There are now 103 cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region

Region of Waterloo Public Health says there are 103 cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region as of Monday morning. There are 19 people in hospital and 11 cases are now considered resolved.
A woman walks past a sign for the COVID-19 assessment clinic parking lot in Guelph. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

There are 103 confirmed or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region as of Monday morning.

That's up from 69 cases reported by Region of Waterloo Public Health on Friday.

There are now 19 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 11 cases have been marked as "resolved."

The region updates numbers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Region of Waterloo Public Health changed its reporting website on Monday and now breaks down the number of cases based on age. It now shows: 

  • 5 people diagnosed are under the age of 20.
  • 22 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 20 to 29.
  • 15 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 30 to 39.
  • 20 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 40 to 49.
  • 26 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 50 to 59.
  • 10 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 60 to 69.
  • 5 people diagnosed or presumed positive are age 70 and older.

Presumed positive cases are those that have been tested with initial results from a lab showing it's likely COVID-19, but a reference lab still needs to confirm the case.

Cases in Waterloo region are initially sent to a lab in Hamilton and then sent on to a Public Health Ontario reference lab.

Prioritized testing

Not everyone who has symptoms is being tested in the region. Public health officials have said healthcare workers, hospital patients and people who are at an increased risk of complications, including those in long-term care facilities, are the priority. 

The region's acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang has said previously its testing methodology is a directive from the Ontario Ministry of Health. She added public health needs to "proactively prioritize" test kits because there is a limited number of them and testing someone with mild symptoms won't change how they're treated. They will still be told to isolate at home.

The website also noted:

  • 1,740 people have been tested.
  • 1,158 of those tests came back negative.
  • 479 are awaiting test results.
  • 60 people are confirmed positive.
  • 43 people are presumed positive.

The region currently does not have any deaths, but Wang warned that is likely to change.

"I expect that we will have deaths," she said. "It's more important now than ever to not go out unless you feel that you need to and if you do go out, to practise physical distancing. This will help our community."

Wang said the steep increase in cases is not unexpected, and the region planned to move to the new way of reporting once they hit 100 cases.

"Once you get above a certain number, what's more important is the overall trends," Wang said Monday.

"We've done a lot of testing in this region early on, and we continue, actually, to do a lot of testing," Wang said. "This type of testing is good, even though we're having to prioritize groups."

She said the overall trend public health officials are seeing is "there is community spread across our community. That's one thing. And the second thing is, anyone in any age group can get this and so, everyone needs to be careful."

Will curve flatten locally?

On the weekend, Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said this week "will be very important" when it comes to looking at trends and whether Canadians are being successful at flattening the curve of cases.

But Wang said she's not sure the region will see that trend this week.

"I'm hoping to see some evidence in the coming weeks, but I don't know if it can be this week. That's because I think [Tam's] taking a whole of country view, and there are some areas like B.C. that are farther in their curve than we are," she said. "Here, locally, we're still in that phase where we're rapidly increasing our number of cases. What I hope to see in the coming few weeks is a decrease in the curve here in our region."

Wang said it's unclear how they will know when the majority of people in the region have had COVID-19 and when there could be "herd immunity."

"I don't think we're going to know that any time soon," she said, noting that usually requires a blood test to determine if someone has had an infection. There currently is no test to do this for COVID-19. "We won't have those indications until sometime in the future. It won't be in the immediate few weeks."

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph at 26 cases

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health updated its numbers on Monday to reflect there are now 26 cases in the health unit. Of those, 23 are self-isolating and three are in the hospital with one patient in the intensive care unit.

Two cases are marked as resolved.

Public health did not indicate where in the coverage area the patients are located.

The numbers also showed 718 people have attended the assessment clinic in Guelph with 299 people tested, as of March 29. As well, 1,465 people have been to the assessment clinic in Orangeville with 456 people being tested there.

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