Number of deaths in Waterloo region from COVID-19 surpasses earlier projections

In early April, Region of Waterloo Public Health presented numbers showing it was projected 66 people would die from COVID-19 in the region by the end of the month. New numbers released Wednesday show 67 people have died of COVID-19 in the region and there are 731 cases.

Region can't reopen before province, municipal administrative offices closed until May 31

It will be at least May before schools are reopened in Ontario. Until then, schools like this one in Kitchener, Ont., are using their display boards as a way reminding people of the basics. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the region has reached 67, surpassing the projected number presented by regional public health earlier this month.

There was one new death reported Wednesday morning by Region of Waterloo Public Health. The person lived at A.R. Goudie, a long-term care home in Kitchener.

In a presentation at the beginning of April, the region's acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang presented modelling numbers put together by the province that showed the region expected to reach 66 deaths by the end of April.

She admitted on Wednesday morning during a media briefing that she had hoped the region wouldn't reach that number.

"I was hoping we wouldn't even be close," Wang said. "I was quite sad to see that we were approaching and now have slightly surpassed that very rough number."

When the modelling was presented, the region had a much lower number of cases. In the three weeks since, the number of cases, including those in long-term care and retirement homes, have increased substantially, she said.

"I think it just illustrates that we are still in the thick of it when it comes to long term care home and retirement home impacts," Wang said.

731 cases

There are now 731 confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region, up from 709 reported Monday.

Region of Waterloo Public Health officials have said that testing for the novel coronavirus is limited and that the region is following provincial guidelines to only test health-care workers, essential workers, their families, hospital patients and people living in long-term care homes.

The general public is not being tested for COVID-19 even if they're showing symptoms. Instead, people are being told to stay home and self quarantine.

The numbers released Wednesday also show:

  • There have been 6,056 tests have been done in the region.
  • 34 people are in hospital.
  • 225 of presumed or confirmed cases are healthcare workers, making up 31 per cent of cases.
  • There are active outbreaks at 12 long-term care and retirement homes.

The numbers, which are accurate as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, also show 285 people have recovered from COVID-19, up from 269 reported on Tuesday.

Nearly a quarter of people with the novel coronavirus — 23 per cent —  contracted the virus through community spread. Public health officials say that means it's unclear how they got the virus and that they don't fall into one of the other three categories: travel, long-term care or retirement home outbreak or close contact.

Increase in active outbreaks at long-term care homes

There are now 12 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes in Waterloo region. An outbreak is declared when just one person living at a home or working there tests positive for COVID-19.

Five homes with active outbreaks have had people die from the virus include:

  • Forest Heights Revera in Kitchener has 143 cases in residents, 50 cases in staff and 34 deaths. Those numbers did not change from those reported Tuesday.
  • Trinity Village in Kitchener has 32 cases in residents, 30 cases in staff and five deaths. That's a rise of one case in residents and two in staff.
  • A.R. Goudie in Kitchener has 17 cases in residents, 13 cases in staff and five deaths. These numbers reflect a rise of one case in a staff member and one death.
  • Lanark Heights in Kitchener has eight cases in residents, six cases in staff and two deaths. Those numbers did not change from those reported Tuesday.
  • Victoria Place in Kitchener has 23 cases in residents, seven cases in staff and one death. Those numbers did not change from those reported Tuesday.

The outbreak at Highview Residences in Kitchener, which saw seven people die, has been declared over as there have been no new symptoms at the home for 14 days.

The four new homes listed as having active outbreaks as of Wednesday are:

  • Stirling Heights in Cambridge.
  • Sunbeam Lodge in Kitchener.
  • Chartwell Elmira.
  • The Village at University Gates in Waterloo, which had a previous outbreak that was declared over on April 23.

There are also active outbreaks at Briarfield Gardens in Kitchener, The Village of Winston Park in Kitchener and Highland Place Retirement Residence in Kitchener.

Outbreaks have been declared over at nine long-term care and retirement homes.

See the full list of outbreaks.

Townships, cities to keep offices closed until end of May

The municipalities that make up the Region of Waterloo will be keeping all facilities closed until at least May 31, and some like libraries and recreational facilities will be shut down even longer.

The announcement on Wednesday means the municipal administrative and operations facilities in the three cities and four townships will be closed until May 31.

The decision "aligns the municipalities with Sunday's announcement from the provincial government delaying the re-opening of the province's schools until May 31," the Region of Waterloo said in a release.

The region previously announced municipally run libraries, cultural and recreation facilities, including arenas, pools, sports fields, playgrounds and community centres, will remain closed until at least June 30. Regional museums and libraries are not covered by that. They will remain closed until May 31.

Region can't reopen before province

The region's chief administrative officer Mike Murray says while the municipality is looking at creating a plan to reopen the region, they can't do so before the province lifts its emergency orders.

"This is restricting public gatherings to less than five people, closing bars, restaurants, places of worship, child care centres — those are all specific emergency orders that the province has issued," Murray said. "Until those are rescinded or changed, we actually have no choice but to comply with those."

Murray said he expects to see the province issue new emergency orders in the coming weeks that start to relax "a little bit" what's in the current orders.

"We'll have to wait and see how the province restructures the reopening," he said.

15 deaths at long-term care homes in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph

Of the 20 deaths reported in the area covered by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, 15 have been at long-term care homes, numbers released by the health unit show.

Guelph has had five deaths: four deaths have happened at Norfolk Manor, a retirement home, while there's been one death at St. Joseph's Health Care Centre.

The numbers also show Shelburne Residence has been hit hard by the virus. At the home in Shelburne, north of Orangeville, there have been nine deaths. As well, 39 people who live there and 18 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Dufferin Oaks in Shelburne also has one death, while four people who live there and six staff members have tested positive.

There are active outbreaks at:

  • Homewood Health Centre in Guelph.
  • Norfolk Manor in Guelph.
  • St. Joseph's Health Care Centre in Guelph.
  • Stone Lodge in Guelph.
  • Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph.
  • Carressant Care in Fergus.
  • Royal Terrace in Palmerston.
  • Strathcona in Mount Forest.
  • Shelburne Residence.

Read more from today:

Chart: Long-term care home outbreaks in Waterloo region


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