MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- Eight new COVID-19 cases were reported by the Middlesex-London Health Unit on Monday.

The new cases bring the total in the region to 864, including 713 resolved and 57 deaths (none new since mid-June), leaving 94 active cases.

Of the total cases, the majority – 800 – have been in the City of London, while 198 are associated with long-term care or retirement homes.

There are four ongoing outbreaks in seniors’ facilities in the region, at Meadow Park Care Centre, Peoplecare Oak Crossing, Country Terrace and Ashwood Manor Retirement Home.

There remains only one reported case at a London-area elementary or high school, at H.B. Beal Secondary School, while the number of Western University students testing positive hit 68 as of Sunday.

A total of 17 new cases were reported over the weekend, and over the last two weeks, Middlesex-London has seen five separate days with double-digit case increases.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Dr. Chris Mackie says there is concern as the transmission is circulating through younger populations and there has been a higher number of contacts per case.

The risk going forward is that upcoming family gatherings could spread COVID-19 to older relatives.

“The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is absolutely a recipe for disaster,” Mackie said, and he asks families to “be creative” when it comes to celebrating the holiday.

Meanwhile the city’s two assessment centres have now conducted more than 70,000 COVID-19 tests since they opened.

It is expected that some London pharmacies will soon be able to provide testing for those who qualify and those locations should be unveiled shortly.

Meanwhile the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service has launched a new mobile testing unit for those living outside of the Forest City.

During a media briefing Monday, Middlesex County Warden Cathy Burghardt-Jesson said during a soft launch on Friday 100 swabs were done.

The service officially launches this week and will be in Dorchester on Wednesday, Lucan on Thursday and at the Thorndale Fairgrounds on Friday, open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Next week the bus will be in Strathroy, Komoka and Ilderton.

Here is where the case totals stand in other nearby regions based on the most recent publicly available data:

  • Elgin-Oxford – one new, six active, 265 cases, 254 resolved, five deaths
  • Sarnia-Lambton – none new, three active, 346 cases, 318 resolved, 25 deaths
  • Haldimand-Norfolk – none new, five active, 491 total cases, 449 resolved, 32 deaths
  • Huron-Perth – two new, two active, 129 total, 122 resolved, five deaths
  • Grey-Bruce – none new, six active, 139 total, 133 resolved, no deaths

The province reported its highest daily count of new COVID-19 cases ever, with 700 new infections, pushing the cumulative total over the 50,000 mark.