As Ontario set another grim record on Tuesday with the highest amount of COVID-19 patients hospitalized since the pandemic began, Waterloo Region has been seeing a relatively lower rate of patients admitted.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the region sits at 27, with 11 people in the ICU.

These are around the same numbers from one month ago, but they do not take into account suspected COVID-19 cases that also eat up hospital resources.

"We also have 12 that we are continuing to care for who had COVID-19 but are no longer infectious," said Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary's Hospital. "We also have 12 who are suspected for COVID-19.

"In total, about 20 per cent of our occupancy is COVID-19 related."

In the past week, the area has reported over 100 new cases on four different days.

"We've seen a small reduction in the number of COVID-related cases in hospital today than what we saw before the holidays," said Fairclough. "We also know that hospital cases are a lag measure, so we see the rising number of cases, and then we see the hospital cases come later."

Hospital officials in Waterloo Region say they expect the numbers to change quickly as patients from other areas in the province are being sent to them.

"We have been transferring other patients from other area hospitals when needed," said Fairclough. "For example, we did have someone come to us from Brampton today.

"I can just imagine over the course of the next month it's going to go up. When you look at the models and the trajectories for what we're going to expect in hospitals in neighbouring regions, I think we're going to need to help each other."

In Ontario, there are 1,347 patients in hospital with COVID-19 and 352 being treated in the ICU.

On Tuesday, Windsor Regional Hospital announced that, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in that community, they are transferring 20 patients to hospitals in Chatam and Sarnia.

Fairclough adds that Waterloo Region is in a position to accept more patients, and that at some point the area may be on the other end and have to send patients to neighbouring communities as well.