Health officials remain concerned about transmission
COVID-19 cases have declined in the region for the first time since the province declared a state of emergency, but transmission of the virus is still widespread throughout the region.
“We are starting to see new cases slow and move in the right direction. But our situation remains serious,” medical officer of health Dr. Hsui-Li Wang said Friday during the region’s weekly briefing.
Today’s active case total of 866 is down notably from the 1,092 a week earlier. As well, the incidence rate has also decreased and now stands 127 per 100,000 compared to 160 per 100,000 last week. Percent positivity has dropped to 5.5. per cent from 7.3 over the past week.
Lagging indicators such as deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions are still in line with what was expected. Since the start of the pandemic, 185 individuals in the region have lost their fight with the virus. Today, 39 individuals are in the hospital, 13 of them in intensive care.
The number of outbreaks remains high at 43 active locations in the region, 20 of which are in long-term care and retirement homes, including Chartwell Elmira, where 42 residents and 18 staff members have tested positive.
Regional Chair Karen Redman returned to host this week’s COVID-19 regional update following her self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
“As you’re probably aware, I have been isolating and recovering after testing positive for COVID-19. My husband and I had a very personal reaction wondering if we had inadvertently put anybody else’s health in jeopardy. Happily for us we did not,” said Redman, who provided an update on enforcement efforts.
In the past week, 12 enforcement actions were undertaken in the region relating to the stay-at-home order and regional face-covering bylaw. GRT security issued one $240 ticket for failure to a wear face-covering. City of Kitchener bylaw issued two tickets at the same private residence for hosting a gathering, with both tenants charged, a fine of $880 apiece. City of Waterloo bylaw issued three tickets at three separate private residences for gatherings, again with fines of $880 per ticket. City of Cambridge bylaw issued five such tickets, four issued to separate private residence gatherings.
“We are starting to see some of our trends improve, but there is still much to be done. We are not on the other side of the second wave yet – our continued improvement depends on the actions of everyone in our community,” she said.
“The measures are not easy, and I appreciate this is a period of significant strain and challenge for many, but Waterloo Region is a caring and resilient community, and I encourage us to support one another, stay connected while apart. I also encourage us to look for opportunities to support our mental health by staying active. Many of our municipal partners are offering recreational programming that can be done at home or safely outside. And if you are struggling, local support is available for you. I am grateful to our community for our continued efforts. And we are starting to see how our every-day actions can make a difference. By working together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”