Waterloo Region logs 20 new COVID-19 cases on Friday; death of child under 10
Health officials in Waterloo Region reported 20 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and one virus-related death, a child under the age of 10.
The child's COVID-19-related death is Waterloo Region's 294th since the pandemic began. It marks the first death of someone under 10 in Waterloo Region.
“This is a rare but tragic circumstance and a devastating reminder of the serious nature of this virus,” medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said at the region's weekly COVID-19 briefing.
- READ MORE: Health officials report COVID-19-related death of child under 10 in Ontario's Waterloo Region
The region has now confirmed 19,367 COVID-19 cases, including 18,867 resolved infections and 202 active cases.
Since Tuesday, health partners in the region processed another 3,826 COVID-19 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to 582,904.
As of Friday, Waterloo Region's rolling seven-day positivity rate sits at 2.7 per cent. The current reproductive rate of the virus is 1.0.
Regional officials said the area's case rate is approximately 30 cases per 100,000 per week.
“Local trends have remained fairly stable but we are seeing a slowly increasing trend over time in our daily case rates, especially among those who have not been vaccinated," Dr. Wang said.
HOSPITALIZATIONS DIP, OUTBREAK CRITERIA CHANGES
Hospitalizations decreased from eight to six in Friday's update, with intensive care admissions dropping by one, down to five.
There are currently five active COVID-19 outbreaks across Waterloo Region.
At Friday's briefing, the health unit announced it is implementing new criteria to disclose COVID-19 outbreaks at a workplace, facility or event.
The disclosure criteria for workplace, facility and event outbreaks will be lowered to five or more cases in a setting of 10 or more people and there are no significant privacy concerns.
An outbreak will still be declared at two cases with an epi-link, but will only be listed by the category type. The setting can be named when the outbreak reaches five cases and is in a setting with more than 10 people, provided there are no privacy or safety concerns with sharing the name.
The health unit plans to provide weekly updates on the number of resolved cases for outbreaks of 25 cases or more.
“We expect that outbreaks will continue to occur but the size and scope of the outbreaks should be better controlled due to ample availability of vaccine, the ability for workplaces to enact vaccination policies, strong infection prevention and control requirements for workplaces,” Dr. Wang said.
The region's disclosure policy will remain unchanged for outbreaks at long-term care facilities, retirement homes, schools and childcare facilities.
MORE VARIANT OF CONCERN CASES REPORTED
Thirty more infections were confirmed as variant of concern cases on Friday, bumping the cumulative total up to 6,125.
The region's variant breakdown is as follows:
- 3,128 are the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and originally known as B.1.1.7
- 21 are the Beta variant, originally detected in South Africa and previously referred to as B.1.315
- 98 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
- 2,616 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previously called B.1.617
- 262 cases have had a mutation detected, but have not yet had a variant strain confirmed
"Vaccines are changing the pandemic, but the severity of the Delta variant can not be underestimated," Dr. Wang said. "Public health measures are still very important."
Health partners across Waterloo Region have now administered 844,214 COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 1,056 jabs put into arms on Thursday.
More than 81.5 per cent of the region's eligible population is fully vaccinated and 87.75 per cent have received at least one dose.
Among Waterloo Region's entire population, 70.25 per cent are fully vaccinated and 75.56 per cent have received at least one dose.
“The fourth wave has begun in Ontario and we are seeing that the risk for infection and serious outcomes is far greater for those who are not yet fully vaccinated," Dr. Wang said. "The vaccine is the best measure to reduce your risk of severe outcomes but we all must continue to practice public health precautions to reduce the spread."
Ontario's vaccination certification program begins on Wednesday. Individuals will be required to show proof of full immunization to access certain non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, gyms and movie theatres.
"If we don’t put this in place and we don’t use it, we will be in general lockdown," Ian McLean, chief executive of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Conference, said at Friday's COVID-19 briefing.
Province-wide, 795 new COVID-19 cases were reported by health officials on Friday.
Of the new infections, 582 cases involved people who are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. The remaining 213 infections involved people who are fully vaccinated.
Ontario has now confirmed 578,048 COVID-19 cases and 9,637 deaths since the pandemic began.
With files from CTV Toronto.
A previous version of the story incorrectly stated outbreaks would be classified when five or more cases are confirmed. The policy change did not reflect when an outbreak would be declared, but when businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks will be named. The disclosure criteria for workplace, facility and event outbreaks will be lowered to five or more cases in a setting of 10 or more people and there are no significant privacy concerns.