Four COVID-related deaths in Oxford and Elgin counties, public health confirms

Four COVID related deaths in Oxford and Elgin counties public health

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There were four more COVID-related deaths in the Oxford and Elgin counties region confirmed Wednesday by public health officials.

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Only one of the four deaths – a man in his 70s who was a resident at Secord Trails in Ingersoll – was linked to one of the many long-term care outbreaks in the two counties.

That, along with the other deaths – an Oxford County man in his 60s, an Oxford County woman in her 80s and an Elgin County man in his 50s – bumped the local toll from 122 to 126 in what has become a deadly week.

Southwestern public health’s morning update also confirmed 106 new case and 170 recoveries, as well as two case removals from the local numbers, dropping the active count from 1,382 to 1,312.

This active case count, though, is becoming increasingly meaningless during the recent Omicron-driven surge, public health officials have said. With testing and contact-tracing capacity overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases, officials across the province have warned that counts are likely a sharp underestimate of the actual number of active infections.

Despite the dip in active cases, public health confirmed a 14th long-term care home – Maple Nursing Home in Tavistock – was in outbreak.

Now, 14 of the region’s 34 long-term care homes are in some degree of outbreak, Southwestern public health officials said.

The outbreak at Secord Trails in Ingersoll – the region’s worst – grew to 34 resident and 10 staff cases and two deaths. The outbreak at Valleyview Nursing Home in St. Thomas had also grown, increasing to 15 resident and 20 staff cases. There were also high case counts at Woodstock’s Woodingford Lodge site, Chartwell Oxford Gardens in Woodstock and Caressant Care Bonnie Place in St. Thomas.

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The number of area residents in hospital with the virus also increased slightly from Tuesday, growing from 23 to 24 patients, including eight in intensive care.

Outbreaks at Ingersoll’s Alexandra Hospital, with nine patient and two staff cases, and the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, with three staff and three patients cases, remained active.

There have now been 8,720 confirmed cumulative cases in the region and 7,282 recoveries since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The region’s two largest urban communities – Woodstock and St. Thomas –continued to have the most cases in the region, with 408 and 354 respectively. There were also 131 active cases reported in the Town of Ingersoll.

As of Jan. 10, 86 per cent of area residents 12 and older had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 84 per cent had been administered two doses. For residents five and older, the local vaccination coverage rates dropped to 81.6 per cent with one dose and 76.6 per cent with two.

Southwestern public health has an upcoming pop-up clinic scheduled that welcomes walk-ins interested in a first, second or third dose of a vaccine. This clinic offers Pfizer vaccines for residents 29 and younger and Moderna for people 30 and older.

The clinic is set for Thursday, Jan. 13, from 11 am to 6 pm at the Straffordville Community Center at 56169 Heritage Line in Straffordville.