Flu cases are down, but gastrointestinal illnesses on rise in Waterloo region

The region's medical officer of health says cases of the flu and RSV are down in the community and there remain 'moderate levels of infection' from COVID-19. On the rise, though, are cases of gastrointestinal illnesses, particularly in child care centres and congregate living settings.

Ontario is also seeing declining cases of the flu and COVID-19

Woman stands in aisle at a Shoppers Drug Mart
Waterloo region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says cases of the flu are declining in the community. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Cases of the flu are down in Waterloo region, but the medical officer of health says public health is seeing an uptick in gastrointestinal illnesses in child care centres and congregate living settings.

The increase happens every year, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told regional councillors Wednesday night.

"Our public health inspectors routinely inspect these facilities with respect to infection prevention and control practices and provides guidance to help prevent and control the spread of both enteric and respiratory infections," Wang said.

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been stable since December, Wang said in her update to council. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases "continue to fluctuate up and down. We currently have moderate levels of infection."

She said the region should expect to see new variants of COVID-19 and additional waves of the virus, but "the impact may not be dissimilar to what we've seen in the last several months, that is, moderate waves up and down of COVID-19 infection."

Ontario is also seeing declining cases of the flu and COVID-19, but in a statement, chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore warned people "must remain vigilant" because of easily spreadable variants, such as XBB 1.5.

"I continue to strongly recommend that everyone stays up to date with their vaccinations as it remains our best defence against COVID-19 and its variants, especially for those at increased risk of severe infection and for anyone who has not received a booster or been infected in the past six months," Moore said in his statement.

Jessie Johal, the Region of Waterloo's acting director of the COVID-19 response, said 20 per cent of people eligible have received the fall booster of the COVID-19 vaccine and local uptake of the vaccine is similar to provincial rates.

"After a brief increase post-holiday break, we have seen a decrease in uptake of the vaccine at our two fixed sites as well as our regular mobile clinic sites," Johal said, noting the flu shot is also available at these clinics.


Kate Bueckert


Kate has been covering issues in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: