This Labour Day, protect yourself and others. If you plan to spend time with friends and family, gather outdoors, even if you’re fully vaccinated. The Delta variant is circulating and the fourth wave of COVID-19 is here. Please continue to follow public health guidance.
Although the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is taking pause and marking International Overdose Awareness Day. This year the Health Unit is showing solidarity by standing alongside partners, family and friends who have lost loved ones to overdose, recognizing the overwhelming impact of the ongoing opioid crisis. Opioid use and associated overdoses continue to have a devastating effect across our region. According to Health Canada, in the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 5,148 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred (April to December 2020), representing an 89% increase from the same time period in 2019 (2,722 deaths).
With new vaccine coverage data released today, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is announcing that over 75% of the region’s population aged 12 and older has now received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The total number of doses administered in London and Middlesex County, since the first dose was given just over eight months ago, now stands at 717,351, with 82.8% of the eligible population having received their first dose. This milestone comes as a result of collaboration with hundreds of organizations and partners across the region who have supported the vaccination effort by hosting vaccination clinics and administering COVID-19 vaccinations to primary care patients and long-term care and retirement home residents. It is through these partnerships and support from London Health Sciences Centre, Middlesex-London Paramedic Service, the County of Middlesex, the City of London and Thames Valley Family Health Team that this mass vaccination effort continues to be a success.
The last weekend of August has brought with it some very hot and muggy weather. Despite there being a 40% chance of rain today, the Environment Canada forecast is calling for the temperature to reach a high of 32º Celsius with a Humidex expected to reach 42, enough to meet the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s criteria for a one-day Heat Alert. The temperatures are expected to continue being warm and humid overnight with a forecast low of 20 degrees, so the Heat Alert will remain in effect until Monday morning, when the daytime high is expected to reach 29º Celsius with a Humidex expected to reach 35.
As part of the effort to increase accessibility to the COVID-19 vaccine and come up with novel ideas for where to hold pop-up clinics, the Middlesex-London Health Unit will be introducing a different kind of vaccination clinic next week. The Health Unit is partnering with CF Masonville Place to create an opportunity for families doing their back-to-school shopping to roll up their sleeves and get protected against COVID-19 and the surging Delta variant.
In recent days, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has been seeing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and virus transmission linked to participation in summer sports camps as well as amateur sports leagues. Because those who participate in these activities, particularly those who are unvaccinated or too young to be vaccinated, come into close contact with each other when unmasked or breathing heavily, they are at higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant. In order to ensure participation in sports activities remains as safe as possible this fall, the Health Unit is calling on all leagues, sports camp operators and sports event organizers to adhere to enhanced public health guidance.
The current Environment Canada forecast for London and Middlesex County calls for a high of 31º Celsius tomorrow, with Humidex values of 42. These expected conditions have prompted the Middlesex-London Health Unit to extend the Heat Warning that is currently in effect into Friday morning, as conditions will remain hot and humid overnight Thursday with temperatures not dropping below 20º Celsius. The Heat Warning is expected to end Friday, as the forecast calls for a daytime high of 27º Celsius with some showers expected.
Although the weather today has been hot and muggy, it wasn’t enough to trigger specific advice from the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU). After a one-day pause, the current Environment Canada forecast calls for the mercury to climb back up to a high of 31º Celsius tomorrow and Wednesday with Humidex values of 39, surpassing the MLHU’s threshold for issuing a two-day Heat Warning for the next two days. The Heat Warning will remain in effect overnight Wednesday, into Thursday morning, as humidity and temperatures persist over the next two days.
This weekend, already expected to be hot, is pushing the thermometer even higher, prompting the Middlesex-London Health Unit to extend today’s Heat Alert into tomorrow, Sunday, August 22. The latest Environment Canada forecast now calls for tomorrow’s daytime high to reach 31º Celsius and for tonight’s temperature to dip below 20º Celsius, meeting the Health Unit’s threshold for another one-day heat alert.
One month ago, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported just three new COVID-19 cases in the region; one week ago, that number stood at 17. Today, the Health Unit is reporting 38 COVID-19 cases, bringing the number of active cases currently in London and Middlesex County to 152. With the indicators the Health Unit reports daily on its COVID-19 dashboard showing significant increases, and the declaration of outbreaks at two downtown London bars and night clubs in the last week, the threat of the Delta variant is clear.