Growing risk of Omicron spread in Waterloo Region

Posted on Monday December 13, 2021

Waterloo Region – Region of Waterloo Public Health has just received confirmation of four cases of Omicron in Waterloo Region residents. Public Health is also reporting there are now nine sports teams that have suspect or confirmed Omicron cases with high-risk contacts.

At this time, cases have a very high number of contacts, and there are over 500 high-risk contacts associated with these sports teams’ cases and clusters. In suspect Omicron clusters and outbreaks, we are seeing rapid and extensive spread among contacts. The large number of cases associated with these sports team clusters is further indication that Omicron is likely already spreading rapidly and extensively in our community, as it is doing elsewhere in Ontario.

Public Health will be focusing its direct contact efforts on higher-risk situations and settings, such as outbreaks in congregate care homes and schools. Public Health will also be working closely with schools, workplaces and sports associations so they can provide important information to their contacts regarding the need to self-isolate and get tested.

For Omicron or suspect Omicron cases, the provincial self-isolation requirement for high-risk contacts will apply to individuals who are vaccinated as well as those who are not vaccinated.

“Omicron will spread incredibly fast, and many will be infected. I am asking residents of Waterloo Region to rally together to reduce the number of people who suffer serious outcomes in our community,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo. “Our best defense against severe consequences from COVID-19 is immunization; for those aged 50 or older, please get your third-dose booster as soon as possible. I am also asking our community to reduce all non-essential contact with others at this time, including sports contact. This is to help keep our schools and businesses open, and preserve local health system capacity.”

Public Health is also reinforcing provincial guidance for businesses to enable their employees to work from home, to the extent possible, as soon as it is feasible.

In addition, Public Health will be asking local schools and school boards to pause all sports and extracurricular activities for the rest of the year in order to decrease the risk of class dismissals and school closures.

The Region of Waterloo, in collaboration with local pharmacies and primary care providers, will be ramping up the number of COVID-19 appointments available, so it will be easier for residents to book an appointment to get their first, second, or third dose (six months or 168 days after their second dose).

Appointments can be booked at participating pharmacies and doctors' offices, or at a Waterloo Region clinic on the Region of Waterloo website: regionofwaterloo/GetaVaccine


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