August 11 COVID-19 Update

Last Wednesday, Ontario education minister, Stephen Lecce, announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for eligible students, teachers or staff in the province. Unvaccinated students will be treated differently.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, noted at a previous media briefing that there would be different rules surrounding COVID-19 isolation periods and testing requirements, which will be dependent on a student’s vaccine status.

Currently, plans around COVID-19 outbreak management in schools are missing from the province’s back-to-school plan. This has left many parents and school staff confused about what to expect in the fall.

UW is also warning their students that if they’re not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they will be required to undergo a twice-weekly antigen screening.

Anyone arriving on the UW campus will use a new check-in tool which will record which buildings people go into using the campus Wi-Fi. As of Sept. 1, people will need to self declare their vaccination status through the check-in tool. In order answer “yes”, the individual checking in will need to have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days or more prior to their arrival.

Last Friday, associate medical officer of health, Dr. Rabia Bana, noted that 71.9 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region since May 1 were in unvaccinated people. The remaining 25.2 per cent were reported in people partially vaccinated or not fully protected.

Hospitalizations in the region are seeing 71.5 per cent of admissions from unvaccinated people, with 24.4 per cent partially vaccinated and 4.1 per cent fully vaccinated. 71 per cent of patients needing intensive care were unvaccinated, 27.1 per cent were partially vaccinated and 1.0 per cent were fully vaccinated.

The region is still urging all eligible residents to get their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. 

As of Aug. 11, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 18,565 total cases of COVID-19, including approximately 285 deaths. Approximately 143 cases are considered active in the region.