Further reopening may be delayed for Waterloo Region: Dr. Wang

There was a lengthy Q and A portion during the region’s COVID-19 community update. Here are some of the details.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang was asked where the region has gone wrong, as it suddenly has some of the highest case counts and case rates in the province.

“Delta can take off very quickly once it gets a foothold, we aren’t able to screen for Delta in the provincial lab system, however, Ontario has increased its capacity to do genomic sequencing in the last week, so we are now getting the confirmations of delta that was previously here, and that’s what is fuelling faster spread,” said Dr. Wang.

To clarify, genomic sequencing is an analysis of the virus taken from a diagnosed patient, which is then compared to other cases.

The region’s CAO Bruce Lauckner said, “Everybody wants to move forward, the reality is Delta has taken a foothold … I believe we’re the canary in the coal mine … (the region) would suggest our vaccination rates are not high enough, and that’s why we have requested more vaccine, and the province is responding.”

Currently, Waterloo Region is in step one of reopening, however, with case rates the highest in Ontario, could we stay in this step?

Dr. Wang said, “We’ve been in discussion with the province about our situation, and they agree with us, they need to send us more vaccines, they need to help us now that we’ve become a hotspot, and the province’s overall indicators are very good, and so they’re on track to go to step two as per the original timeline … and it’s possible that we may need to be delayed.”

There was a question about an increase in COVID-19 cases among children and youth, followed by people in their 30s.

Dr. Wang said, “It’s reflecting how we’ve prioritized the vaccine rollouts in Ontario, we are seeing 1/4 of the delta cases are between 20 to 29, 1/5 30 to 39, very little in the 80 plus age group.”

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