October 13 COVID-19 Update

Region of Waterloo Public Health is working on a COVID-19 testing program that would offer rapid antigen screening for schools and child care centres.

This program will offer a voluntary test for unvaccinated and asymptomatic children. This new testing will be useful in higher-risk situations where there are higher rates of COVID-19 or lower rates of vaccination.

While a COVID-19 outbreak at Parkway Public School in Cambridge was declared this week, case numbers in schools remain low. Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health for the Region of Waterloo, said that more residents need to get fully vaccinated. Over 77,000 residents who are eligible for the vaccine are not yet fully immunized, and 82,000 children under the age of 12 are still not eligible.

Local restaurant and bar owners within the region are frustrated after being excluded from Ontario’s list of venues that are allowed to operate at full capacity. On Oct. 9, the provincial government declared that they were “cautiously lifting” capacity restrictions in businesses such as theatres and sporting venues.

According to the Ministry of Health, restrictions can be adjusted for businesses that were not included in Ontario’s redesigned framework.

This week, all hospital workers in Waterloo region must show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to their employers. Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital said the vast majority of their workers are vaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated face being placed on unpaid leave.

As of Oct. 13, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 19,833 total cases of COVID-19, and approximately 148 cases are considered active. There have been 300 COVID-related deaths in the region.