KITCHENER -- On Wednesday morning, Region of Waterloo Public Health officials reported three more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the local death toll to seven.

All three people were in hospital: a man and two women over the age of 70, all of whom had pre-existing conditions.

One of them was William Turnbull, better known as Bill, an 88-year-old resident of Highview Residences, a long-term care home in Kitchener.

His niece, Deb Mattina, says her uncle was relatively healthy until he was infected with the virus.

"We were given the option to come with PPEs, and because my husband and I are both senior citizens as well and I'm particularly in a high risk group, we were unable to attend," she says.

Turnbull had a passion for wildlife and golf. He's remembered as a kind, friendly and social man, giving his employees Christmas dinner and bonuses.

"He was a pioneer in the spring and suspension business in Kitchener and sank his heart and soul into that business, him and his wife both," Mattina says.

The man passed away at the long-term care home on Saturday.

He was the third person to die from the virus in Waterloo Region. Four others have died since.

"I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones who recently passed, as well as to the healthcare workers whose care they were under," Acting Medical Officer Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Public health officials also reported outbreaks at two more long-term care homes on Wednesday.

Lanark Heights was added to the list after one resident was confirmed to have COVID-19.

A staff member at St. Andrew's Terrace has also tested positive. The new outbreaks bring the total in the region to nine.

New provincial guidelines have been implemented: no new visitors, no new admissions, no communal activities and mandatory personal protective equipment for staff.

"Public health is working closely with these homes to support them to implement this guidance," Dr. Wang said Wednesday.

The region is also preparing for more testing to be done locally, just waiting for kits and guidance from the Ministry of Health.