Three new outbreaks, 8 additional cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region

The Region of Waterloo is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19, and three new outbreaks in the community.

Public Health added 13 cases to the region’s total on Saturday. Eight of those cases are considered new, while the remaining five are part of a revision to the previous tally.

The total number of positive cases in Waterloo Region is now 1,571, with 1,357 cases considered resolved and no new deaths.

REGIONAL OUTBREAKS

Public Health is also reporting three new outbreaks.

One is at the YWCA St. Paul Childcare Centre on Birchcliff Ave. in Kitchener. Public Health has confirmed to CTV News that there is one case reported in a child. The centre remains open, but the region says other students in the cohort are currently isolating at home.

Another outbreak has been declared at Lanark Heights Long-Term Care Home in Kitchener, after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The operator of the home says they are both asymptomatic cases and the employees “have been off work and will continue to be off work for the next 14 days.”

Lanark says essential visitors will still be allowed in the home, as long as they comply with screening measures.

The region's COVID-19 dashboard also shows a new outbreak at a “congregate setting.” According to the province, this refers to a shared space which could include shelters, group homes and correctional facilities.

The latest update brings the total number of local outbreaks to six.

On Friday, the region announced an outbreak at a gym after three people tested positive for COVID-19. CTV News has confirmed that it was the F45 Waterloo location on Glasgow Street.

The University at Village Gates, a long-term care home in Waterloo, has been listed on the region’s dashboard since Sept. 5 after a staff member had a positive COVID-19 test.

An active outbreak has also declared at second unnamed “congregate setting.” According to the region, there are a total of two active cases between these two locations and both involve staff members.

In addition to these locations, Goodlife Fitness has confirmed to CTV News that two of its members have contracted COVID-19. Both were members at its Williamsburg location. This latest announcement was not included in the region’s daily update.

NEW SOCIAL GATHERING RULES

The number of COVID-19 cases continue to climb, with 407 infections reported across the province on Saturday.

That’s the highest total since the beginning of June.

Premier Doug Ford calls the latest results “alarming.”

“Folks, the alarm bells are ringing,” he said at Saturday’s news conference. “Too much of it is being tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s okay to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”

In response, the province is imposing new restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

Social gatherings are now limited to 10 people in an indoor setting, or 25 people outdoors.

The new rules only apply to private gatherings, and don’t include movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, places of worship and gyms.

Saturday’s announcement comes just days after similar rules were put in place for Ontario’s worst COVID-19 hotspots, and after top doctors in Waterloo Region and the Guelph-area urged the province to take more action.

Anyone who breaks the social gathering rules could face a fine. The province says organizers may have to pay $10,000, while attendees would be fined $750.

“With more and more people returning to work, children returning to schools, and students going back to college or university, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spread,” said Health Minister Christine Elliot at the press conference.

But not everyone is happy with the premier’s announcement.

The NDP Deputy Leader put out a statement today criticizing the plan, saying it’s a sign of poor planning. They would also like to see lower limits not just in social gatherings, but in school classrooms too.

The new rules will remain in effect for the next four weeks.