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Region moves into phase two of reopening with stable virus levels

The number of cornavirus cases in Waterloo Region continues to stabilize at low levels, with just a few new cases daily and no fatalities in the past week.

As of Wednesday, the Public Health department was reporting 110 active cases of COVID-19, the same number as a week earlier, with new cases being offset by those that have been resolved. Overall, there have been 1,183 people infected with the virus since the first occurrence in late-February. Of those, 958 have been resolved (81 per cent).

Of the region’s 115 coronavirus-related fatalities, more than 80 per cent reported in long-term care and retirement homes. Even those institutional outbreaks are on the decline, with the Public Health department monitoring just two locations as of midweek; 34 others have  declared their outbreaks to be over.

Those over the age of 80  make up the highest percentage of those afflicted at 19 per cent. People in their 50s make up 16 per cent of the cases, followed by those in their 20s at 15 per cent. The next highest group is those in their 30s and 40s (14 per cent each), followed by those in their 60s (11 per cent), and 70s (eight per cent). Those under the age of 20 make up three per cent of cases. The instances of those under 30 testing positive have been growing as a percentage since earlier in the outbreak.

Public Health reports more testing is being carried out, which acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang indicates as partly responsible for the increase in the number of cases.

The overall downward trend puts the region in a good position as the province moves to phase two of its reopening plan, she noted.

The province this week announced the loosening of restrictions, paving the way for the reopening of outdoor patios, daycare centres and programs such as day camps.

At midweek, the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health reported 409 cases of COVID-19 to date. Of those cases, 282  have been resolved showing a recovery rate of 71.3 per cent. There have been 35 deaths in the catchment area, a number unchanged since last week.

The area has been preparing for the phase two openings, medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer said in a statement Wednesday.

“Moving our region to phase two is an important next step. As we move to reopen, we must always look to balance the economic needs of our region with the health and safety of the public,” she said.

“The best available evidence indicates face coverings reduce the possibility of transmission of COVID-19. By ensuring we can move to phase two in the safest way possible, we are all making an investment in a safer community.”

The Ministry of Health reports 31,341 cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario, an increase of 0.7 per cent over the previous day. There have been 2,475 deaths attributed to the virus, representing a mortality rate of 7.9 per cent. The ministry reports 25,380 cases (81 per cent) have been resolved.

The latest numbers from Health Canada show 96,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with 7,897 related deaths, a mortality rate of  8.2 per cent.

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