A healthcare worker performs coronavirus swab on a patient. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo /NoielA healthcare worker performs coronavirus swab on a patient. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo /Noiel

London-Middlesex reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, school outbreak

Daily COVID-19 case counts in the London area dropped slightly on Friday with the local health unit reporting over 20 infections.

On Friday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) confirmed a total of 26 new COVID-19 cases, a marginal dip from Thursday and Wednesday's total of 33 recorded cases. The London area started the week with low numbers after a slight jump last week, but the region has stayed in double digits.

London's total case count now sits at 13,759. There were 16 recoveries reported on Friday. However, the number of known active cases in the area has risen to 197, up 11 from the previous day. A total of 13,325 cases have been resolved.

The number of cases involving variants of concern in the area has risen by 17 to 4,141. All the variant cases are linked to the Delta variant for a total of 627 locally. The number of Alpha variant, Gamma variant, and Beta variant cases remain unchanged from Thursday.

As of Friday afternoon, the London Health Sciences Centre has admitted one additional COVID-19 patient into its care for a total of eight in-patients. Five or fewer in-patients are in critical care, and zero pediatric patients are in the Children's Hospital. Less than five staff members are in self-isolation after testing positive for the virus.

After two weeks back in classrooms, schools in London-Middlesex are dealing with relatively low numbers of COVID-19 cases across the region. However, the MLHU confirmed the first local school outbreak of the year on Friday.

Health officials were notified of a fourth positive COVID-19 case linked to École élémentaire La Pommeraie, a French-language school in southwest London.

"Through information gathered during the case investigation, the health unit has concluded that the virus had been spread between these close contacts while they were at the school," a release from the MLHU read.

The latest individual to test positive is in isolation after they were in close contact with a previous case. The affected person did not attend the school during their period of communicability, the health unit said. The school will remain open, and only staff and students identified as being in close contact with the cases will be told to self-isolate.

"Because the close contacts of the cases who attend La Pommeraie are currently in isolation and not attending classes, there is no need for further action by staff or students, other than to monitor themselves for the development of symptoms," said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Mackie. "Because most children who attend elementary schools are too young to be vaccinated themselves, the best thing we can do to protect them is to make sure the people they spend time with have already been vaccinated."

The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) currently has 17 active cases at 15 of its schools. The French-language board has nine active cases, while the London District Catholic school board has zero.

Across Ontario, provincial health officials reported 795 new cases on Friday, down 39 from Thursday's total. The province recorded five new COVID-19 related deaths bringing the death toll to 9,637. There have now been 585,365 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

Over 21-million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been doled out. As of Friday, 84.8 per cent of Ontarians 12 and older have had at least one dose, and nearly 78.7 per cent have received two doses.

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