Man in his 70s latest London-area COVID-19 death

Just five days into October, the Middlesex London Health Unit is reporting it’s first COVID-19 death of the month.

Public health officials announced the death of a man in his 70s on Tuesday. The man was not associated with a long-term care or retirement home. No other details about him, including his vaccination status were released. This is the area’s first COVID-19 death in a week. Last Wednesday, the health unit confirmed the death of another man in his 70s.

The region’s death toll now sits at 240.

Fifteen new infections were logged on Tuesday, down from 20 on Monday and Sunday. The area’s total case count since the pandemic began is 14,109.

Resolved cases are up by 23 to 13,706. There are currently 163 active cases locally, down from 171 the previous day.

Three area schools continue to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks. Lord Elgin Public has the highest number of infections linked to its outbreak with 19. Of those cases, only six remain active. The school will remain closed until next Tuesday. Other school outbreaks are at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic elementary school and London Christian High. Those two facilities remain open. The Thames Valley District School Board currently has 18 active cases at 13 schools, while the London District Catholic School Board has seven cases at four schools.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) currently has nine inpatients with COVID-19 in its care, up one since Monday. Five or fewer of those patients are listed in intensive care and none are in the care of Children’s Hospital. Fewer than five employees are in isolation after testing positive for the virus.

No additional cases have been identified as variants of concern, leaving the local total at 4,259. There have been 745 cases involving the B.1.617 (Delta) strain since the health unit began tracking variants. There have also been a total of 3,384 of the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) strain, 124 of the P.1. (Gamma) variant, and two cases of the B.1.351 (Beta) strain.

As of Saturday, there have been 768,942 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the region, which works out to 87.2 per cent of all area residents aged 12 and older having received at least one dose. The percentage of the local population to receive both doses is currently 82.1.

Of the 801 people who have contracted the virus locally since August 24, approximately 67.7 per cent were not vaccinated, 8.5 per cent were partially vaccinated, and 19.9 per cent were fully vaccinated. Another 4 per cent had the shot but it had not yet begun offering protection.

In Elgin and Oxford counties, there has been another COVID-19 death. A 75-year-old Aylmer man is the latest to succumb to the virus. This is the first death to be recorded in the region in a week and a half. It brings the local death toll up to 87. Nine new COVID-19 cases were logged in the area on Tuesday. That brings Southwestern Public Health’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 4,348. Resolved cases rose to 4,184 with 77 known active cases in the two counties remaining. As of Sunday, 85.9 per cent of area residents aged 12 and older have had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 81 per cent have received both doses.

The health unit, along with medical professionals from several local hospitals and agencies, sent an open letter to the residents of Oxford County on Tuesday urging those who haven’t to get vaccinated. They also reminded residents to continue to avoid indoor gatherings, crowded places, and close contacts with people outside of their own household.

“This is the best course of action to keep our schools, businesses, recreation facilities, and places of worship open,” the letter reads. “Collectively, our goal is to reduce transmission, illness, long-term disability, and death. Our goal is to ensure our hospitals have room for everyone who needs care. Our goal is to move toward community healing and recovery from the novel coronavirus.”

The letter also looks to quash fears surrounding the vaccine.

“To date there is nothing peer reviewed in a reputable journal that speaks against vaccination. The vaccines approved for use in Canada are overwhelmingly safe and effective. They protect the person who is vaccinated, but high numbers of vaccinated also protect those who haven’t had the vaccine due to their age or an allergy,” the letter states.

Ontario logged less than 500 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours.

Public health officials recorded 429 new infections on Tuesday. That is down from 511 Monday, 580 Sunday, and 704 Saturday.

The unvaccinated continue to account for the bulk of new cases across the province Tuesday, with 233 of the infections reported among those who have not had a single shot. The partially vaccinated makeup 27 of the new cases, and there were 128 cases involving the fully vaccinated. Another 41 of the cases involved individuals whose vaccination status is unknown.

Toronto had the province’s highest daily number of cases over the past 24 hours with 108, followed by Peel Region with 55, and Ottawa with 47.

Ontario’s total case count since the start of the pandemic now stands at 589,041.

The Delta variant, B.1.617, continues to be the fastest spreading strain in the province. According to the daily epidemiology report, there were 33 more cases identified as being the Delta variant for a total of 18,897. There are a total of 146,465 cases of the Alpha variant B.1.1.7., 1,502 of the Beta variant B.1.351 and 5,229 of the Gamma variant P.1.

There were four additional deaths reported Tuesday, bringing the provincial death toll from the virus to 9,757. One death was removed from the total as part of a data cleanup.

There are currently 277 people with COVID-19 being treated at Ontario hospitals, up 131 from Monday. COVID-19 related admissions to the intensive care unit are down by four to 155 and there are 101 people breathing with the assistance of a ventilator, a decrease of three. Of those on general hospital wards with the virus, 109 are not fully vaccinated. Forty-one are fully vaccinated.

The number of resolved cases rose by 696 to 574,550. There are currently 4,734 active cases of the virus in Ontario.

In the last 24 hour period, 25,441 COVID-19 tests were processed, up from 23,667 the previous day. The province’s positivity rate is now 1.8 per cent.

To date, the province has administered 21.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 10.6 million people having received both shots required to be fully inoculated.

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