COVID-19 updates: Waterloo region in red zone

Photo by Darien Funk

On Tuesday, 57 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Waterloo region by Public Health officials, bringing the monthly total to 985.

Currently, there are 385 active cases with 24 people in hospital and 11 of the 24 in intensive care units.

16 active outbreaks have been reported in the region.

The province reported 1,009 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

As of Monday, Waterloo region has officially moved into the “red zone” in accordance to Ontario’s newest COVID-19 framework guidelines.

This development comes after Toronto and Peel region were moved into the “grey zone” on Friday, which is lockdown.

Being in the red zone means that there are more restrictions put into place for local businesses. This includes stricter limits on the number of people who allowed to eat at restaurants at a time and the closure of movie theatres.

Social gatherings are being limited by increased measures as well.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo region’s medical officer of health, advocated for the region’s shift into the red zone, and has advised residents to follow the controlled precautions diligently.

This includes not gathering with anyone outside of your household and only leaving your home for essential purposes like going to and from work, school, grocery shopping or to get some daily exercise.

Wang urged people to withhold from hosting or attending any parties and going on coffee dates or any unnecessary social outings.

Finance minister Rod Phillips announced on Friday that businesses that are negatively affected by the changes made to COVID-19 policies with the transition into the red zone will be eligible for rebates.

According to Phillips, this money is intended to help these businesses pay property taxes and energy bills.

Ontario is continuing to work with the federal government to assist businesses that are currently struggling through the pandemic by covering fixed costs.

Grant money is also available for those who need assistance with covering the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Staff members from Region of Waterloo Public Health are reporting an increase in hostile pushback from the community, including alleged verbal abuse and online bullying.

“It’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed, but it is not OK to bully anyone. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or connect with professional, mental health supports available in our community,” Wang said in an email to CBC K-W.

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