Public Health identifies large cluster of confirmed cases

Posted on Thursday March 18, 2021

Waterloo Region – Region of Waterloo Public Health has identified a large cluster of confirmed cases related to multiple social gatherings held between March 4 and 7 at three private residences. Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health is advising all residents that COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community and residents are advised to limit close contact to only your household members and avoid all social gatherings.

Our investigation has identified that these gatherings were indoors, where individuals were in close contact, for prolonged periods of time without physical distancing or face coverings. Additionally, one of the initial cases has now screened positive for a variant of concern (specific variant not yet identified). Both the nature of the exposures and variant of concern have contributed to the high transmission rate within this cluster.

At this time, a total of 23 confirmed cases and one probable case have been identified in connection to this cluster with an additional 19 individuals who have been identified as high risk contacts related to these social gatherings. Within this cluster Public Health has identified a subset of individuals who have connections to both Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo, including on-campus exposures. Subsequently, our investigation has determined that on-campus transmission has occurred at the University of Waterloo and an outbreak has been declared for that setting with a total of two cases identified at this time. 

“Waterloo Region remains in a precarious position and we are not immune to rapid acceleration of cases seen in other communities across Ontario,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health. “This cluster of cases illustrates that it is essential that all residents continue to limit their mobility, limit their close contacts, and avoid social gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” 

COVID-19 can spread easily when we have close contact with others and it can be spread unknowingly before you develop symptoms or know you have COVID-19. This is why it is essential that we all continue to practice public health measures.

We continue to advise all residents to:

  • Avoid all social gatherings with anyone not in your immediate household
  • Limit trips outside your home to essential trips (e.g. work, school, getting food)
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wear a face covering
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces and crowded places
  • Stay home when you are sick and seek testing

In the coming weeks, residents are advised to continue to gather only with their household or virtually for any upcoming holidays or celebrations. Following these measures will be critical in Waterloo Region’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. 


For media information, please contact:

Kerri Hutchinson
Health Communications, Supervisor 

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