Don’t be surprised if Waterloo Region’s COVID-19 case numbers climb this week.
That’s the message from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, who noted that the region continues to have high levels of community transmission.
She explained during a virtual Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday that the situation remains serious, despite a couple of recent days where the daily numbers were a bit lower.
“The natural progression of COVID is exponential growth,” she said during the meeting.
“So even if case growth continues but it slows, that is a sign that measures are starting to have an effect. So we need to continue to push on, so that the rate of growth continues to slow and eventually starts to decline.”
Dr. Wang said that there have been testing backlogs in the provincial lab system recently and that the Grand River Hospital clinic didn’t do tests on Monday as it moved to its new location.
She said she won’t be surprised if numbers come back up again, because when there are high caseloads, the numbers don’t go down quickly.
During the meeting, Dr. Wang also acknowledged the concern about outbreaks at three hospitals in the region, which puts a strain on capacity.
She added that the number of long-term care and retirement homes going into outbreak are also on the rise, though at this time she said those outbreaks are relatively small and well-controlled.
That’s not necessarily the case in other parts of the province, however, where she says the situation has become dire.
“Last week, the Long-term Care Commission of Ontario said that since Oct. 23, over 100 homes were experiencing an outbreak and more than 300 residents have died. So those numbers are higher now than they were last week,” she said.
“This is another reason we need to continue to push on, even if our outbreaks are not as significant as they are in other areas of the province right now.”
Dr. Wang said the province has sent more staff to help with case investigation and contact tracing, with even more expected in the new year.
For now, Waterloo Region remains in the red “control” level under the province’s COVID-19 reopening framework. Dr. Wang repeated her requests for people to not gather for non-essential reasons, to stay home as much as possible and to support local businesses when shopping or ordering online.