After a relatively stable summer, the state of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region has worsened over the past two months.
The initial wave saw a series of emergency measures put into effect in Ontario, forcing most businesses to close and keeping most people home. Through the summer, restrictions relaxed without much change in numbers.
Near the start of September, cases started to worsen. As of Sept. 1, there had been just 1,455 cases in the region. That number doubled by mid-November.
The most drastic growth of COVID-19 cases in the region, however, has happened over the past two months.
On Nov. 11, there were 2,521 lab-confirmed cases of the disease. Two months later on Jan. 11, that number hit 7,503, nearly tripling in 60 days' time.
In the same stretch, the number of active cases in the region has increased nearly fourfold. On Nov. 11, there were 265 active cases, the region's online COVID-19 dashboard shows; the same day in January, there were 1,048.
The region's death toll has risen by almost 50 per cent since Nov. 11, ballooning from 121 deaths to 179.
Over that two-month span, the number of active outbreaks has fluctuated, but on Nov. 11, CTV Kitchener reported that there were 15. Two months later, there were 35.
Officials said last week that most workplace outbreaks in the region—about 85 per cent—happened in November and December.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said at the time that workplace settings have "become among the most frequent settings experiencing outbreak across Ontario" and that Waterloo Region is no exception.
Across the province, public health officials reported a then-record 1,426 new cases back in November. Now, 3,000 or more new cases per day is the norm.
As the situation worsens in Ontario, government officials have begun ramping up restrictions. They began by instituting a province-wide lockdown that began on Dec. 26, but officials are expected to announce stricter rules on Tuesday.
There have been over 219,000 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario to date. More than 5,000 people have died from the disease since the pandemic began.
Note: Where possible, all historical information was sourced from the Region of Waterloo's online COVID-19 dashboard. Previous reporting may differ slightly from public health numbers because the public health unit sometimes updates its numbers retroactively.