Kitchener-Waterloo

There are now 58 positive or presumed cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region

Region of Waterloo Public Health says there are now 58 positive or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in the region. New numbers were released Wednesday morning.
Guelph has officially closed playgrounds to help curb the spread of COVID-19. As of Wednesday morning, there are 58 positive or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

There are now 58 positive or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region.

Region of Waterloo Public Health announced new numbers on its website Wednesday morning.

Of the cases, 33 are presumptive positive.

Three of the cases are people under the age of 20. The region's acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang declined to specify their exact ages. 

The website says 11 people are in hospital, one person is self-isolating in a "residential setting," 42 are self-isolating at home and the status of four people is listed as "pending."

Sixteen of the cases contracted COVID-19 from close contact with someone diagnoses with coronavirus, 15 are from travel and 11 are listed as community spread. There are also 16 cases where the form of transmission is listed as "pending."

Wang also gave an update on testing: 

  • 1,231 people have been tested.
  • 770 are confirmed to not have COVID-19.
  • 403 are awaiting results.
  • 461 people are being actively monitored by Region of Waterloo Public Health.

Wang announced changes to the region's website, including a decision to pull down a list of places where symptomatic people had been in the region. Earlier this week public health posted a short list of two locations, but then deleted that post later in the day. 

"The goal was to try and keep our community informed," Wang said, but noted the situation has evolved rapidly in the last 48 hours.

"It no longer makes sense to try to maintain such a page," Wang said, noting the page singled out businesses and many cases now involve community transmission. "The risk of acquiring COVID-19 is present across the region."

State of emergency declared

Also on Wednesday, the region, the three cities and four townships that make up the region, jointly declared a state of emergency.

Regional Chair Karen Redman said in a separate press conference, they decided to declare a state of emergency now to get people's attention.

"I do not make this declaration lightly. I make it because it is necessary," Redman said.

She said there are some people who still are not getting the message about social distancing and self-isolation.

Wang said she is in favour of the state of emergency, although noted it doesn't give her any additional power.

"It does give the region and the municipalities more power, so I fully support the declaration," she said.

During the update with Wang, the region's chief administrative officer Mike Murray said the state of emergency means it extends worker protection to volunteers who choose to help the community in the coming weeks and months. It also allows the region and the lower-tier municipalities, the cities and the townships, to share resources.

Don't call 911 for COVID-19 testing

Murray also said local 911 operators have been receiving calls from people who want to be tested for COVID-19.

"Please do not dial 911 in an attempt to jump the queue and get tested," Murray said. "We've heard of several instances of people trying to take this approach. It is a misuse of our valued resources."

Murray said he did not know how many people had called 911 for COVID-19 testing, but he reminded people 911 is for "true emergencies" and if someone does call, "be honest with the first responders about your potential exposure to COVID-19."

Testing results

Ontario currently has a backlog on test results, with people waiting at least four days between test and result. Region of Waterloo Public Health says on its website it is taking up to five days to receive test results.

The number of people across the province awaiting results continues to rise, as seen in the graph below.

Guelph closes city facilities until April 30

The City of Guelph announced Wednesday it is closing city facilities until April 30.

This will include: recreation centres, libraries, museums, theatres, city hall and the provincial offences court. Events planned for April are also cancelled, including regular city council meetings.

The city said anyone who has registered for city programs or booked facilities in April will receive a refund. 

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