Omicron continues to spread in long-term care, retirement homes

Southwestern Public Health was reporting outbreaks of COVID-19 in 21 out of 34 long-term care and retirement homes in Elgin, St. Thomas and Oxford on Thursday, Jan. 20, up from 18 the previous day, a trend blamed on the highly-contagious Omicron variant of the virus.

The health unit also announced that 47 local residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday, down by one from Wednesday, but the number of them in intensive care units had risen to nine from eight.

Across the province, 4,061 Ontarians were hospitalized with with COVID-19 Thursday, down from 4,132 the previous day, with 594 in intensive care units, up from 589.

SWPH also recorded 59 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, down from 186 on Wednesday. The health unit was tracking 840 ongoing confirmed cases, down from 886.

Local ongoing cases include 239 in St. Thomas and area, 56 in Aylmer and Malahide, 32 in Central Elgin, 21 in West Elgin, 18 in Dutton Dunwich, nine in Bayham and seven in Southwold.