January 19 COVID-19 Update

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than 100 people are in hospital with COVID-19 in Waterloo Region.

Last Tuesday, Public Health reported 107 current hospitalizations with 14 people in intensive care units. These numbers broke the region’s previous record of 94 hospital admissions set just the day before.

On Monday, students across Ontario returned to ​​in-person learning.

While this week’s snowstorms delayed the re-opening of regional boards, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s medical officer of health, noted at a media briefing that various layers of protection—such as face masks, physical distancing, and air quality—make it safe to return to school in the pandemic. 

“We’ve seen throughout this pandemic that schools have been an area where there’s been a lower risk of transmission,” Wang said.

As of last Wednesday, 18 nursing homes and 14 retirement homes in Waterloo Region reported 155 residents and 293 staff infected in active COVID-19 outbreaks. Five residents have died in outbreaks since December.

These numbers represent the most cases since the first wave of COVID-19 killed 95 residents in local nursing and retirement homes in spring 2020. 

Deaths across the region are now beginning to climb in the latest surge caused by the highly contagious omicron variant.

As of Jan. 19, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 35,106 total cases of COVID-19, and approximately 4,483 cases are considered active. There have been 325 COVID-related deaths in the region, an increase of six from last week.