COVID-19 ‘circulating widely’ in Waterloo region
The Waterloo Region Medical Officer of Health says COVID-19 cases tend to increase in the region, following a trend seen in other communities in Ontario.
“We are entering a period of heightened risk over the next few weeks and months due to more gatherings indoors and a greater circulation of COVID-19,” Dr Hsiu-Li Wang said during the region’s weekly COVID-19 update on Friday morning. “All residents should consider that COVID-19 is circulating widely in the community now. “
Waterloo region’s weekly case rate is now 34 cases per 100,000 population.
VACCINES FOR CHILDREN UNDER 12 YEARS OF AGE
On Friday morning, Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
Area vaccine manager Vickie Murray said there was a chance they could start making appointments for children in this age group as early as next week once vaccines for children will be distributed by the province.
“I would like to ask people not to rush to the immunization clinics today as the Health Canada approval has been announced because we do not yet have the children’s vaccine here in our community freezers,” he said. Murray said.
An announcement will be made as soon as appointments are available for the children. The vaccines will be administered in clinics, pharmacies and primary care providers.
Currently, the region only makes appointments two weeks in advance so they can prepare for when children are eligible to receive the vaccine.
“I realize it’s frustrating because people try to book ahead and plan ahead and make appointments in December and there just aren’t any appointments available for the moment, ”Murray said. “I would like to ask and encourage everyone who has tried to make an appointment in December to be patient with our planning system and process. Now that the children’s vaccine is approved, it will be a priority to give as many first doses as possible. as quickly as possible. “
The second and third doses are only available by appointment at this time, but walk-in visits are available for the first doses. Children between the ages of five and 11 will need to make an appointment to receive a first dose.
MASKING AND VENTILATION
Dr Wang reiterated the importance of masks and ventilation to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
She reminded residents that masks are important even for people who are fully vaccinated.
“We all wished that once many people in our community were immunized, we wouldn’t have to take some of these public health measures, especially if we were fully immunized,” Dr. Wang said. “However, when there is widespread COVID in our community, COVID will more easily infect those who are vaccinated, but it can also infect those who are vaccinated.”
Dr Wang added much of their case and contact tracing has shown the disease spread between people who congregate outside their homes without proper measures in place.
“Now is not the time to lift those measures that have helped us protect ourselves for so long, especially with Delta because it’s more transmissible,” Dr. Wang said.
She encouraged people to wear a properly fitted mask in any indoor environment when meeting with others outside of their homes.
The region’s COVID-19 and immunization case dashboards will both be updated on Friday to include a larger population, reflecting the number listed in Statistics Canada’s 2020 census.
Officials said this would represent a population increase of 16,354 people. The change includes non-permanent residents, such as university students who may have returned to Waterloo region this year for school.
“As a result, what you’ll see on the dashboard this afternoon is that some of our case rates will drop slightly due to this slightly larger population denominator,” Dr Wang said.
The census data population was 605,232 people in the Waterloo region.
Immunization coverage by age group will also be updated to reflect age cohorts based on year of birth.
Regional President Karen Redman flagged three enforcement actions in Friday’s update.
Kitchener’s Vita Lounge and Bistro has been fined $ 880 for failing to comply with a continuation order under the Ontario Reopening Act.
City of Waterloo municipal officers issued a ticket to a private residence for $ 880.
Finally, Waterloo Region Corporate Security handed out a $ 240 bill to a person who was not wearing a face covering at 150 Main Street in Cambridge.