Three people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in London and Middlesex, including two who contracted the virus at recent gatherings that involved more than 10 people, local health officials reported Monday.
The update brings the total number of confirmed cases in the region to 625, of which 505 people have recovered — three more than the day before — and 57 have died.
Two of the cases were reported in London, while one case was reported in Thames Centre involving a long-term care home staff member.
The two London cases have been linked to an outbreak among what the health unit described as “party-goers” at recent gatherings that has infected at least eight people in their 20s.
The cases are “associated with attending gatherings of more than 10 people” in violation of provincial orders, the health unit said, adding that the first case was reported on June 24.
“Since June 24, a total of eight cases have been associated with these gatherings, two of which were reported in today’s case count,” the health unit said Monday. “The cases associated with this outbreak include six females and two males.”
It’s not clear how many gatherings occurred and when.
The health unit says some of those infected later attended other gatherings outside of the county with people outside of their social circle.
“Health Unit staff have been communicating with all eight individuals and are following up with their close contacts as part of the on-going case investigations,” MLHU said in a statement.
As a result of the outbreak, health officials are reminding the public that gatherings in Ontario are still limited to 10 people, and that physical distancing and mask-wearing is critical in keeping the virus from spreading.
“While we enter new reopening phases, and start to see restrictions lift, it is important to remember that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still present in our community,” Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for London and Middlesex, said in a statement.
“This outbreak highlights the need for ongoing caution during the reopening phases this summer.”
On Monday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said people under 40 are accounting for a greater proportion of cases after steep declines in case numbers for people over 80 years old in recent weeks.
Overall, 581 cases have been reported in London, while 22 have been in Strathroy-Caradoc.
Nine cases have been reported in Middlesex Centre, with six in Thames Centre, five in North Middlesex, and one each in Lucan Biddulph and Southwest Middlesex.
Health officials reported six new cases and three recoveries on Sunday, and three new cases and two recoveries on Saturday.
No new outbreaks have been declared and no outbreaks have resolved, according to the health unit.
One active outbreak remains at Westmount Gardens, which was declared on June 18. At least three staff members have tested positive.
Seniors’ homes account for 21 of the at least 26 outbreaks declared during the pandemic, and 176 of the region’s cases.
Long-term care homes have seen 110 cases, involving 62 residents and 48 staff members, while retirement homes have seen 68 cases, involving 44 residents and 24 staff members.
A majority of the region’s deaths are associated with seniors’ facilities, with 24 at long-term care homes and 13 at retirement homes.
Hospitalizations remain low in the city.
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has not put out a tally of COVID-19 patients in its care since June 10.
LHSC says it will only put out an updated figure if the number of patients rises above five.
No COVID-19 patients were being treated at any of St. Joseph’s Health Care’s facilities as of Monday, according to its website.
As of Monday, 112 patients — about 18 per cent of the region’s cases — have had to be hospitalized, with 31 requiring intensive care.
Nineteen staff members at St. Joseph’s have tested positive during the pandemic, a number that has not changed for more than a week.
Similar data from LHSC is not available, as the organization said it would only put out an updated figure if the staff case count rose by five or more.
Provincially, Ontario reported 257 new cases of COVID-19 and seven new deaths related to the virus on Monday.
The total number of cases now stands at 34,911, which includes 30,196 cases marked as resolved and 2,665 deaths.
Eighty-eight of the new cases have been reported in Windsor-Essex, with 87 involving agri-food workers. More than 180 agri-food workers in the region tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
The health unit reported Monday that six farms remain in outbreak, but would not disclose the names of the operations, saying the risk they currently represent to the public is “negligible.”
While it does not specify if the workers are local or part of the temporary foreign worker program, the health unit has previously said that 90 per cent of the cases are among the migrant worker population. COVID-19 cases on farms in Leamington and Kingsville have accounted for more than half of the region’s entire case count over the past month.
The chief medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex Health says he has asked for additional resources from the province to address the increased number of cases.
The Ministry of Health says it was able to complete more than 27,000 tests for the novel coronavirus on Sunday.
Elgin and Oxford
No new cases, deaths, or recoveries were reported Monday by officials with Southwestern Public Health (SWPH).
The total number of cases remains unchanged at 83, of which 77 people have recovered and four have died, a tally that has not changed in about two months.
Two cases remain active, both in Elgin County — one in Dutton/Dunwich, the other in Malahide.
Health officials reported no new cases, deaths, or recoveries over the weekend.
The number of declared outbreaks stands at three, with all resolved.
As of Monday, 8,755 tests had been conducted in Elgin and Oxford counties, with 177 people still awaiting test results.
One per cent of tests come back positive, according to the health unit.
Huron and Perth
The number of cases in Huron and Perth stood at 57 as of Friday, of which 51 had recovered and five had died. No new deaths have been reported in about two months.
The health unit provided no updates over the weekend, and an update is expected Monday afternoon.
One active case remains in the region, located in Perth County.
Across the region, 26 cases and four deaths have been reported in Stratford, with all four deaths linked to a former outbreak at Greenwood Court — one of nine outbreaks that have been reported in the region. All have since resolved.
Elsewhere, 14 cases have been reported in Huron County, 13 in Perth County and four cases and one death in St. Marys.
As of Friday, a total of 8,269 people had been tested in the region.
Sarnia and Lambton
One person has recovered from the novel coronavirus, officials with Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported late Sunday.
The total number of cases remains at 285, of which now 254 have recovered. Twenty-five people have also died, leaving six active cases in the county. No new cases have been reported since June 20.
Health officials reported one recovery late Saturday and three recoveries late Friday.
An outbreak at Bluewater Health hospital in Sarnia, declared June 17, was also marked as resolved as of Saturday. Four staff cases had been reported in the outbreak. In total, at least 19 staff members have tested positive for the virus during the pandemic.
One active outbreak remains in the county at Afton Park Place, a long-term care home in Sarnia. One staff case has been reported in the outbreak, which was declared on June 18.
A total of nine outbreaks have been declared during the pandemic, with 105 cases and 16 deaths linked to them. A vast majority of cases, and all of the deaths, are attributed to two outbreaks that occurred at Landmark Village and Vision Nursing Home.
Bluewater Health reported Monday morning that it was treating no COVID-19 patients and had 24 patients who were suspected positive or awaiting tests.
The hospital hasn’t had a confirmed COVID-19 patient since June 14. A total of 57 people have been hospitalized during the pandemic, according to LPH.
Nearly 12,100 test results had been received by the county as of late Sunday. The health unit says 2.4 per cent of tests come back positive.
— With files from The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.