WATERLOO -- COVID-19 hospitalizations in Waterloo Region soared in the past 24 hours as health officials report another 51 positive cases.

The number of people receiving treatment for COVID-19 in area hospitals jumped by 14 Tuesday, with 52 people now hospitalized. Of those, 22 are in intensive care units.

Health officials confirm that the people being treated in hospitals are local patients and not transfers.

Among the new cases reported Tuesday, 39 are from the past 24 hours, while 13 are linked to previous dates.

Active cases in Waterloo Region also continue to rise, now at 484. Active outbreaks also jumped by two, now sitting at seven outbreaks.

Waterloo Region has logged 16,715 confirmed COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, including 15,961 resolved cases and 258 deaths.

Two more cases were confirmed as variants of concern Tuesday, bringing the total number of variant cases to 3,465.

The region's variant breakdown is as follows:

  • 3,052 are the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and originally known as B.1.1.7
  • 11 are Beta variant, originally detected in South Africa and previously referred as B.1.315
  • 60 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
  • 36 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previous called B.1.617

Health partners completed another 3,870 COVID-19 tests since Friday, bringing the total number of completed tests to 505,821.

Waterloo Region's positivity rate spiked from 5.7 per cent on Friday to 8.0 per cent as of Tuesday.

By comparison, Ontario's positivity rate sits at 2.3 per cent.

The reproductive rate of the virus also climbed in the past five days, growing from 1.2 on Friday to 1.3 on Tuesday.

Across the region, another 7,096 COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Monday. More than 419,770 doses have been given out in Waterloo Region.

More than 72.3 per cent of adults in the region have received at least one vaccine dose, while more than 12.1 per cent of residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

Province-wide, fewer than 300 COVID-19 cases were reported for the first time since September.

Health officials logged 296 new infections and 13 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Ontario's seven-day rolling average now stands at 478, down from 703 at this point last week.

The province has confirmed 540,426 cases since the pandemic began, including deaths and recoveries.


The region's medical officer of health, Dr. Hsui-Li Wang, said the Delta variant is spreading in the region and could quickly replace the Alpha variant as the dominant strain.

She said the spike in cases and hospitalizations are concerning for public health, adding the only way out is full vaccination and following public health guidelines.

The Delta variant is hard to track, according to health officials, because it takes weeks to confirm cases.

"If you leave room for this Delta variant, you definitely see an increase in the number of cases, and with the increase in number of cases you see an increase in hospitalizations," said Dr. Zahid Butt, and epidemiologist for the University of Waterloo. "If you are looking at new variants, then your target should be fully vaccinating the entire population, which means you need to put in the second dose as soon as possible."

Both health and government officials continue to heavily encourage getting vaccinated and following guidelines, particularly when it comes to gathering indoors.

"You still have to be careful, you still have to follow public health guidelines," said Dr. Butt. "If you don't follow public health guidelines and your community is not vaccinated to a certain level, then you can see there is spread of these variants in the community."

With files from CTV Toronto.