July 21 COVID-19 Update

Health officials in Waterloo Region have confirmed 10 outbreaks of COVID-19 at the UW Columbia Icefield and the Rising Oaks Early Learning camps. As well, an outbreak at Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital was reported in their ICUA. According to a release from the hospital, three staff members were identified and are now self-isolating, with no patients being impacted.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Ontario medical officer of health, continues to remind residents that the Delta variant is still widespread in the community, despite the region entering Step 3 in the province’s reopening plan.

While children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Wang noted that vaccine trial results for this age group are expected in September.

As of Monday, there have been over 905 cases of the Delta variant reported in the Waterloo region. Currently, there are 27 people reportedly in area hospitals with COVID-19, and 16 of those are receiving treatment in area intensive care units.

A bus with COVID-19 vaccinations will be travelling to hotspots within the Waterloo Region where there have been a rising number of cases and low uptakes on vaccines. Starting this Wednesday, the bus will allow six individuals to be vaccinated at a time. Appointments are not necessary, and the bus’s hours of operations will vary.

The region will also host drive-through vaccination clinics at Kitchener’s Bingemans this Wednesday and Thursday. Those needing a first dose of the vaccine will not need an appointment, but those needing a second dose will need to book.

Regional pharmacies are reportedly waiting on hundreds of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is set to expire in the coming weeks.

According to Kelly Grindrod, pharmacist and associate professor at the school of pharmacy at UW, pharmacies brought in hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine back in early July when case numbers were high, and public health officials were urging people to get the vaccine.

However, Grindrod has noted that the region has hit a plateau with the number of vaccines administered. As of last Monday, over 80.54 per cent of those aged 12 and up in the region have received their first vaccine dose, while 58.88 per cent have received their second dose.

Another reason could be the hesitancy around receiving the Moderna vaccine. Even though health officials have confirmed that there is no real difference between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (except Moderna travels better and doesn’t need super cold fridges), some people are still opting to wait for their Pfizer dose. 

“They have people calling them looking for a vaccine, but turning down Moderna even though they could get it that day,” Grindrod told CBC News. “It’s a real struggle.”

As of July 21st, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 18,211 total cases of COVID-19, including approximately 281 deaths. Approximately 164 cases are considered active in the Region.


Student Journalist of the Year - JHM award winner, Kaitlyn has worked previously as The Cord’s senior news editor. She’s also published articles for VICE and Shameless.