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Three new outbreaks, 8 additional cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region

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KITCHENER —
The Region of Waterloo is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19, and three new outbreaks in the community.

Public Health added 13 cases to the region’s total on Saturday. Eight of those cases are considered new, while the remaining five are part of a revision to the previous tally.

The total number of positive cases in Waterloo Region is now 1,571, with 1,357 cases considered resolved and no new deaths.

REGIONAL OUTBREAKS

Public Health is also reporting three new outbreaks.

One is at the YWCA St. Paul Childcare Centre on Birchcliff Ave. in Kitchener. Public Health has confirmed to CTV News that there is one case reported in a child. The centre remains open, but the region says other students in the cohort are currently isolating at home.

Another outbreak has been declared at Lanark Heights Long-Term Care Home in Kitchener, after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The operator of the home says they are both asymptomatic cases and the employees “have been off work and will continue to be off work for the next 14 days.”

Lanark says essential visitors will still be allowed in the home, as long as they comply with screening measures.

The region’s COVID-19 dashboard also shows a new outbreak at a “congregate setting.” According to the province, this refers to a shared space which could include shelters, group homes and correctional facilities.

The latest update brings the total number of local outbreaks to six.

On Friday, the region announced an outbreak at a gym after three people tested positive for COVID-19. CTV News has confirmed that it was the F45 Waterloo location on Glasgow Street.

The University at Village Gates, a retirement home in Waterloo, has been listed on the region’s dashboard since Sept. 5 after a staff member had a positive COVID-19 test.

An active outbreak has also declared at second unnamed “congregate setting.” According to the region, there are a total of two active cases between these two locations and both involve staff members.

In addition to these locations, Goodlife Fitness has confirmed to CTV News that two of its members have contracted COVID-19. Both were members at its Williamsburg location. This latest announcement was not included in the region’s daily update.

NEW SOCIAL GATHERING RULES

The number of COVID-19 cases continue to climb, with 407 infections reported across the province on Saturday.

That’s the highest total since the beginning of June.

Premier Doug Ford calls the latest results “alarming.”

“Folks, the alarm bells are ringing,” he said at Saturday’s news conference. “Too much of it is being tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s okay to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”

In response, the province is imposing new restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

Social gatherings are now limited to 10 people in an indoor setting, or 25 people outdoors.

The new rules only apply to private gatherings, and don’t include movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, places of worship and gyms.

Saturday’s announcement comes just days after similar rules were put in place for Ontario’s worst COVID-19 hotspots, and after top doctors in Waterloo Region and the Guelph-area urged the province to take more action.

Anyone who breaks the social gathering rules could face a fine. The province says organizers may have to pay $10,000, while attendees would be fined $750.

“With more and more people returning to work, children returning to schools, and students going back to college or university, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spread,” said Health Minister Christine Elliot at the press conference.

But not everyone is happy with the premier’s announcement.

The NDP Deputy Leader put out a statement today criticizing the plan, saying it’s a sign of poor planning. They would also like to see lower limits not just in social gatherings, but in school classrooms too.

The new rules will remain in effect for the next four weeks.

Source:- CTV Toronto

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At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health – Peace Arch News

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Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Asymptomatic testing no longer available to Albertans without known exposure to COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

With 3,203 active cases, Hinshaw said right now the province is at a critical point.

“We’re in a danger zone where the coming weeks will really tell that story about whether we are able collectively to bend that curve downwards by following all of that guidance that’s already out there, that’s up online,” Hinshaw said.

“Or if we start to tip the wrong way, and start to see our hospitals fill up, and impair our ability to do elective surgeries, impair our ability to offer services that our health-care system needs to be able to offer to others that are not COVID related. So we’re not yet again at that point where our system is not able to cope. But we are getting closer.”

Hinshaw continues to be concerned by the high number of cases of COVID-19 in the Edmonton Zone where additional voluntary measures to prevent spread of the virus were implemented almost two weeks ago. There are currently 1,607 active cases in the zone that includes the City of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities, or about 50 per cent of the province’s active cases. Over the last 24 hours, 147 new cases were identified in the region.

The City of Edmonton has 1,318 active cases or 129 per 100,000 people.

“There is some good news in Edmonton,” Hinshaw said. “The rate of growth has started to slow somewhat and the R-value (reproductive rate) in Edmonton has come down from 1.35 to 1.17.

“This is a good start but the bad news is anytime the R-value remains above one, the number of cases is still growing. We need to bring this value below one to reduce the burden on our health system.”

COVID-19 in schools

About eight per cent of schools across the province have one case of COVID-19 or have an outbreak of two or more cases, Hinshaw said, with 512 confirmed cases currently in these schools.

Ninety-six schools have an outbreak with 26 of those on the province’s watch list after five or more cases have been identified.

In Edmonton, J. J. Bowlen School declared an outbreak after a second case was confirmed on Monday.

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Alberta pauses asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 – rdnewsnow.com

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By Chris Brown

results taking too long, Hinshaw says

Oct 20, 2020 5:47 PM

Saying that test results are not getting back to Albertans quick enough, the province’s top doctor has announced a “significant” change to testing that she called a critical step to improving COVID-19 control in the province.

“Effectively immediately we will be pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing in those who have no known exposure,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday. “This is an important and necessary step that will help us reduce testing wait times, get results to Albertans and limit the spread.”

With cold and flu symptoms mirroring COVID-19 symptoms, labs became overwhelmed in the past few weeks by the increase in tests.

Hinshaw said even with a September shift to only doing asymptomatic testing among priority groups, wait times for results have not decreased as much as they need to in order to use lab test information to prevent spread in an optimal way.

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