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Health officials in Waterloo Region reported 28 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as active cases continue to rise for the second day in a row.

Of the 28 new cases, 25 are linked to Thursday while three are from a previous reporting period. The latest cases bring Waterloo Region's total case load to 18,368, including 282 deaths and 17,943 resolved infections.

Active cases jumped by 14 in the past 24 hours, up to 133.

Hospitalizations also rose by two in Friday's update, now sitting at 15. Of those, 11 people are receiving treatment in area intensive care units.

There are currently six active COVID-19 outbreaks across the region.

Health partners have processed 541,773 COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began. As of Friday, the region's positivity rate sits at 1.9 per cent, with the reproductive rate of the virus is up to 0.9.

Another 63 infections were confirmed as variant of concern cases in Waterloo Region, all of which were linked to the Delta variant. Since the pandemic began, 4,746 cases have been confirmed as variants of concern.

The region's variant breakdown is as follows:

  • 3,122 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
  • 96 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
  • 1,250 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previously called B.1.617
  • 257 cases have had a mutation detected, but have not yet had a variant strain confirmed

Meanwhile, health partners in Waterloo Region put 4,586 COVID-19 vaccine jabs into arms on Thursday, bringing the total number of doses administered to 758,343.

More than 69 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, while 82.85 per cent of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose.

Waterloo Region public health will not be updating its COVID-19 dashboard on Monday because of the holiday.

Province-wide, heath officials confirmed 226 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking the fifth day in a row of rising infection numbers.

Ontario's lab-confirmed COVID-19 case total is now 550,178, including 539,348 recoveries and 9,339 deaths related to the disease.

With files from CTV Toronto.