Waterloo Region logs 12 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, lowest daily total since October

Health officials in Waterloo Region recorded 12 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, marking the lowest daily increase since late October.

Among the new cases, nine were linked to Monday and the remainder were from previous reporting periods.

Tuesday's update marks the lowest daily total since Oct. 27, when nine cases were reported.

Active cases also dipped in the past day, down by 39 to 318.

The new cases bring Waterloo Region's cumulative caseload to 17,802, including 17,201 resolved infections and 272 deaths.

Some 522,439 COVID-19 tests have been processed since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday, Waterloo Region's positivity rate sits at 5.2 per cent, down from 5.7 per cent on Friday.

The reproductive rate of the virus in the community dropped from 0.9 on Friday to 0.8 on Tuesday.

STEP 2 ANNOUNCEMENT EXPECTED THIS WEEK

Speaking at the Region of Waterloo Board of Health meeting on Tuesday night, medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said the region is seeing positive signs in COVID-19 trends but that the situation remains precarious.

"We are moving in the right direction," she said, adding more information about a potential move to Step 2 will be announced in the coming days.

"The additional two weeks in Step 1 was a strategic decision to protect our community," Dr. Wang said. "I expect to be able to share more on Step 2 later this week."

She added the goal is to move into Step 3 along with the rest of the province.

HOSPITALIZATIONS, OUTBREAKS RISE

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 increased by two in the past 24 hours, up to 48. Of those, 24 are receiving treatment in area intensive care units.

Another three outbreaks were also declared in the past day. There are now 21 active outbreaks in Waterloo Region, with most in workplace or facility settings.

On Monday, Grand River Hospital declared outbreaks on both the Clinical Teaching Unit and in Food and Nutrition Services. Five cases have been linked to the two outbreaks.

The hospital says it is implementing enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols on the units.

"We're still worried where hospitalizations are at," said Lee Fairclough, the hospital lead for Waterloo-Wellington and the president of St. Mary's General Hospital. "We do have outbreaks here at both hospitals and GRH and St. Mary's and seeing outbreaks at retirement homes and congregate settings, so all of that we are watching and managing very carefully."

MORE DELTA CASES CONFIRMED

Health officials confirmed another large batch of cases as variants of concern, bringing the total number of variant cases past the 4,000 mark.

A total of 4,012 cases have now been identified as variants of concern.

In Tuesday's update, 83 more cases were confirmed as variants, with most logged as the Delta variant, with 82.

The region's variant breakdown is as follows:

  • 3,100 are the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and originally known as B.1.1.7
  • 12 are the Beta variant, originally detected in South Africa and previously referred to as B.1.315
  • 61 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
  • 525 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previously called B.1.617
  • 314 cases have had a mutation detected, but have not yet had a variant strain confirmed

VACCINE ROLLOUT CONTINUES

Health partners across Waterloo Region administered another 8,281 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Monday, bringing the total number of jabs put into arms to 598,008.

More than 79.5 per cent of adults have now received at least one dose, while more than 43 per cent of residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

The Region of Waterloo also announced a new Hockey Hub mass vaccination clinic will open at Bingemans on Thursday. The clinic is expected to open up some 20,000 appointments this week alone.

PROVINCE-WIDE SNAPSHOT

Across Ontario, fewer than 200 COVID-19 cases were reported for the second day in a row.

Health officials logged 164 new infections on Tuesday and nine deaths.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 203, compared to 278 a week ago.

With files from CTV Toronto.