LONDON, ONT. -- The holiday season is over, but for local health officials concerns about the deepening COVID-19 crisis are growing.

And the rising case counts are only one factor. New deaths are now being reported daily, including two more Monday, and there is a growing number of admissions to hospital.

Dr. Adam Dukelow, chief medical officer at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), says, “As of today there are 38 inpatients, nine of whom are in critical care. Like our community, the number of cases in our partner hospitals around the region are also growing.”

During Monday’s briefing, Middlesex-London Health Unit Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie praised the work by LHSC staff for ending the University Hospital outbreaks, but also worried about the state of long-term care homes.

“We’re seeing outbreaks in more and more long-term care homes, including a very serious outbreak in Middlesex Terrace where almost half of the residents have been infected there.”

Mackie also says with testing volumes decreasing over the holiday period, while cases continuing to climb, it paints a grim forecast for what to expect in the region in the coming weeks.

“As those testing volumes increase we will see the case counts increase. I’d be very surprised if we don’t hit at least 200 cases per day before this starts to level off. We’re in that climbing phase.”

And with holiday-related cases now starting to be counted those numbers are expected to rise even further.