on the presumption of B.1.1.7 cases:

  • According to Public Health Ontario, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has been associated with the N501Y spike protein mutation, while variants B.1.351 and P.1, first detected in South Africa and Brazil, respectively, have been associated with mutations N501Y, E484K and K417N.
  • As a result, any specimens screening positive N501Y and negative for E484K are presumed by the province to involve the B.1.1.7 variant and aren’t being sent for further genomic testing.
  • Specimens that screen positive for either the E484K or K417N mutations will undergo genomic testing.

The remaining 57 cases have either screened positive for the E484K mutation and are undergoing genomic analysis, or they have screened positive for N501Y but their E484K status is unknown.

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More than 40,103 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Lambton County as of Tuesday, according to an update from the health unit.

At least 37,763 people have received a first dose while 2,340 have received two.

The health unit says the majority of people included in the first phase of the province’s three-phase vaccine rollout plan have seen at least one dose of vaccine in the county.

“All seniors who live in congregate settings like long-term care, retirement and Elder Care homes have been fully vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations to Indigenous populations and adult recipients of chronic home healthcare are ongoing,” read the health unit’s update.

With Phase 2 vaccinations underway, the health unit says people aged 60 and older, or who are turning 60 this year, remain eligible, along with previously identified groups, including those who live and work in high-risk congregate settings.

Some essential front-line workers who can’t work from home are also eligible, along with those with highest-risk and high-risk health conditions, along with one essential caregiver.

More eligibility information can be found on the health unit’s website.

Clinics are fully booked until May 5, but additional clinics will be open soon, the health unit said.

Eligible residents are asked to contact the health unit at 519-383-8331, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or to visit the health unit’s website when spots become available.

Meanwhile, multiple pharmacies in Lambton are also continuing to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 55 and older as part of the province-run pilot program. Residents are asked to book appointments with the pharmacies directly.

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It’s not clear exactly how many new school cases may have been reported in Lambton, as the Lambton-Kent District School Board has paused public reporting of new cases during the remote learning period.

No new cases were reported by the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

Figures can be found on the websites of the Lambton-Kent District School Board and St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

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One new outbreak has been declared in the region, located at an unnamed workplace, linked to five cases. It’s one of two workplace outbreaks active in Lambton. The other, declared April 7, has been linked to eight cases.

Elsewhere, an outbreak is active in a student residence of Lambton College in Sarnia. The outbreak, declared on Monday, is tied to five resident cases, two more than the day before.

The health unit says the county’s test positivity rate was 1.9 per cent as of the week of April 11, down from 2.8 the week before.

At least 143,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Lambton.

–With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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