Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo region has 'started a new wave' of COVID-19, says public health

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region Tuesday morning. There are 142 active cases, eight active outbreaks, but no one is listed as being in hospital.

142 cases listed as active with 8 outbreaks, including 3 in long-term care homes

Signs in Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., remind people to keep a physical distance between themselves and others. Waterloo region reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region Tuesday morning and that is significant, officials say.

That's the highest single day case increase since June 22 when 24 cases were reported.

There are 142 active cases in Waterloo region but no one is listed as being in hospital.

"We have started a new wave of COVID-19 in our community," Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region's acting medical officer of health, said during a media briefing Tuesday.

"I expect that our cases and outbreaks will continue to escalate for at least a few weeks," Wang said. "What happens after that will depend on the actions of all of us starting now."

Wang said increased community transmission is having a "spillover effect" and it's leading to cases in schools, congregate settings and long-term care homes.

The jump in numbers comes as the province reported 478 new cases Tuesday.

8 active outbreaks

A new outbreak has been declared at a long-term care home: there is one case in a person working at Village at Winston Park in Kitchener. As well, the number of cases at Lanark Heights long-term care home has risen to three, with a third staff member testing positive for the virus.

There are eight active outbreaks in the region: three at long-term care homes, two at congregate settings, one outbreak of three cases at a sports and fitness facility, one outbreak of two cases at a food and beverage service and one at a child care. The region does not name businesses with outbreaks.

There are now eight schools in the region with one case of COVID-19. They are:

  • A student at St Anne Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge.
  • A student at Clemens Mill Public School in Cambridge.
  • A student at Preston High School in Cambridge.
  • A staff member at Edna Staebler Public School in Waterloo.
  • A student at Riverside Public School in Elmira.
  • A student Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener.
  • A student at Williamsburg Public School in Kitchener.
  • A student at Huron Heights Secondary School in Kitchener.
  • Two students at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener.
  • A student at Forest Hill Public School in Kitchener.

More than 85,000 tests have been done in Waterloo region.

Wang says the demand for testing is "outstripping current capacity." The testing centres are doing everything they can to test as many people as possible, Wang said. Anyone who has symptoms or who has been told to get tested should go to an assessment centre.

"If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you have not been directed to seek testing, please consider not going to an assessment centre at this time," Wang said, noting this is a "temporary request" and no one will be turned away.

Of the 1,636 cases in the region since March, 1,374, or 84 per cent, are now marked as resolved.

New gathering limits

Wang noted the province's new rules for private, unmonitored social gatherings of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

"We have seen a relaxed approach to public health practices, such as close contact in social settings with others outside of our bubble without the use of physical distancing and face coverings," she said.

She asked people to follow public health guidelines and be mindful of social bubbles, which should include the same 10 people at all times. Anyone with symptoms "no matter how mild" should stay home and reschedule seeing people and other activities.

Wang asked people to "take action now to flatten the curve" and recommit to public health guidelines.

"What we start doing now will determine how big this wave will be," Wang said. "A common finding of our case investigators continues to be that too many people are having close contact with too many other people."

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