A Healthcare worker pauses during a lull in visitors at a COVID-19 testing centre in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region dropped on Monday as officials reported 164 new infections and 196 more resolved cases.

The region's online COVID-19 dashboard shows there are now 1,048 active cases in the region, 39 fewer than the number reported the day before. It's the first time in 2021 that resolved cases outnumbered new ones.

Of the active cases, 27 people are in hospital, including 13 who are in the ICU. Each of those numbers rose by four on Monday.

There have been 7,503 lab-confirmed cases in the region since the pandemic began, including 6,268 resolved cases.

Public health officials also reported Monday that four more people had died from the disease, pushing the region's total number of deaths to 179. Forty-five people have died of COVID-19 since Dec. 11.

STATE OF THE REGION’S OUTBREAKS

As of Monday’s update, there are still 35 active outbreaks in the region.

The following four were declared:

  • Congregate setting 19 and 20: one case each
  • Chartwell Elmira Retirement Residence: three cases in residents
  • Chartwell Clair Hills RH: one case in staff

Four outbreaks were also declared over:

  • Chartwell Westmount Retirement Home
  • PeopleCare A.R. Goudie LTC (Eastway Walk)
  • Sports and fitness (hockey-related)
  • Retail 3

An outbreak at a food processing business grew on Monday to 82 total cases, though the region notes that most of those cases were likely from community spread. Health officials said 67 of the cases associated with the outbreak are now resolved. Thirty-three cases were acquired in the community and 49 of the 82 cases to-date have "an acquisition source that could have been the workplace or is unknown."

CTV News Kitchener has confirmed the outbreak is at Conestoga Meats, the second outbreak at the facility. In the spring, the plant had 91 cases.

Cambridge Country Manor long-term care home's caseload stayed steady with 60 cases in residents and 68 in staff. Sixteen people there have died from COVID-19.

At Village of Winston Park retirement home, one more person has died. There have been 25 cases in residents there and 28 staff members have also tested positive.

ONTARIO CONSIDERING STRICTER MEASURES

The region's latest COVID-19 update came as the provinces considers enacting stricter measures to combat surging case numbers.

The government is expected to release new COVID-19 modelling on Tuesday, which Ford said Friday would make people "fall off their chair."

"This is the most serious situation we’ve ever been in since the beginning of the pandemic," Ford said at the time. "This is getting out of control and we have to do whatever it takes."

Ontario as a whole reported 3,338 new infections on Monday. Twenty-nine people with COVID-19 also died, pushing the province's death toll over 5,000.