For the first time in more than a month, the London region saw no new cases of COVID-19 Saturday. However, the region’s top doctor says it is important to remain vigilant as the virus is still in the community.
Since the outbreak in the region began with a single case back in January, there was no real surge in the number of cases until the middle of March when community transmission started to happen in the Middlesex-London area. But, it wasn’t until March 25 when the number of cases started to steadily increase each day.
As of Friday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported a total of 438 cases in the region over the course of the pandemic with no increase on Saturday.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a while,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health for the MLHU. “We’re certainly not out of the woods. There will be more cases and deaths, but it’s a good sign that things are moving in the right direction.”
Of the total number of people who have been infected, 292 of them have recovered.
In addition to no new cases, there were also no new deaths reported on Saturday, something Dr. Mackie was not expecting considering there’s about a two week delay between when cases peak and when deaths peak.
“It’s really exciting to see that [both the case count and the death count] were at zero today,” he added.
Across the region, 43 people have died from the virus since the outbreak began and 23 of them were associated with seniors’ homes.
According to the health unit’s latest outbreak report, nine seniors’ facilities in the region continue to battle outbreaks.
A community effort that must continue
Dr. Mackie said that the gradual decrease in cases that the region has recorded over the last few weeks is the cumulative effort of every person who has abided to public health measures.
“The sacrifices that we have all made in terms of our lifestyle and often our finances are paying off and are worthwhile,” he said. “What we’ve been doing is really working.”
And while Saturday’s double zeros – in cases and deaths- is good news, Dr. Mackie said that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax.
“We know the virus is still in the community, it will bring more cases and so we have to remain vigilant.”
Practising physical distancing and avoiding contact with people outside of one’s household are still the community’s best allies to beat the virus, Dr. Mackie said.
No new cases in most surrounding counties, daily provincial number decreases
Health officials in Huron-Perth said the number of cases in the counties remained unchanged Saturday.
Since the outbreak began, 49 people in the area have contracted the virus and 39 have recovered, while five have died after getting infected.
Southwestern Public Health said that two more people have recovered from the virus in Oxford and Elgin counties.
Over the course of the outbreak, the region has seen 62 cases and 47 of them have been marked as resolved. Four people have succumbed to the illness.
Health officials in Grey Bruce reported one new case, bringing the region’s total up to 90.
Of the total number of cases, 71 have been resolved.
Meanwhile, the province saw the lowest daily increase in cases this week with 346 new confirmed cases of the virus.
The cases bring Ontario’s total to 19,944, but about 72 per cent of the cases are now resolved.