KITCHENER -- Active cases of COVID-19 continue to fall in Waterloo Region, as health officials reported 24 new infections Thursday.

The latest update brings the total number of cases to date to 18,104. That includes 17,575 recoveries and 280 deaths. There are 242 active cases in Waterloo Region.

There are 15 active outbreaks in the region.

HOSPITALIZATIONS STEADY

There are 25 people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in hospital, the region's dashboard shows. Of those, 14 are in the ICU.

Here's a look at the number of actively infectious COVID-19 patients at Waterloo-Wellington hospitals:

  • St. Mary's General Hospital: Nine in acute care, three in ICU
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital: Five in acute care, one in ICU
  • Grand River Hospital: Five in acute care, three in ICU
  • Guelph General Hospital: One in acute care, one in ICU

Local hospital officials said they continue to see "a steady number of cases coming to hospital."

“The number of COVID-positive patients in our hospitals has stabilized but has not yet begun following the downward trend of cases in our region. Typically hospitalization numbers lag up to two weeks behind other indicators," CMH President and CEO Patrick Gaskin said in a news release. “While vaccinations have helped improve the situation in Waterloo Region, those who are unvaccinated will continue to get sick and end up in our hospitals. We must continue to be vigilant in our public health measures until enough people have been fully vaccinated. We’re hopeful that our vaccination uptake will remain high and more people will choose to get their shots.”

VARIANT CASES

A total of 4,318 cases have screened for a variant of concern.

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
  • 821 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

VACCINATION UPDATE

Health partners administered another 6,539 COVID-19 vaccine doses Wednesday. So far, there have been 683,204 shots in arms in Waterloo Region, meaning 81.21 per cent of the 18+ population has received at least one dose and 57.20 per cent are fully vaccinated.

PROVINCIAL SNAPSHOT

Ontario reported 143 new infections Thursday, marking a full week of fewer than 200 new cases.

The rolling seven-day average for new cases now sits at 154. The positivity rate for the province is at 0.5 per cent, the lowest that number has been since last August.

To date, Ontario has reported 547,705 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. There were 10 new deaths reported Thursday, for a total of 9,275.

With files from CTV Toronto