Waterloo Region confirms first cases of COVID-19 variant first identified in India
WATERLOO -- Health officials in Waterloo Region added 32 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday as the health unit logged its first confirmed cases of the B.1.617 variant first detected in India.
The Region of Waterloo Public Health's COVID-19 dashboard shows 15,741 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 15,088 are considered resolved.
Public health officials have now begun reporting the number of B.1.617 cases, the variant first detected in India. Four cases have been confirmed as that variant.
Three of the B.1.617 cases were related to travel, medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said at the region's board of health meeting on Wednesday.
It's unknown how the fourth case was contracted.
Dr. Wang said contact tracing was completed for all four cases.
The B.1.617 variants reported Wednesday are previous cases now considered resolved, with the latest update reflecting a change in reporting, not an increase in cases.
In total, 3,084 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed as a variant of concern, with 2,729 confirmed as the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
Another five have been confirmed as the B.1.351 variant, first detected in South Africa, and 26 cases as the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil.
The number of active cases dropped by 49 in the past day, down to 381.
In Waterloo Region, 256 people have died of the disease.
Hospitalizations also continue to decline in the region, down to 28 people, with 23 of those receiving treatment in intensive care units.
There are seven active outbreaks in the area.
Dr. Wang said Waterloo Region is beginning to see cases of COVID-19 decline, with the weekly incidence rate down to 57 cases per 100,000. The provincial case rate is 69 cases per 100,000.
"There is a lot to feel hopeful for, so we need to stay the course. We know things can change quickly if we relax measures too soon," Dr. Wang said. "As a reminder, with anyone outside of your household we need to practice physical distancing and wear a face covering."
Fewer than 1,100 COVID-19 cases were reported across in Ontario for the second straight day. The province added 1,095 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, with 23 more deaths.
Ontario has logged 8,678 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
The province's positivity rate dipped slightly from 6.2 per cent on Tuesday to 5.3 per cent on Wednesday.
Ontario's seven-day average now stands at 1,622, down from 2,183 at this point last week.
With files from CTV Kitchener's Leighanne Evans and CTV Toronto.