Region of Waterloo Public Health is reporting 61 new cases of COVID-19, continuing a trend of rising infections officials say could put moving into step two of the province’s reopening plan on hold.
The Saturday afternoon online dashboard update also shows 57 more cases now considered resolved and the active case count drop by one.
There have been no new related deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
Three more people have been hospitalized with the virus, with two more being treated in area ICUs.
Health officials have identified ten more cases as variants of concern, with three being the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7, first detected in the U.K.) and seven as the Delta (B.1.617, first detected in India).
On Friday, the public health unit confirmed that the Delta variant is now the dominant strain in Waterloo Region.
The number of active facility outbreaks in the area remains unchanged.
This brings the Waterloo Region COVID-19 totals to 16,975 confirmed cases, 16,170 resolved, 259 deaths, 527 active cases, 57 hospitalized, 20 in the ICU, nine active outbreaks, 3,527 variants of concern, 3,066 Alphas, 83 Deltas, 11 Beta variants (B.1.351, first detected in South Africa), and 60 Gamma variants (P.1., first detected in Brazil).
OVER 9,000 COVID-19 DEATHS IN ONTARIO
In Ontario, health officials logged 355 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths, bringing the province’s death toll to 9,007.
The province, which records COVID-19 cases at a different rate of time than the local health officials, also reported that 54 cases were in Waterloo Region. Only Toronto had more cases in the past 24 hours at 58.
On Wednesday and Friday, Waterloo Region had the most cases in the province.
The seven-day average rate of cases per 100,000 people for Ontario currently sits at 2.3. Meanwhile, Waterloo Region’s rate is 10.5.
VACCINATION EFFORTS RAMP UP
Speeding up second dose COVID-19 vaccinations in Waterloo Region was the focus of Friday’s Public Health briefing.
The least vaccine numbers for the area show just over 73 per cent of adults having received their first shot, with 16 per cent fully vaccinated.
For Toronto, Saturday marked a milestone of 75 per cent of residents now having received their first dose and 25 per cent being fully vaccinated.
At Breslau Pharmacy and Wellness Centre, more second doses have been administered in the past few weeks, and more are expected in the coming weeks.
“I think we’ve got the first two, three weeks if not the next month fully booked,” said pharmacist Khrystine Waked. “Pharmacists are obviously very available throughout the region, very conveniently located in many different neighbourhoods, so it’s more of a conveience factor for patients to pop into their pharmacy and get their shots much quicker so we can be all protected.”
Waterloo Region’s vaccination task force has also added a pop-up clinic at Public Health headquarters in Waterloo for the weekend. The 400 appointments that were available were booked shortly after being opened.
The task force says they will be soon offer more mobile clinics, extended hours as the mass vaccination clinic, and a self appointment booking system expected to launch Monday to help people move up their second dose appointments.