COVID-19 death toll rises to 17 in Waterloo region

New numbers released Thursday morning show 17 people in Waterloo region have died of COVID-19. Of those, 10 have been in long-term care homes.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Waterloo region on April 16

A woman wearing a mask pushes a shopping cart through a parking lot at a Guelph, Ont., grocery store on Saturday. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Seventeen people have now died of COVID-19 in Waterloo region, 10 of which were people in long-term care homes.

The number of people who have died rose by two Thursday morning, according to numbers from Region of Waterloo Public Health.

One of the deaths was a person at The Village at University Gates in Waterloo who died Tuesday evening.  In a letter to the home's community, general manager Chris-Anne Preston said staff worked "tirelessly amid this crisis to care for and support all our residents and we were certainly hoping beyond hope to avoid this very news."

Preston wrote that the home is following the "strictest infection control protocols" to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect residents and staff.

The other death reported Thursday was a resident at Forest Heights Revera in Kitchener.

That marks the third death at Forest Heights Revera, a long-term care home in the region that has seen the largest number of cases from the virus.

There have been 54 confirmed cases among residents, including the three who have died as well as 34 staff members impacted.

The new numbers from public health also showed there are 383 confirmed or presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus, a rise of just four cases from the numbers reported Wednesday.

A presumptive case is one that has been tested at a lab and comes back positive, but the results need to be confirmed by a second lab.

The numbers also showed:

  • There have been 3,658 tests done for COVID-19.
  • 24 people are in hospital.
  • 128 cases have involved health-care workers.
  • 135 cases have been marked as resolved.
  • There are outbreaks at 14 long-term care facilities.

The numbers are current as of 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The region is not currently testing everyone with symptoms for COVID-19. Public health has said there are certain groups who are prioritized for testing including health-care workers, hospital patients and people living and working in long-term care homes.

The region says negative test results are also no longer being reported on its website because the province is no longer sending the negative results.

Long-term care homes

There are currently outbreaks at 14 long-term care homes in Waterloo region. An outbreak is declared when there is even one case in either a resident or staff member.

106 tests done at Grand Valley Institution

Correctional Service Canada has now tested 106 people at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.

Of those tests, eight have been positive, 81 have been negative and 17 people are awaiting results.

Correctional Service Canada told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo there are currently 188 inmates at the prison, which has a capacity of 250.

The number of tests done at Grand Valley is the highest of any prison in the country and even outpaces all of Quebec, which has tested 154 inmates.

Correctional Service Canada has conducted a total of 458 tests, meaning the ones done at Grand Valley nearly a quarter — 23 per cent — of all tests done across the country. In Ontario prisons, there have been 153 tests done, meaning the Kitchener prison makes up 70 per cent of all testing in the province.

A spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada did not respond to a question about why testing at the women's prison was so high.

The prison "is currently on a modified routine with inmates self-isolating as a precautionary measure," wrote communications manager Kyle Lawlor in an email. "We are closely and carefully following direction from public health officials, while following strict protocols to avoid further spread in the institution. We remain in close contact with our public health partners as we monitor this situation closely."

8 deaths in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph

There are now 169 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths in the areas covered by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. 

Public health now breaks down the numbers based on the three areas it covers:

  • There have been 79 cases in Guelph with 16 marked as resolved and four deaths. Nine people are in hospital, two of which are in intensive care.
  • There have been 27 cases in Wellington County with nine marked as resolved and one death. Three people are in hospital with two in intensive care.
  • There have been 57 cases in Dufferin County with 13 marked as resolved and three deaths. Four people are in hospital and none are in intensive care.

Outbreaks have also been declared in the following long-term care homes:

  • Caressant Care in Fergus where one resident tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Wellington Terrace in Fergus where one staff member tested positive.
  • Dufferin Oaks in Shelburne where four residents and five staff members tested positive.
  • Shelburne Residence in Shelburne where five residents and two staff members tested positive.
  • Homewood Health Centre in Guelph where 14 residents and five staff members tested positive.
  • St. Joseph's Health Centre in Guelph one resident and six staff members tested positive.
  • Norfolk Manor in Guelph where 21 residents and three staff members tested positive.

Two hospitals also have cases:

  • At Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, five patients and 17 staff at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • At Guelph General Hospital, there are six patients and 16 staff members who tested positive. An outbreak in a ward at the hospital was declared over last week.

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