While the Ontario is scheduled to move into Step 2 of their reopening plan this Wednesday, the Region of Waterloo will stay in Step 1 until further notice.
This delay is based on high case rates and hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, which has been rampant among the local communities.
According to Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Ontario medical officer of health, delaying Step 2 will give the region a chance to lower their case numbers and give residents more time to vaccinate. He noted that in the coming weeks, the Region may be in a better place to provide a specific date for its move to Step 2.
Earlier this month, Ontario confirmed that any individuals under 18 could begin to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, there is a growing concern among parents in the Region who are booking vaccine appointments for their children.
Currently, anyone under the age of 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, according to Canadian Health Officials. However, the Region of Waterloo Public Health asked anyone under 18 who booked an appointment at one of the four mobile clinics to cancel, as the only the Moderna vaccine is being offered. These pop-up clinics were launched by the provincial government to reduce the risk of getting the COVID-19 Delta variant.
These mobile clinics include the Cambridge Pinebush clinic, Kitchener’s Health Sciences campus and The Boardwalk in Waterloo. More clinics will be arriving in the region this week.
Due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, Waterloo youth from ages 12 to 17 will be eligible to book their second dose this Saturday. They can book their appointments through the regional booking system and through local participating pharmacies.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Waterloo Region will be receiving a large sum in funding from the federal and provincial governments in response to the impacts of COVID-19. This is part of a $51.2 million investment in municipal infrastructure for 129 communities in central, southwestern and midwestern Ontario.
Kitchener will be receiving the most money, with $4,473,449 coming in federally and $1,118,362 from the province. The money will be used to develop accessible recreation facilities and help renovate municipal infrastructure and community centres, among other resources. Over $3 million of the funding will help to bring new generators and upgraded vent systems to Sunnyside Home Long-Term Care, which had an outbreak of COVID-19 last summer.
Waterloo will receive $829,334 from the federal government and $207,334 from the province with a focus on upgrading local pathways, parks and woodlots.
As of June 30, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 17,524 total cases of COVID-19, including approximately 262 deaths. Approximately 457 cases are considered active in the Region