A nurse uses a swab to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Waterloo Region passed a grim milestone on Friday as the total number of COVID-19 cases rose by 147, pushing the total past the 7,000 mark.

With 7,003 total cases, the caseload in the region has more than doubled since Nov. 27, when there had been just 3,469 cases.

The new total includes 5,882 resolved cases. It also includes 174 deaths, a number that rose again on Friday as two more people died from COVID-19.

When accounting for the resolved and deceased cases, there are 942 active cases in the region. That number set yet another new record on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 888 that was set the day before.

Of those, 23 people are in hospital, including 11 who are being cared for in the ICU.

NUMBERS HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

During a media briefing on Friday morning, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said that more people in the region are getting COVID-19 than ever.

“Our incidence rate is at its highest to date. It is now at approximately 160 cases per 100,000 (people) per week,” she said.

It’s a drastic increase from the incidence rate at the end of December, which she said on Friday was about 92 cases per 100,000 per week.

The region’s online COVID-19 dashboard shows that the positivity rate had risen above eight per cent when accounting for interim data. Without that data, the region had a seven-day moving average rate of 4.9 per cent.

The region’s reproduction estimate—or the number of new COVID-19 cases per active case in the susceptible population—rose to 1.4.

“These indicators show that we are experiencing an acceleration of COVID-19 in our community following the holiday season,” Dr. Wang said during the briefing.

The region’s dashboard showed that 2,467 new tests had been done since Tuesday, which was the last day that testing numbers had been updated. To date, 284,740 tests have been done in Waterloo Region.

There are currently 36 active outbreaks in the region, an issue that Dr. Wang said has been contributing to the rising case numbers.

“In the second wave, workplace settings have become among the most frequent settings experiencing outbreak across Ontario and it is the same in Waterloo Region,” she said.

ONTARIO SMASHES RECORD CASE NUMBERS

The province as a whole reported a record-breaking 4,249 novel coronavirus infections on Friday, citing a backlog of about 450 cases. Public health officials across Ontario also confirmed 26 more deaths related to the disease.

Even without the 450 cases from previous days, Friday's total of 3,799 cases would still have beaten the previous daily record of 3,519. That record was set on Thursday.

Premier Doug Ford warned during a media conference on Friday that "more extreme measures" were needed as the COVID-19 situation worsened around the province.

He didn't say which additional public health restrictions the provincial government is considering, but has said previously that a curfew, similar to the one imposed in Quebec earlier this week, is an option.