KITCHENER -- Public health officials in Waterloo Region have declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a dental service after three cases were linked to it.

It's the region's first outbreak linked to a dental service since the pandemic began, and marks the 11th active outbreak in the region. Officials did not name the service or say where it was located.

The region's Medical Officer of Health said the dental service has notified anyone considered a low-risk contact, including clients.

The Ontario Dental Association said dentists have a long history of enhanced safety protocols and have adapted to HIV/AIDS, SARS and now COVID-19 to ensure client safety.

"(We're) screening them twice -- while the appointment is being made and also the day of," Dr. David Stevenson said. "That way we're paying really close attention as to who we are treating in the office."

There are also fewer staff members and clients in the office.

The news comes as public health officials reported 20 new cases in the region on Wednesday: the region's online COVID-19 dashboard shows that 11 were reported on Tuesday, with the other nine being added to the totals from previous days.

The numbers sometimes appear out of sync with the region's online epi-curves because the dashboard is updated every day to include cases from 5 p.m. the day before. Cases reported after the time cut-off are then added the following day.

Wednesday's update brings the total number of cases to date to 1,934, up from the 1,914 cases officials had reported a day earlier. The total includes 1,688 resolved cases and 120 deaths, leaving 126 active cases.

Four of those active cases are currently in hospital, the region's website shows.


Officials also declared three new outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes in the region on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases in these facilities to five.

Those are:

  • Stirling Heights LTC: declared on Oct. 13, one case in a resident
  • Doon Village RH: declared on Oct. 13, one case in a resident
  • Fairview Mennonite LTC: declared on Oct. 11, one case in a resident
  • Conestoga Lodge RH: declared on Oct. 5, two cases in staff
  • Pinehaven LTC: declared on Oct. 4, one case in staff

There are also five other active outbreaks in the region. One congregate setting has a total of four cases in residents and two in staff, and two child-care settings have one case each.

The outbreaks at JF Carmichael school and at Wilfrid Laurier University are still active, as well. The outbreak at Ecole Cardinal-Léger, which was declared after two cases were identified, has been declared over.

Across the province there were 721 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Wednesday, largely centred around the hot-spot regions.

Toronto reported 270 new cases, Peel Region reported 170, and there were 79 more in York Region.

There were no new deaths related to the disease reported across the province on Wednesday.


This story has been updated for clarity. A previous version stated that the outbreak was the first in a dental service since the pandemic began; in fact, it was the first outbreak at a dental service in Waterloo Region.