KITCHENER -- There were another 20 COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo Region on Friday as the province moved into Step 3 of reopening.

Step 3 represents a further loosening of restrictions, including larger indoor and outdoor gatherings, allowing indoor dining and fitness, and reopening movies and arts buildings.

Friday's update brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region to 18,124 to date, including 17,620 recoveries and 280 deaths. Active cases fell by 26 on Friday, for a current total of 216.

There are 13 active outbreaks in the region.

To date, regional partners have performed 532,611 COVID-19 tests. The region's positivity rate dropped slightly from 4.0 per cent Tuesday to 3.2 per cent Friday.

The reproductive rate remains unchanged at 0.8.

There are 26 people in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19-related illness. Of those, 14 are in the ICU.

VARIANTS OF CONCERN

Another 76 cases screened positive for a variant of concern in the region on Friday, for a total of 4,394 so far. All those cases were confirmed as the Delta variant, which health officials say continues to spread in the area.

Waterloo Region's variant breakdown is as follows:

  • 3,121 are the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and originally known as B.1.1.7
  • 15 are the Beta variant, originally detected in South Africa and previously referred to as B.1.315
  • 62 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
  • 897 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previously called B.1.617
  • 299 cases have had a mutation detected, but have not yet had a variant strain confirmed

VACCINATIONS

There were another 7,423 COVID-19 vaccines administered in Waterloo Region on Thursday. That brings the total number of doses to 690,636.

The region's vaccination dashboard now shows metrics for everyone aged 12 and older, when previously it highlighted vaccination rates for adults aged 18 and up. The dashboard shows 80.13 per cent of that population has received at least one dose, and 56.07 per cent is now fully vaccinated.

PROVINCIAL SNAPSHOT

There were another 159 COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario on Friday.

That brings the total number of cases in the province to 547,864 to date, including 537,176 recoveries and 9,285 deaths.

The rolling seven-day average is now at 151 and the provincial positivity rate sits at 0.6 per cent.

With files from CTV Toronto