MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting 55 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, as vaccine eligibility expanded.

The new cases mark an increase from Monday's count of 27, but the total remains significantly lower than Sunday's 102 cases.

The region now has a total of 11,264 cases and 210 deaths, with 10,245 cases resolved leaving 809 active.

There are 2,177 cases with a variant of concern -- largely the B.1.1.7 variant that originated in the U.K. However, the number of cases of the P.1 variant from Brazil has risen to 20.

During a virtual media briefing Monday, MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said there has been community spread of the P.1 variant.

"We can say with some certainty there has been spread here…this is not a situation where we have a lot of travel-associated cases, most of those cases were acquired locally. So, you know, like other COVID viruses no doubt that this is circulating in our community right now."

For the week ending May 2, the most recent information available, Middlesex-London had a weekly percent positivity rate of 6.8 per cent, compared to 8.5 per cent for the province for the same period.

To date, more than 200,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Middlesex-London, while 216,000 vaccine doses have been administered through vaccination clinics, pharmacies and doctors' offices.

On Tuesday morning, additional essential workers and those with at-risk health conditions became eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccinations in London and surrounding regions.

However, the province also announced Tuesday afternoon that it would stop administering first doses of AstraZeneca due to an increase in risks of rare blood clots. It's unclear what that means for pharmacies administering it, though in some hot spots they have begun providing the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna shots.

At the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), there are 76 inpatients with COVID-19 – a drop of 13 in the last 24 hours. Of those, 41 are in intensive care while out-of-region cases account for nine patients in acute care and 24 in the ICU.

Meanwhile one person has died in connection with an outbreak at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital involving 11 resident and five staff cases.

Here are the most recently available numbers from other local public health authorities:

  • Elgin-Oxford – five new, 133 active, 3,572 total, 3,362 resolved, 77 deaths, 596 variants
  • Grey-Bruce – eight new, 40 active, 1,251 total, 1,205 resolved, six deaths, 308 variants
  • Haldimand-Norfolk – two new, 198 active, 2,473 total, 2,229 resolved, 41 deaths
  • Huron-Perth – two new, 68 active, 1,656 total, 1,535 resolved, 53 deaths, 157 variants
  • Sarnia-Lambton – three new, 73 active, 3,336 total, 3,207 resolved, 56 deaths, 461 variants

Ontario health officials reported 2,073 new infections Tuesday, the lowest daily case count since late March.