The number of COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region rose by 134 on Tuesday, the fourth time in the past week that the daily case count has increased by over 100.

The region first hit that milestone on Dec. 29 when 124 cases were reported. Since, there have been more than 100 cases per day on three occasions; on Jan. 2, public health officials reported 98 cases.

To date, Waterloo Region has reported 6,480 confirmed cases of the disease, a number that has nearly tripled since the start of November. The region's online COVID-19 dashboard shows that there were 2,184 total cases on Nov. 1.

The region's total case count includes 5,595 resolved cases and 169 deaths, with the latter number rising by two on Tuesday. Accounting for both those numbers, there are 715 active cases in the region, the most there have ever been. Twenty-seven of those cases are currently in hospital, including 11 in the ICU.

Public health officials also reported three new active outbreaks on Tuesday afternoon. One was declared after five cases were linked to a hockey-related sports and fitness setting, while another was declared at a manufacturing and industrial facility with two reported cases. That's the 18th manufacturing facility in the region to have an outbreak declared since the pandemic began.

There was also an outbreak reported at St. Andrew's Terrace long-term care home, where one staff member has tested positive.

Altogether, there were 34 active outbreaks in Waterloo Region on Tuesday, the region's dashboard shows.

Zahid Butt, an associate professor with the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, says there could be a number of reasons for why the COVID-19 numbers have been rising recently, such as pandemic fatigue.

"The virus is spreading in the community, we are testing more so you could be picking up more cases," he said.


Across Ontario, COVID-19 patient hospitalizations reached an all-time high. Meanwhile, the province's first field hospital opened in Burlington, Ont.

There are at least 1,347 patients infected with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals, which is the highest occupancy recorded since the start of the pandemic.

The province reported a total of 3,128 new infections on Tuesday, pushing the provincial total to 197,360. That number includes 166,790 recoveries and 4,730 resolved cases.