Hospitalizations 'high but stable' in Waterloo region as 35 new cases reported Monday

Hospitalizations in Waterloo region remain "high but stable," says Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener, who also serves as hospital lead for the Waterloo-Wellington COVID-19 response. The Ontario region reported 35 new cases on Monday.

Regional official says it's 'becoming even easier for people to get their vaccine'

Waterloo region reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

Hospitalizations in Waterloo region's three hospitals "remain high but stable," says the president of St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener.

Lee Fairclough, also the hospital lead for the Waterloo-Wellington COVID-19 response, said that since Friday, the number of patients with the virus at St. Mary's rose from 18 to 21.

"That's as high as our peak in January, during the midst of the second wave," she said in an emailed statement to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

"We have had a steady flow of COVID-19 patients in recent weeks. Whenever someone gets discharged home or is resolved, often remaining in our care, there are one or two new COVID-positive patients to replace them in hospital."

Officials at Grand River Hospital said the critical care program "is still quite full" and new people were admitted over the long weekend. There were seven COVID-positive patients on Monday in the ICU.

New patients being admitted range in age from 30 to 70 years old. The hospital said new admissions have "remained steady over the past two weeks with new people coming in as others recover and no longer require hospitalization."

On Monday, Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 46 people were in the region's three hospitals, and of those, 24 were in the intensive-care unit.

The province reported 155 people in hospital and there are 228 people in the ICU with the virus or who are recovering from it.

Fairclough added that while overall case rates in Ontario "remain promising," the delta variant continues to spread through the region and is "causing more people to become sick."

"The region's efforts on vaccines are proving effective to get first and second doses administered," she said. "We are hopeful that the protective effects of vaccinations will start to show in the coming weeks and that we'll see cases, followed by hospitalizations, start to come down."

31,000 vaccines over weekend

There were 31,401 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Waterloo region over the weekend. 

The region said 1,200 of those doses were given at a drive-thru clinic at Bingemans on Sunday.

Vickie Murray, operations lead of the region's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, said in a release that vaccine rollout in the region is accelerating and it's "becoming even easier for people to get their vaccine."

Currently, 79 per cent of people 18 and older have received at least one dose. The region says 41.5 per cent of people 18 and over have received both doses.

People who want to get their first dose of the vaccine can walk into any clinic in the region to receive it without an appointment. Appointments are still required for second doses.

This graph from the Region of Waterloo COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force dashboard on July 5 shows the percentage of people per age group who have received the vaccine, with the light blue indicating first dose and the dark blue indicating both doses. (Region of Waterloo)

Regional Chair Karen Redman said on Monday that she's pleased to see people getting the vaccine.

"The more our community continues to work together by rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated and follow public health measures, the closer we are to cautiously moving forward in our recovery and allowing more businesses to safely reopen," Redman said in a release.

The region said it hopes to reach 80 per cent of adults immunized at some point this week.

Hovering 'is a bad thing'

The region reported 35 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

For the past two weeks, new case numbers have fluctuated between 35 and 67, and Dr. Peter Lin, a medical columnist for CBC Radio, says "hovering" shows the virus is still circulating in the community.

"Hovering is a bad thing because the virus is moving around certain crowds, there are pockets where the virus can still move and stay alive and so that pocket is like a little tiny fire in a forest fire that is smoldering that can ignite and become the next wave," he said.

The region reported 357 active cases on Monday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 17,790 cases in the region with 17,149 now marked as resolved. 

No new deaths were reported on Monday.

There were 18 COVID-19 outbreaks in the region as follows:

  • Workplace/Facility: 7.
  • Congregate setting: 2.
  • Long-term care or retirement home: 5.
  • Hospital: 3.
  • Independent living: 1.

No date for Step 2 yet

Waterloo region remains in Step 1 of the province's three-step reopening plan.

On Monday, CBC K-W asked public health whether a date has been set for the region to enter Step 2. An official said the region's medical officer of health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, is expected to address it during a board of health meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening.

When more things are permitted to open up and people are allowed to gather in larger groups, Lin said, people will need to follow the Peter Parker principle from Spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility.

"We have the power to get together, therefore, we need to be responsible about how we do that."

That means if someone is hosting a barbecue, or attending one, everyone needs to make sure it's being done in a safe manner, Lin said.

"If we do it responsibly, then we get to keep that power."

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Peter Lin here:

New guidelines are out from Canada's Public Health Agency on what is safe to do when you've had both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Our medical columnist, Dr. Peter Lin, explains what you should keep in mind this summer, given that not everyone is vaccinated. 9:13


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