Starting this week, residents can show their proof of vaccination using the new provincial system. Last Friday, Ontario made enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificates with QR codes that are now available for download.

As of this week, over 90 per cent of eligible residents in the region have had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. While local public health officials are happy to see this milestone, they want to see the same numbers with second doses, which are at 86 per cent. 

“We need to continue our efforts to increase our community immunity over the coming weeks and months,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s medical officer of health, said.

The region is still offering mobile vaccination sites for all eligible residents, including the vaccination bus which will be making scheduled stops throughout the region

Beginning next Monday, those who choose to access non-essential services in Region of Waterloo will be required to show their proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a piece of personal identification. 

These non-essential services include museums and any public spaces within regional buildings, such as meeting rooms and access to some library services. However, proof of vaccination will not be needed for those who are going into the library to browse or use the computers. Safety measures, such as face masks and social distancing, are still in effect in these buildings. 

Last week, a large group of people took to the sidewalk near Grand River Hospital (GRH) to protest against COVID-19 mandates. The protest came as over 200 workers from GRH, St. Mary’s General Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital were placed on unpaid leave for not abiding by their vaccine mandate.

Earlier in the week, the regional council passed a motion to draft a letter to the Ontario government, calling on them to ban COVID-19 and vaccine-related protests near hospitals and schools.

As of Oct. 20, Waterloo health officials have confirmed 19,931 total cases of COVID-19, and approximately 115 cases are considered active. There have been 300 COVID-related deaths in the region.