There are four confirmed cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant in Waterloo region, public health officials confirmed Monday.
As well, nine sports teams in Waterloo region now have suspected or confirmed omicron cases and there are more than 500 high-risk contacts, both inside and outside the region, associated with those teams.
The region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, said the majority of players on the hockey and baseball teams are in the five- to 11-year-old age group. She could not say if the four confirmed cases were in people in that age group.
“The large number of cases associated with these sports teams is further indication that omicron is likely already spreading rapidly and extensively in our community as it’s doing elsewhere in Ontario,” Wang said Monday in a media briefing.
“This is impacting schools and workplaces.”
She noted multiple school cohorts have been dismissed due to being deemed high-risk contacts. As well, school boards in the region have been asked to halt all extracurricular activities until the end of the calendar year to reduce the risk of spread.
“We are prioritizing in-class learning,” Wang said.
Community sports leagues and groups have also been asked to reduce all non-essential social contacts. As well, Wang has asked businesses to consider allowing people to work from home for the next couple of weeks to reduce potential spread of the virus.
Wang said she isn’t yet planning to implement local restrictions, and instead is working with the province as the omicron variant is spreading throughout Ontario.
Wang asked people to get immunized, including getting a third dose for those eligible, and reduce all non-essential contact with others, including through sports events.
On the weekend, Region of Waterloo Public Health said 11 COVID-19 cases were linked to a hockey tournament in London attended by Hespeler Shamrocks, while 20 cases were linked to a hockey tournament in the Ajax and Markham area attended by Cambridge Roadrunners.
183 new COVID-19 cases over weekend
In the region, 183 new COVID-19 cases over three days were reported on Monday.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 68 cases Saturday.
- 61 cases Sunday.
- 54 cases Monday.
In total, there were 39 cases in children aged nine and younger and 41 cases in youths 10 to 19. These cases made up 43 per cent of the total number of new cases reported by public health on Monday.
Jump in active cases
Active cases of COVID-19 jumped in Waterloo region, from 357 on Friday to 463 cases at Monday’s update.
There were 12 people in the region’s three hospitals with COVID-19 on Monday and four people were in the intensive care unit. Public health noted people in ICU may no longer be infectious, but do require ongoing care.
No new deaths were reported on Monday. The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the region since March 2020 stood at 309.
13 active outbreaks
There were 13 active outbreaks in the region as of Monday.
For the first time in more than a month, a long-term care home was declared to be in outbreak. Lanark Heights in Kitchener reported two cases, one in a staff member and a “non-staff” case.
There were eight outbreaks in schools:
- Southridge Public School in Kitchener with 16 cases over multiple cohorts. The school is closed to in-person learning and is not expected to reopen until the new year.
- St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge with nine cases over multiple cohorts.
- Sir Adam Beck Public School in Baden with six cases over multiple cohorts.
- Saint John Paul II Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener with four cases.
- Glencairn Public School in Kitchener with three cases.
- Forest Glen Public School in New Hamburg with two cases.
- St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School in Elmira with two cases.
- St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education in Kitchener with two cases.
There were four workplace outbreaks:
- A construction workplace with four cases.
- A retail store with four cases.
- An office with three cases.
- A ringette-related outbreak with two cases.
Nearly 35% of children vaccinated
The region’s vaccination dashboard showed 75.49 per cent of the entire population of the community has received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
There were 34.77 per cent of children in the five to 11-year-old age group listed as having received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.