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COVID-19 kills two more in London region as case total surpasses 100

Health officials in the London region are reporting more COVID-19 related deaths as the number of cases in the area surpasses the 100 mark.

New numbers from the Middlesex-London Health Unit on Saturday revealed 21 new cases, bringing the total number to 113.

The health unit also reported two more deaths, bringing the total number of people who have died to five.

This comes a day after the provincial government revealed modelling projections that say the virus could kill 1,600 Ontarians by the end of the month and between 3,000 to 15,000  over the course of the pandemic.

No details are known about the new patients in the region or the two who succumbed to the illness.

On Saturday, 20 people had been admitted to the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) for COVID-19. Out of the total patients, 12 are in critical care. 

LHSC adresses fears over PPE shortage

The Ontario Nurses Association sent a letter to nurses this week saying that the 20 hospitals in the region – from Windsor to Woodstock – would run out of surgical masks with face shields within a few days.

After repeated interview requests to the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care about the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), officials with both hospitals released a joint statement Friday afternoon.  

“The figures related to regional and local PPE supply on-hand that were recently made public are only a snapshot of what, in reality, is a complex and rapidly changing supply chain,” said the statement from Neil Johnson, the acting president and CEO of the LHSC, and Dr. Gillian Kenaghan, the president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care London.

“While a limited number of days-on-hand supply may seem concerning, it does not mean the hospitals will actually run out of stock at that time, but rather indicates an area of concern for our procurement partners.”

N95 respirators protect against small particles and are worn during surgery and around patients suspected of or diagnosed with having COVID-19. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Both hospitals are supplied by Healthcare Materials Management Services (HMMS), which according to ONA’s letter, have ordered more masks. ONA said 500,000 of them are being held at Chinese customs and another 700,000 masks have been sourced, but haven’t been produced yet.

“There are supply pipelines and fail-safes in place to ensure that all Ontario hospitals are able to access PPE. LHSC and St. Joseph’s actively participate at both the regional allocation table and the provincial allocation task force, both of which use daily supply data to ensure safe and equitable PPE distribution based on immediate need across the province,” the hospital officials wrote. 

New case in Elgin County

Meanwhile, in a man in his 90s in Elgin County has tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 21 in Elgin and Oxford counties.

Officials with Southwestern Public Health said the man, who is now in hospital, contracted the virus after being in close contact with someone who already had it.

New numbers from Huron-Perth and Grey Bruce haven’t been released yet, but as of Friday, there were 17 cases in Huron-Perth and 17 cases in Grey-Bruce.

More to come.

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