COVID-19 outbreak at Kitchener church continues to grow

The COVID-19 outbreak related to a church in Kitchener continues to spread, according to Waterloo Public Health.

The agency says there have now been 28 cases related to the outbreak in the Nazarene Christian congregation that the area’s chief doctor said was the result of services held there on August 1.

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“Anyone who attended the Nazarenes Christian Congregation on August 1 should be cautioned that they are considered high-risk contact,” said Health Director Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told reporters on Friday.

At the time, she expected more cases to be linked to the outbreak, which then spanned 25 cases.

The outbreak is one of only four active COVID-19 outbreaks in the area, with the others affecting the Conestoga Lodge Retirement Residence in Kitchener, as well as others at retail and a food processing facility.

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Waterloo Public Health rarely names COVID-19 outbreaks publicly, but the one in Kitchener Church met all of the criteria for naming the agency, according to Wang.

The criteria for disclosure include 15 or more cases with a proportion of employees or patrons positive exceeding 15 percent for 20 or more employees and patrons in the facility. Alternatively, there could be 50 or more cases and one sustained transmission, neither of which options pose any significant privacy concerns.

Waterloo Public Health also reported a new death related to COVID-19 for the second straight year, bringing the death toll in the area to 288, including six victims this month.

“The person was a man in his 90s,” Wang said on Wednesday. “I want to express my deepest condolences to families and members of the individual.”

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Waterloo Public Health also reported 13 new positive tests for the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 18,699.

This increases the number of new cases in the seven-day moving average slightly to 18.3.

Another 15 people were also cleared of the virus, bringing the total number of solved cases to 18,272.

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There are now 133 active COVID-19 cases in the region, including 16 people in local hospitals due to the virus, with 10 of those patients in need of intensive care.

The region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force says the region has now had 387,305 vaccinations, 1,623 more than reported Tuesday.

It also said that 387,305 residents of the area are now fully vaccinated, 1,208 more than the agency announced 24 hours earlier.

This means 65.77 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated, or 76.38 percent if only eligible residents over 12 are counted.

A total of 72.72 percent of all residents in the area have received at least one vaccination, increasing that number to 84.43 percent if you subtract those who cannot be vaccinated.

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Ontario reports nearly 500 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 485 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, up from 348 the previous day. The total number of cases in the province now stands at 556,920.

Of the 485 newly registered cases, 309 were unvaccinated, 41 were partially vaccinated, 98 were fully vaccinated, and 37 were unknown.

According to Wednesday’s report, 108 cases were recorded in Toronto, 75 in Windsor-Essex, 59 in the Peel region, 36 in Hamilton and 27 in Middlesex-London.

All other local health authorities reported fewer than 25 new cases in the provincial report.

The province’s death toll rose to 9,431 as three deaths were recorded.

* With files from Gabby Rodrigues from Global News

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