Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo region deemed hot spot for delta variant, 63 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 63 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. That is 12 per cent of the total number of cases reported in the province, which saw 509 cases.

Slow drop in cases may suggest delta variant 'more present in our community,' says Dr. Julie Emili

A man pulls a hand truck cart on Regina Street in uptown Waterloo. People in Waterloo region who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9 will be able to book an accelerated second dose, the province said in a release Thursday. (Carmen Groleau/ CBC)

Second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized for hot spot regions in the province, and that includes Waterloo region.

Starting Monday morning, people in a list of delta variant hot spot regions, which also includes Halton, Peel, Porcupine, York, Toronto and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and who received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9 will be able to book an accelerated second dose, the province said in a release Thursday.

The province's release did not say whether people who received AstraZeneca would also be eligible for a an accelerated second dose. Right now, Ontarians in that group must wait at least 12 weeks between shots, whether they opt for a second dose of AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer and Moderna.

That policy will remain in place for the time being, officials said Thursday.

Variants in region

The delta variant, also called B1617, was first detected in India. There are 14 cases in Waterloo region currently, although officials have warned that if people are not careful, it could lead to a fourth wave.

During a regional council meeting Wednesday, associate medical officer of health Julie Emili said while like case rates are stable, they're still higher than the provincial average.

"The slower drop in our case counts, despite an increase in vaccination rates, may suggest the delta variant is more present in our community," she said.

There were 3,403 cases that have screened positive for a variant of concern in Waterloo region. Of those:

  • 3,012 are confirmed to be the B117 variant, or alpha variant, first detected in the U.K.
  • 60 are the P1 variant first detected in Brazil.
  • 14 are the B1617 variant, or the delta variant, first detected in India.
  • Seven are the B1351 variant first detected in South Africa.
  • 310 have tested positive for a mutation but further testing is required.

63 new cases

The region reported 63 new cases of the virus. That makes up 12 per cent of the 509 cases reported for the entire province.

Active cases in the community rose by 41 to 383. 

No new deaths were reported.

There were 34 people in the region's hospitals, the same as Wednesday, with 23 people in intensive care, a rise of three from the previous day.

There have been a total at 16,401 cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 and of those, 15,751 has been marked as resolved.

5 active outbreaks

There were five active outbreaks in the region. They were:

  • One at a congregate setting across multiple locations with 36 cases.
  • One at long-term care home Forest Heights Revera in Kitchener with seven cases: five in staff and two in people living at the home.
  • One at a food and beverage services business with two cases.
  • One at Waterloo Regional Police Service central division in Kitchener with two cases.
  • One at Trillium Bilingual Montessori School child care with two cases.

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