COVID-19: Community transmission remains high; Huron-Perth records 106th death

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The number of active COVID-19 outbreaks in Huron-Perth’s highest-risk settings is a sign that community transmission in the region remains high during the sixth wave of the pandemic, according to public health officials.

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Huron-Perth reported 13 active outbreaks on Wednesday, including five in long-term care homes and retirement homes in the area. Seven others were active in unnamed communal living quarters, according to the health unit’s most recent figures.

An outbreak in the inpatient unit of St. Marys Memorial Hospital also continued on Wednesday. This outbreak has affected at least 16 patients and five staff members since it was declared on April 18, according to data updated by the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance on Wednesday.

Limited PCR testing in Ontario has made tracking community spread more difficult at this stage of the pandemic. The number of reported cases is far lower than the number of people who actually have COVID-19, so experts are looking to other data points such as sewage monitoring and outbreaks.

“The increase in outbreaks tells us that community transmission of COVID remains high locally,” Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth Medical Officer of Health, said Wednesday. “This puts a strain on our healthcare system and on the most at-risk settings, not only due to staff absences, but also due to the additional care required for COVID-positive patients and residents.”

There were seven people from Huron-Perth in hospital Wednesday with COVID-19. That’s fewer than the 11 reported on Monday, but the region also recorded its 106th death this week.

The death, reported on the Huron Perth Public Health COVID-19 Dashboard on Wednesday, was not linked to a local outbreak, the health unit confirmed.

Ontario reported 1,661 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday, including 202 in intensive care. That compares with 1,734 hospitalizations and 211 people in intensive care on Wednesday.

The province reported 21 new COVID-related deaths Thursday. Ontario also reported 3,751 new infections, but the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 advisory group said multiplying the number of daily cases by 20 would give a more accurate picture.

Approximately 28% of long-term care homes in Ontario are currently reporting an active outbreak.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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