First seniors in long-term care homes receive vaccine, region reports 154 new cases

The first people living in long-term care homes in Waterloo region were scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the number of new cases reported in Waterloo region was 154.

1,064 active cases in region, 28 people in hospital and 14 people in ICU

Waterloo region saw 154 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Tuesday. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

The first people living in three long-term care homes in Waterloo region were scheduled to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

The vaccinations are part of a new mobile clinic set up by public health. The region said the cold storage restrictions on the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine were lifted last week, which means vaccines can be administered in locations outside of Grand River Hospital.

Shirley Hilton, deputy chief for the Waterloo Regional Police Service and head of the region's immunization distribution task force, called it a "vital step" in reaching more people. 

Hilton has also called on the province to provide the region with more vaccine, noting the capacity to vaccinate people at the local level has tripled over the past two weeks.

As of 5 p.m. on Sunday, 6,823 people had been vaccinated in Waterloo region.

154 new cases

Public health reported 154 new cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region on Tuesday. There were no new deaths linked to the virus.

That brings the total number of cases in January to 1,758 and since last March to 7,657.

There are 1,064 active cases in the region with 28 people in hospital with 14 people in the intensive care unit.

The province reported 2,903 cases of COVID-19 and 41 more deaths of people with the illness on Tuesday.

The Ontario government also announced a provincial stay-at-home order and new restrictions as new COVID-19 modelling revealed Tuesday shows the health-care system is on the verge of being overwhelmed.

39 active outbreaks

There are 39 active outbreaks in Waterloo region, 17 of which are at long-term care or retirement homes.

The other outbreaks are:

  • Six in congregate settings: One with 19 cases, one with 13 cases, one with eight cases and three with a single case at each.
  • Six at manufacturing workplaces: One with 16 cases, one with seven cases, one with six cases, one with three cases and two with two cases each.
  • Three at food and beverage services workplaces with four cases at one and two cases at the other two.
  • One at a farm with four cases.
  • One at Waterloo Regional Police Services with three cases.
  • One at a retail workplace with two cases.
  • One at a trades workplace with two cases.
  • One at Shamrock Independent Living Centre in Kitchener with one case involving a person who works there.
  • One at Grand River Hospital in the mental health unit.

Outbreak at food processor

There is an outbreak at a food processing workplace with 85 cases.

The region has not named the processor and has said it won't unless there's a risk to the general public. But it has called the workplace "food processing 1" on its reporting dashboard. Regional staff have confirmed that means the workplace is the same as the first food processor in the region to experience an outbreak, which was Conestoga Meats in April.

Conestoga Meats has declined to comment and directed all questions to Region of Waterloo Public Health.

In an emailed statement, the region's medical officer of health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, said there are "significant social and household connections" between employees at the workplace.

At least 33 of the cases were believed to be community-acquired, for example through social interactions and household contact among workers outside the workplace, while 49 cases may have been acquired at the workplace or at an unknown location.

The majority of the 85 cases are now resolved, Wang said.

"We are working closely with the workplace, which has strong workplace infection and prevention control measures in place. The workplace has also made significant efforts to help decrease spread amongst employees outside of the workplace," Wang said.

"Enhanced testing is taking place to monitor the effectiveness of measures in the workplace setting. Public health will continue to provide close support to the workplace."


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