COVID-19 surging across London region

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In Huron and Perth counties, 17 new cases were added Thursday. The number of active cases is 82, up from 53 on Christmas Eve. Active cases in the area peaked at 101 this past Monday.

Huron-Perth Public Health also logged its 22nd death Wednesday, a resident of Exeter Villa long-term care home in South Huron. The Exeter Villa outbreak has infected 14 residents and six staff.

Listowel Memorial Hospital remains in an outbreak, with 14 total cases between staff and patients.

In the region, three additional long-term care homes and two retirement homes have active outbreaks. Huron-Perth logged a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent the week of Dec. 20.

Across Lambton County, 23 new COVID-19 cases were added Thursday.

Lambton Public Health is reporting 157 active cases, with a 3.3 per cent positive rate recorded last week, also above the three per cent community spread threshold.

Since the pandemic began, 28 people in the Lambton region have died.

As health-care systems, resources and contract tracing capacities become strained amid rising case counts, Lock urges anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to alert their close contacts and advise them to self-isolate.

She’s also encouraging everyone to download and use the COVID-19 Alert app, along with maintaining the basics of mask-wearing, hand washing, physical distancing and only leaving the home for essential reasons.

Although Ontario remains in a provincewide lockdown, Lock said 10 months into the pandemic, lack of adherence to public health guidelines is less from restriction fatigue and more because peoples’ fear of the virus has diminished.

“Initially, I think people were afraid,” she said. “Now we’ve come to know that although the virus can kill and can put people in the hospital and the ICU, that often, for many, it’s just a very mild cold infection. I think we’ve lost our fear.”

But Lock said the risk is still there.

“All of us do need to continue to remember for every 10 of us that gets sick, one or two will end up in the hospital,” Lock said. “For every 100 that get sick, somebody will die and it’s our loved ones.”