Two more COVID deaths

Southwestern Public Health reported on Wednesday, Jan. 5, that two more residents of its area had died as a result of COVID-19, a St. Thomas woman in her 50s and an Oxford man in his 80s.

That brings the total number of such deaths in Elgin, St. Thomas and Oxford since the pandemic began to 116.

Even though the provincial government ordered testing for the virus scaled back starting a week ago to only vulnerable populations such as those with reduced immune systems, hospital and long-term care home staffs, as well as those exhibiting severe symptoms, Southwestern still announced Wednesday that 106 new cases had been confirmed locally overnight, down from 169 the previous day.

The number of ongoing cases rose to 1,401 on Wednesday from 1,379 on Tuesday.

The health unit has stated that, with a decline in testing, positive results would become a less-accurate way to determine how widespread COVID-19 was within its region.

The number of area residents hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 increased to 18 Wednesday from 15 the previous day. The number in intensive care units remains unchanged at five.

Across Ontario, 2,081 residents are hospitalized with the virus, up from 1,290 on Tuesday, with 288 in intensive care units, up from 266.

The ongoing case rate in the Southwestern region stands at 662.4 per 100,000 of population, up from 652 on Tuesday.