Thanksgiving dinner comes with a side of precautions this year due to pandemic

Public health officials looking to maintain the region’s downward trend in COVID-19 cases are reminding residents to continue with safety protocols as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend.

At midweek, there were 128 active cases in Waterloo Region, down from 165 a week earlier.

“We have made tremendous progress in our community. We were one of the first communities in Ontario to experience a surge in cases due to the Delta variant, our community came together to push back against the surge of Delta and get vaccinated and continue to practice public health precautions. I appreciate that many of you are feeling tired – public health precautions remain important in controlling the spread of Delta, even in those who are fully vaccinated. Without these precautions we risk a very difficult fall and winter,” said medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang at the weekly pandemic briefing October 1.

Wang noted that a few new cases of COVID-19 are due to travel, but not nearly as many as from close contact transmissions.

“We continue to see relative stability in our local trends over the last few weeks. Delta is formidable and will spread easily given the opportunity. If you are unvaccinated, your risk for infection is seven times higher, your risk for hospitalization is 25 times higher and your risk for ICU admission is 60 times higher than those who are fully vaccinated. Vaccination is the most powerful tool available to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19,” she said.

“Close contact is the main way COVID-19 is spread in our community. Since May 1, close contact transmission accounts for 50 per cent of all cases. Delta continues to seek out individuals in groups who are largely unvaccinated and that’s where it will spread quickly.”

Some 89.5 per cent of Waterloo Region residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine, with 84.6 per cent being fully inoculated. The region reports that 77 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated and 85 per cent have received at least one dose.

Officials were monitoring six outbreaks at midweek, including three at schools.

The numbers are trending  downward in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph as well, with the midweek total at 64 active cases, down from 106 a week earlier. That catchment area also saw a spike in vaccination rates in the past week.

The province continues to see growth in the total number of cases, with the tally now at 589,000, up about 4,000 in the past week.

There have been 9,757 deaths attributed to the virus – up 42 over the week before – representing a mortality rate of 1.7 per cent. The ministry reports 574,500 cases (97.5 per cent) have been resolved.

The latest numbers from Health Canada show 42,400 active cases nationwide, down about 4,000 from a week earlier. The cumulative total of confirmed cases now stands at 1,643,400, with 28,050 related deaths, a mortality rate of 1.8 per cent.

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