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Region’s COVID-19 situation more stable than provincial averages

Waterloo Region is bucking the coronavirus trend, with case numbers below a growing provincial average.

Currently in the red zone, the region is inching towards “orange” under the Reopening of Ontario Act.

“To date, we have not experienced the increase in cases and hospitalizations seen in Ontario,” medical officer of health  Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said today during the region’s weekly pandemic briefing 

If indicators continue to head in the right direction, Wang says it could be weeks until the region is moved to the next zone, which would allow for some loosening of regulations.

“The province generally looks for stability of indicators for a couple of weeks, before moving an area to a lower level,” she said.

On Friday, there were 254 active cases of COVID-19 in the region. Province wide, 2,169 new cases were reported in the past day alone.

The region also continues to see variants of concern and have now identified 306 cases. “Of that total, 22 case it is happening convert for the B.1.1.7 variant and the remaining 284 cases have been screened positive. I anticipate that these are all B.1.1.7 variants,” said Wang, citing figures from Public Health Ontario’s lab system.

“Very recently, Public Health Ontario lab has decided to no longer sequence everyone that has screened positive to determine whether they have the B 117 or another variant… they’re able to see that the vast majority who have screened positive turnout to be a variant and the large majority of the time they are a B 1.1 variant.”

This change, however, does not mean that variants of concern will not continue to be monitored in the region.

“We’re not stopping monitoring for other variants, so we’ll find out if we start to see other types of variants become prominent in Waterloo Region. But at this time, the large majority of the ones that they have – screened for a variant are turning out to be B. 1.1.7. That’s the case in Ontario. And so that’s why I expect that to be the case in Waterloo, where we have only seen B.1.1.7 among our confirmed cases of various,” explained Wang.

With the battle headed in the right direction, it remains crucial to continue remaining vigilant following the public health measures such as physical distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing, she stressed.

“We have seen a significant resurgence of COVID in Ontario – we’re back up to over 2,000 cases a day in Ontario. There are certain hot hotspots that have jumped right back up into grey zone levels very quickly.”

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