MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting 27 new COVID-19 cases Monday and one new death, as a rising number of variant cases begins to raise concerns.

The death, a woman in her 70s not associated with a long-term care or retirement home, is the first reported since March 3 and only the second since Feb. 13.

The total number of cases in the region now stands at 6,310, with 5,978 resolved and 185 deaths, leaving 147 active cases.

Middlesex-London has seen daily case numbers yo-yo since the beginning of the month, climbing as high as 29 cases and dropping as low as nine cases.

The increase in the number of cases that have been identified as 'variants of concern,' has been steady however.

Variant case in schools have been reported at Saunders Secondary School and Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School, and there are ongoing outbreaks at  three schools and six seniors' facilities.

Meanwhile vaccination clinics in Oxford and Elgin counties are set to open next week, with appointments available for booking on Tuesday.

Here are the most recently available numbers from other local public health authorities, no new deaths were reported:

  • Elgin-Oxford – eight new, 61 active, 2,577 total, 2,449 resolved, 67 deaths
  • Sarnia-Lambton – 19 new, 155 active, 2,254 total, 2,053 resolved, 46 deaths
  • Haldimand-Norfolk – one new, 37 active, 1,464 total, 1,383 resolved, 39 deaths
  • Grey-Bruce – one new, 11 active, 713 total, 700 resolved, two deaths
  • Huron-Perth – 11 new, 24 active, 1,364 total, 1,290 resolved, 50 deaths

Ontario is reporting more than 1,600 new cases, but provincial officials say a "data catch-up process" is behind the spike.