1 death from COVID-19, 9 new cases in Waterloo region reported Wednesday

One more person has died from COVID-19 in Waterloo region and the number of cases has risen to 963. As well, 528 people have recovered from the virus.
Men in masks and gloves carry grocery bags out of a store in Vancouver. Waterloo region reported one new death and nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

One more person living at a Kitchener long-term care home has died from COVID-19 in Waterloo region.

The person was a resident at Forest Heights Revera, new data released Wednesday morning by Region of Waterloo Public Health showed.

It brings the total number of deaths at the home to 47. There are also 166 cases in people who live there and 65 cases in staff members. Some people who live at the home have been moved to area hospitals in an effort to contain spread of the novel coronavirus at Forest Heights.

The number of cases in the region rose to 963 on Wednesday, an uptick of nine from Tuesday.

As well, the number of resolved cases rose to 528, up 18 from a day earlier.

The numbers released by public health are accurate as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The province added 329 cases on Wednesday and the death toll grew to 1,765, an increase of 40 since its last update.

48 people in hospital

Also reported Wednesday:

  • 10,306 tests have been done in the region.
  • 48 people are in hospital. This does not include people moved from Forest Heights long-term care home into area hospitals.
  • 278 of people presumed or confirmed positive are health-care workers, making up 29 per cent of cases.

Not everyone with symptoms is being tested for the virus. There are priority groups including health-care workers, frontline workers, their families and people living in long-term care, group and retirement homes.

Active outbreaks at long-term care homes 

There are 11 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.

Fergus Place Retirement Home in Kitchener was added to the outbreak list after a person who works there tested positive for the virus.

Two long-term care homes had their outbreaks declared over as of Tuesday evening: Sunbeam Lodge in Kitchener and Victoria Place in Kitchener. Victoria Place had four people who live there die from the virus.

There is still an active outbreak at St. Mary's General Hospital on the fifth floor medicine unit. All other outbreaks at hospitals have been declared over.

There is also one outbreak at a "congregate setting" in the region.

Expanded testing coming

It is expected expanded COVID-19 testing to include the general public will happen in the coming weeks, says the region's acting medical officer of health Hsiu-Li Wang.

Testing in the region is done at the three hospitals and two assessment centres.

"We are definitely doing tests to the extent that the current, on the ground lab capacity can handle," Wang said Wednesday during a media briefing.

The province has required testing of everyone living in long-term care homes, which has taken up a lot of time by assessment teams, Wang said. But that work is winding down and as it does, there will be more time and resources to put toward general population testing. There is no exact timeline for that work, she said.

"We have continued to increase testing over time according to the priority groups and hope to open up testing ... to the general public soon," Wang said, noting there are flaws in the provincial lab system that has seen people wait a long time for results or tests have been diverted from one lab to another one and aren't processed within the set time period when testing needs to take place.

"We definitely, just as much as everyone else, would like to have testing opened, but we need to do it in a manner that's responsible and ensures that the lab system that's being built as we speak is able to handle the volume so we don't have the issues we've encountered to date."

31 deaths in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph

Another person in Dufferin County has died, raising the death toll in the area covered by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to 31. The number of deaths had sat at 30 since the weekend.

There are also 146 cases in the two counties and city with 62 marked as resolved.

Two people are listed as being in the hospital and there are no patients in the intensive care unit.

Read more from today:

Chart: Long-term care and retirement home outbreaks


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