LONDON, ONT. -- Even though there has been a recent downward trend in area COVID-19 cases, London hospitals may not feel it for weeks to come.

On Monday, there was a record number of COVID-19 patients at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

“As of noon we had 86 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds or medical beds,” says LHSC's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Dukelow, “86 total and 39 in critical care.”

Dukelow says 53 of the patients are from London-Middlesex or within our region and 33 have been transferred in from out of the area.

He adds, “This is a highest number of COVID-19 positive cases we have ever cared for.”

Dukelow says 30 of the patients are having difficulty breathing and are on ventilators.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) recorded another death involving someone in their 60s on Monday.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie says it’s concerning for that specific age group.

“That means four of the last seven deaths in our community have been people in their 60s, so it’s another reminder of how important it is for everyone in the age group over age 60 to get vaccinated.”

Dukelow says this deep into the pandemic, hospital staff are tired and stressed, but they remain determined to get through this latest round.

“They feel that sense of we got this,” he says.

“We will continue to fight, we will continue to work together both within our hospital and with our partners to get through the next coming weeks which we know are going to be the most challenging of the pandemic for the acute-care system in London, Ont. and across the province.”