Wednesday’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Southwestern Public Health shows the number of confirmed ongoing COVID-19 cases in Oxford-Elgin is now 29.
Four people from Elgin County have died from the coronavirus.
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A total of 1,457 people have been tested in Oxford-Elgin, including 338 pending tests.
As of April 22, 12 p.m., there are 14 confirmed ongoing cases in Oxford County (up four since Monday), including two in Tillsonburg. Other ongoing cases are in Blanford-Blenheim (4), East Zorra-Tavistock (2), Woodstock (2), Zorra (2), Norwich (1) and South-West Oxford (1).
Elgin County reports 15 ongoing cases.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit reports 167 lab-confirmed cases, up nine since Sunday, and 28 deaths.
Middlesex-London Health Unit reports nine new cases Wednesday. The total number of cases in Middlesex-London is 343, and there have been 23 deaths.
Across the province, there have been 184,531 people tested, which includes 165,441 negative tests and 12,245 cumulative confirmed cases of which 5,365 are ongoing cases as of April 22.
Ontario reported 606 new cases Monday – its largest single-day increase – and 31 new deaths, on the same day health care officials said the ‘community’ spread of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked. The latest modelling numbers, which forecasts the number of COVID-19 cases, now separates ‘community’ spread from ‘long-term care’ spread – and warned of worsening long-term care outcomes.
“We’re really talking about two separate disease processes right now,” said Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, in a media briefing on Monday.
“We’re at peak in the community, but we are still on that accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care homes.
“I think when we talk about peak, sometimes people hope that means the disease has passed. What peak means is that the public health interventions… have suppressed the spread of the disease. It doesn’t mean that the disease has left the population, it doesn’t mean that the disease has passed over,” said Brown.
“We’ve been very successful – you’ve been very successful – in helping us to control the spread, and maintain capacity within our acute care system,” said Matthew Anderson, president and CEO of Ontario Health, at Monday’s briefing.
“Everyone needs to continue to stay home as much as possible and maintain physical distancing to ensure the province continues to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve,” said Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate medical officer of health. “These actions are making a big difference.”
Yaffe said the province has moved to the next phase of its testing strategy, expanding testing in long-term care homes, congregate settings and other vulnerable populations.
Last week, the province announced an action plan to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes.
“We are confident that those measures will in fact have a great impact on outbreaks and preventing and controlling infection in this setting, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time,” said Yaffe.
She added there is “no clear answer” on when the province will begin to remove some of its COVID-19 restrictions.
“It will not be a light switch, on, off. It will be very gradual,” said Yaffe, adding that Ontario will need to monitor infection rates once restrictions lift to ensure there is no surge in cases. “Because once (the restrictions) lift, it will be very hard to go back.
“It’ll be nice in the summer, hopefully things will be better by then. But I don’t want to start letting people completely let go of social distancing,” said Yaffe.
“The virus is still there. We don’t want to have a second wave. We can avoid it by taking things slowly and carefully.”
In a media briefing Monday, Premier Doug Ford praised the work of Ontarians in practicing physical distancing.
“Today we saw new modelling that shows there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. The numbers clearly show that the steps we have taken as a province are working,” said Ford.
He noted, “we’re not out of the woods yet – far from it. We’re still in the middle of a battle, we’re still fighting hard to protect our long-term care homes and our most vulnerable.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of the people of this province. I know that people get anxious and rambunctious – but what, over waiting a few more weeks? I’d rather wait and be safe,” said Ford.
Brown, of the University of Toronto, also addressed those who might regard the difference between the first and second modelling projections with suspicion.
“I can understand why people say, ‘well this isn’t the same projection as two weeks ago.’ Well, we would hope it wouldn’t be the same projection as two weeks ago,” said Brown.
“When we release a model, when there’s numbers that are in those models that look quite frightening, people do change behaviour. If you look on the city streets, if you look at what’s happening, people have changed behaviour.”
Brown also noted that people living in low-income neighbourhoods in Ontario are now at a “much higher risk” of COVID-19 infection – unlike the initial wave of infection largely driven by travel.
Since Sunday morning, 106 people have died in Ontario due to COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in the province to 659.
– with files from Taylor Blewett, John Willing & Canadian Press.