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Sunday, May 31, 2020
COVID-19 Pandemic Coverage

Region sees first COVID-19 fatality

Number of cases rises to 117; local municipalities extend closures in line with new provincial edicts

There were 117 cases of the novel coronavirus in Waterloo Region as of Wednesday morning, the most recent update from the Public Health department.

The region this week saw its first fatality linked to COVID-19. A 41-year-old man, John Tsai, died Tuesday, 10 days after being admitted to St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener.

The number of cases in the region has grown steadily since four people tested positive March 12, the first instances in Waterloo Region.

Of the 117 people identified as having the virus, 21 have been hospitalized, 78 have been recovering at home, 15 have been resolved and two cases are pending.

Community transmission is now the largest source of cases, identified as the point of transmission in 47 instances. “Close contact” is named in 37 cases, while 26 of those who tested positive reported recent travel. Eleven cases are still awaiting designation.

The largest percentage of those diagnosed with COVID-19 are those between the ages of 50 and 59, at 27 per cent. That’s followed by the 20-29 age group, 19.4 per cent. Those 30-39 make up 13 per cent, while the numbers are rounded out by 60-69 (9 per cent), 70-plus (4 per cent), under-20 (4 per cent) and those 80-plus (3 per cent).

Fifty-five per cent of the cases are women and 45 per cent men That’s a deviation of the province-wide average, about a 50-50 split.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit reports 45 cases in its catchment area, including 23 in the City of Guelph, seven in Wellington County and 14 in Dufferin County. The latter is home to an outbreak reported this week at the Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, where five staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are currently aware of five healthcare workers on one unit who have tested positive for COVID-19, and as the virus continues to spread, we expect there will be more,” said hospital president Kim Delahunt in a release. “We quickly made sure those who tested positive went home so that they can recover fully. Other staff who were in contact with those individuals were sent home or advised not to come back and self-isolate as well. We have been preparing for this situation and are taking immediate action to ensure the safety of all staff and patients at Headwaters; that is our first priority.”

In Ontario, there are 2,392 confirmed cases of COVID-19. About 11.3 per cent of those have required hospitalization. As of  Wednesday morning, 37 deaths had been reported.

The number of cases in the province jumped almost 22 per cent from the start of the week, prompting the government to enact a range of new measures to help with the fight to slow the spread of the virus. Those steps follow the weekend announcement prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings or more than five people, ordered under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

“If we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 now and keep our communities safe, we need to take extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement announcing the measures. “I strongly encourage everyone to do the responsible thing and stay home unless absolutely necessary. I can assure everyone that we will do everything in our power to stop this virus in its tracks.”

The province this week also extended the closure of schools until at least May 4, reiterating that no student would have his or her graduation compromised by the COVID-19 response.

Closures were also extended until May 4 for all recreational facilities and parks in the province. All provincial and municipal offices and facilities will also remain shuttered.

Municipalities in Waterloo Region announced compliance to the edict, noting the closures now include all playgrounds; sports fields; dog parks; basketball and tennis courts; outdoor community gardens; park shelters; outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens; and other outdoor amenities. Other previously-closed facilities will continue to remain closed to the public until May 4, including: all regional offices; city halls; municipal administrative offices; arenas; pools; community centres; public libraries; farmers’ markets; playgrounds and skateboard parks.

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