Kitchener-Waterloo

Delta variant is area's 'greatest adversary' as Waterloo region logs 60 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Waterloo region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-​Li Wang on Wednesday called on residents to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, as 60 new cases and three deaths linked to the virus were reported.

‘It is the most transmissible and aggressive variant we have experienced,’ Dr. Hsiu-​Li Wang says

Starting July 1, first-dose walk-ins are welcome anytime, anywhere, Region of Waterloo Public Health announced Wednesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Health officials in Waterloo region called on residents to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and the Delta variant, as 60 new cases and three deaths linked to the virus were reported on Wednesday.

Speaking during a news conference Dr. Hsiu-​Li Wang, the region's medical officer of health, compared the Delta variant to an enemy, the likes of which people in Waterloo region have never seen before. 

"The Delta variant is the greatest adversary our community has faced during this pandemic. It is the most transmissible and aggressive variant we have experienced," Wang said.

"Without public health measures and vaccination to control spread, on average Delta goes from one person to six, to 36, to 216, to 1,296 very quickly. This is how aggressive Delta is."

Speaking during a news conference, Waterloo region's medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-​Li Wang compared the Delta variant to an enemy, the likes of which people have never seen before. (CBC)

Noting that, "It will take some time for the spread to slow," Wang said the Delta variant is prevalent throughout the region and is not limited to one demographic. 

"We are also seeing rising infection rates in the younger age groups, including those under 20," she said.

"Over the last month, close contact transmission has been the most frequent type of transmission, accounting for more than half of all cases locally. This means the variant is spreading through close contact with friends, co-workers, family, neighbours."

She said, "The next couple of weeks are critical," and "we need to stay the course with our plan."

3 deaths, 60 new cases of COVID-19

Sixty new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths linked to the virus were reported on Wednesday.

According to data provided by Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, there are 416 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, 41 less than the previous day's total of 457.

The new deaths take the total for Waterloo region over the course of the pandemic to 265.

There have been 17,584 cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region over the course of the pandemic. Of this number, 16,885 have been marked as resolved.

55 people hospitalized with COVID-19

As of Wednesday, there were 55 people hospitalized with COVID-19, down by one from the previous day. 

There are 24 patients in the region's intensive care units, also down by one.

Wang said the vaccine roll out is working, adding that the Delta variant continues to mostly impact those who are unvaccinated.

Shirley Hilton, head of the vaccination taskforce, said the initial vaccine commitment to administer a first dose of vaccine to any resident in Waterloo region who wished to receive one by the end of June, has been met.

"Almost 80 per cent of 18-plus Waterloo region residents have received one dose and more than 30 per cent a second dose," Hilton said during Wednesday's news conference.

Over the last seven days we have averaged over 9,000 doses a day."

Shirley Hilton, head of the vaccination taskforce, says the initial vaccine commitment to administer a first dose of vaccine to any resident in Waterloo region who wished to receive one by the end of June, has been met. (CBC)

1st-dose walk-ins anytime, anywhere 

Meanwhile, starting July 1, first-dose walk-ins are welcome anytime, anywhere, Hilton said.

Youth aged 12-17 need to make sure they are going to a vaccination clinic that is offering the Pfizer vaccine.

Anyone who wants to get a first dose of the vaccine can attend any of the Region's public vaccination clinics that can be found on the Region of Waterloo website.

"Expanding first-dose walk-ins to anytime, anywhere is just one of the steps we are taking to get more vaccines into arms as soon as possible," Hilton said.

"In addition to expanding our capacity at all our vaccination clinics, we are committed to finding new ways to get first and second doses to everyone in our community."

In addition to public vaccination clinics, residents can also get their vaccine at one of 123 pharmacies in the region as well as many family practices.

22 COVID-19 outbreaks

There are 22 COVID-19 outbreaks in the region as follows:

  • Workplace/Facility — 11.
  • Congregate setting —  four.
  • Long term care or retirement home — four.
  • Hospital — two.
  • Independent living — one.

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