Region of Waterloo Public Health officials reported 154 more COVID-19 infections on Tuesday as the province enacted a slew of new restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

Effective immediately, the province has declared another state of emergency. It has also issued a stay-at-home order, which will go into effect in a couple of days.

"Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work," a news release on the Ontario government's website said.

The government is providing all enforcement and provincial offence officers the power to issue tickets to those who don't comply with the stay-at-home order.

Waterloo Region's latest update brings the total number of local cases to 7,657, a number that includes 6,412 resolved cases and 179 deaths.

That leaves 1,064 active cases in the region. Twenty-eight of those people are in hospital with the disease, including 14 people who are in the ICU.

The region also reported that its testing partners had done another 9,237 tests since Friday, which works out to about 2,309 tests per day.

The positivity rate dropped from 8.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent on Tuesday. The reproduction estimate—or the number of new cases caused by each active case in the region—dropped slightly from 1.4 to 1.2

Alongside the new number updates, public health officials also reported four new active outbreaks.

These are the places where they were declared:

  • St. Jacobs Place RH: one case in staff
  • Shamrock Independent Living Centre: one case in staff
  • Trades and related service 7: two cases
  • Retail 4: two cases

ONTARIO GOVERNMENT ENACTS NEW MEASURES TO SLOW SPREAD

On Tuesday morning, health officials warned that the spread of a new, more-transmissable COVID-19 variant could see Ontario's caseload increase drastically.

"The trends in key public health indicators are continuing to deteriorate, and further action is urgently required to save lives," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a news release.

"By strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures, we can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones and our communities safe. It will take the collective efforts of us all to defeat this virus."

That same afternoon, Premier Doug Ford declared a second state of emergency and announced that a stay-at-home order would come into effect on Thursday.

The province also further restricted outdoor gatherings to a maximum of five people, down from 10. It also announced limited hours for non-essential businesses.

Today, I issued a Stay-at-Home Order for Ontario, effective Thursday January 14 at 12:01 a.m.

Under this order, everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips, to pick up groceries or go to medical appointments.

Learn more: https://t.co/P3rChGjuU1 pic.twitter.com/49FELTh9KW

— Doug Ford (@fordnation) January 12, 2021