Waterloo Region adds 18 COVID-19 cases Thursday as ICU admissions increase

Health officials in Waterloo Region are reporting 18 more COVID-19 cases on Thursday as intensive care unit admissions rise.

The latest cases – 17 are linked to Wednesday and one is from a previous reporting period – bring the region's total to 18,241, including 17,806 resolved cases and 281 deaths.

Active cases declined by five in the past 24 hours, now down to 144.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions rose in Thursday's report. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is 21, up by two. Five more people are receiving treatment in area intensive care units, up to 17.

Here's how hospitalizations break down between hospitals in Waterloo-Wellington:

  • St. Mary's General Hospital: two in ICU, four in acute care
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital: three in ICU, one in acute care
  • Grand River Hospital: five in ICU, two in acute care
  • Guelph General Hospital: one in acute care

Hospital officials said the numbers show patients who are actively infectious with COVID-19. Other patients remain in hospital receiving treatment, but are no longer COVID-19-positive.

“The number of COVID-positive patients in our hospitals has started to decrease for the first time in recent memory. These numbers had been lagging behind the decrease in cases, which was to be expected. Other indicators, such as the amount of COVID-19 detected in our region’s wastewater, also appear to be trending in the right direction," St. Mary's Hospital president Lee Fairclough said in a news release. “Vaccinations have played a huge role in improving our situation in Waterloo Region. However, we do still see evidence of how transmissible this virus is, including through recent outbreaks in hospitals and other environments. We must continue to be diligent with masking and distancing as we move through Stage 3, until more members of our community are fully vaccinated so we can beat the delta variant and maintain the ground that we’ve gained.”

One more active COVID-19 outbreak was declared in Waterloo Region in the past day. There are now 12 active outbreaks across the region.

Another 13 infections were confirmed as variant of concern cases in Thursday's update. Since the pandemic began, there have been 4,576 lab-confirmed variant cases logged in Waterloo Region.

The region's variant breakdown is as follows:

  • 3,122 are the Alpha variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and originally known as B.1.1.7
  • 21 are the Beta variant, originally detected in South Africa and previously referred to as B.1.315
  • 96 are the Gamma variant, initially discovered in Brazil and labelled as P.1
  • 1,079 are the Delta variant, first found in India and previously called B.1.617
  • 258 cases have had a mutation detected, but have not yet had a variant strain confirmed

The region's vaccine rollout continues, with another 5,475 COVID-19 vaccine jabs into arms on Wednesday.

Health partners have now administered 720,842 doses since the vaccine rollout began.

More than 80.9 per cent of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose, while 61.83 per cent of the eligible population in Waterloo Region is fully vaccinated.

Province-wide, health officials reported 185 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths on Thursday.

Ontario's daily COVID-19 case count has remained below 200 for two weeks straight.

The seven-day average for the number of cases reported is 155. Last Thursday, that number was 154.

With files from CTV Toronto.