MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting 65 new COVID-19 cases Friday and two deaths, as earlier second-dose bookings open to high-risk health care workers.

The region now has a total of 11,492 cases and 212 deaths, with 10,489 cases resolved leaving 791 active. There are 2,415 cases with a variant of concern – almost all the B.1.1.7 variant.

The two new deaths were a woman in her 80s and a man in his 50s, neither associated with a long-term care or retirement home.

Starting Friday, high-risk health care workers can call 226-289-3560 to re-book their second vaccination dose for earlier than the originally scheduled four-month interval. A list of who is eligible can be found here.

While those now booking appointments at the region's mass vaccination clinics can choose the Earl Nichols Recreation Center, set to open on May 25, health officials say they are looking at opening a fifth location though no details are available yet.

During a virtual media briefing on Thursday, MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie added there will also be other ways to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Pop-up clinics, more mobile team deployment, more targeting to specific neighbourhoods. We're also planning more rollout of vaccine through primary care, family doctors' offices, and of course there will be a lot more going through pharmacies as well."

The health unit will also work with local school boards when youth ages 12-17 become eligible to be vaccinated, which is expected by the end of May.

At the London Health Sciences Centre, there are 58 inpatients with COVID-19, with 28 in intensive care. Out-of-region cases account for eight patients in acute care and 22 in the ICU.

There are four active outbreaks at London-area seniors' facilities and one in a child-care centre.

Southwestern Public Health is dealing with outbreaks at one seniors' facility and at the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.

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

  • Elgin-Oxford – 24 new, 138 active, 3,632 total, 3,416 resolved, 78 deaths, 640 variants
  • Grey-Bruce – four new, 44 active, 1,271 total, 1,221 resolved, six deaths, 325 variants
  • Haldimand-Norfolk – four new, 219 active, 2,520 total, 2,255 resolved, 41 deaths
  • Huron-Perth – six new, 83 active, 1,697 total, 1,559 resolved, 55 deaths, 168 variants
  • Sarnia-Lambton – five new, 89 active, 3,377 total, 3,232 resolved, 56 deaths, 492 variants

Across Ontario, 2,362 new infections were reported Friday as well as 26 deaths, while the positivity rate rose slightly amid a downward trend.