KITCHENER -- Officials in Waterloo Region reported 76 more COVID-19 cases on Friday as active cases hit the highest level since the beginning of February.

There are 453 active cases in the region right now, the most since the region reported 462 active cases on Feb. 1.

Officials have reported 12,475 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, including 11,766 resolved ones and 244 deaths.

A total of 686 cases have screened positive for a variant of concern to date, including 39 cases identified as the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the U.K.

There are 22 people in hospital in the region, including four in the ICU. The region also reported 14 active outbreaks.

The region's testing partners have performed 437,316 COVID-19 tests to date.

The seven-day positivity rate rose to 4.6 per cent as of Friday. On Tuesday, the region said it was 3.2 per cent.

The reproductive rate sits at 1.2.

Speaking at the region's COVID-19 update on Friday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said officials are "beginning to see signs of a third wave in Waterloo Region."

The region's weekly incidence rate now sits at 70 cases per 100,000 people. Two week ago, it was at 38 cases per 100,000 people.

Ontario reported 4,227 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the highest increase since Jan. 8.

"The situation in Ontario is dire and we are all at-risk," Dr. Wang said.

The seven-day average for new cases in Ontario rose again to 3,259, up from 2,552 last week.

Ontario's positivity rate sits at 6.3 per cent.

The province has reported 378,339 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, including 341,200 recoveries and 7,512 deaths.