No new COVID cases Monday for the first time in months, Southwestern health unit reports

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For the first time in four months, there were no new cases of COVID-19 in the Oxford and Elgin counties region, the health unit announced Monday.

But that welcome news was tempered by two COVID-related deaths over the weekend – a woman in her 90s from Aylmer Retirement Residence and a man in his 70s from Caressant Care retirement home in Woodstock – connected to ongoing outbreaks.

With no new cases Monday, the active case total in the Southwestern public health region dropped to 40. There were four new cases over the weekend, two each on Saturday and Sunday.

As of Monday, 2,350 people had recovered from the virus while 67 people in the region have died.

The region has three active institutional outbreaks. Caressant Care Woodstock has had 54 resident and 23 staff cases, and three COVID-related deaths. There is one staff case at Valleyview Nursing Home in St. Thomas, and one person, a resident, had the virus and died at Aylmer Retirement Residence.

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Of the region’s 40 ongoing cases, more than half are in Oxford County, including 16 in Woodstock and four in Ingersoll. There are nine cases in St. Thomas, while several other municipalities each have one or two cases,

There are currently four people in hospital, including two patients in intensive care.

With no new cases added to the regional count on Monday, the area reached a milestone it hadn’t seen since mid-October. Dr. Joyce Lock, medical officer of health for the region, said last week that, while trends are encouraging, residents need to stick with public-health guidelines.

“We continue to see an encouraging downward trend,but the best advice I can give to everyone is to stay at home as much as possible, wear a face covering when you go out, wash your hands frequently and avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with,” Lock said.

“Basic public-health practices continue to play a key role in our response to COVID-19 and, despite how tired we are, the current lull in the number of cases does not mean the danger has passed for our region.”

The Thames Valley District school board reported one new case of COVID-19 at Central public school on Friday. There are also three ongoing cases at Annandale public school and one at Huron Park secondary school.

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