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Risk of contracting COVID-19 ‘present across the region’

Public Health will not identify at-risk locations, since the virus is circulating throughout the region
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“The situation has evolved very rapidly.”

The somber warning came from Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang -- acting Chief Medical Officer for Region of Waterloo Public Health -- Wednesday morning.

Just on Monday, the Region had committed to posting locations online that those who test positive for COVID-19 had visited.

As of today, Dr. Wang says that goal is unrealistic.

“The most appropriate advice I have for the community now, based on the latest information we have, is that the risk of acquiring COVID-19 is present across the region,” said Dr. Wang at a news conference. “It no longer makes sense to identify specific locations, which could disproportionately single them out, and also lead to a false sense of security for people who were not at those locations.”

This comes as the number of cases  Waterloo Region jumped to 58 on Wednesday morning (as of 10:00 a.m.). Of those 58, 25 are confirmed, and 33 are presumptive, and 11 cases are in hospital.

The Region is waiting on test results for 403 individuals, and Public Health is monitoring 461 people.

Dr. Wang also mentioned that two of the new cases were confirmed to be students at St. Mary’s High School, and letters had been sent home to parents of children who were potentially in contact.

Going forward, though, these letters will not be sent out.

“The circulation of COVID-19 in our community is such that it is no longer possible to know for sure whether people acquired it from a known case in such a setting, or elsewhere in the community,” said Dr. Wang. “For almost all of our recent presumptive cases, there is no link to a previously identified case.”

Dr. Wang is advising all residents to act as though the virus is circulating in the community and across the region.


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