What you need to know about COVID-19, Omicron, boosters and restrictions in Waterloo Region

·4 min read

The numbers and information in this article were the latest as of press time. For the latest numbers, head to public.tableau.com/app/profile/epidemiology.health.analytics and www.regionofwaterloo.ca.

Here at the Cambridge Times, we know that living through this pandemic can often mean sifting through loads of articles, trying to get as much information as possible. In order to make things easier, we’ve compiled all the information you need to know in one place. See below for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Waterloo Region, restrictions and information on where to get your booster vaccine.

How many cases of COVID-19 are in Waterloo Region?

There are 806 actives cases of coronavirus in Waterloo Region.

How many cases of Omicron are in Waterloo Region?

There are 27 confirmed cases of Omicron in Waterloo Region, with 500 high-risk contacts identified. This is a result of nine sports teams that have confirmed Omicron cases; this includes the Hespeler Shamrocks and Cambridge Roadrunners, who both attended two separate hockey tournaments suspected to be the point of contact for an outbreak.

How many school COVID-19 cases are there in Waterloo Region?

There are 85 cases of COVID-19 at Waterloo Region schools as of December 2021.

How many people in Waterloo Region are vaccinated?

84.2 per cent of Waterloo Region residents have received a first dose of the vaccine, while 79.78 per cent have received two doses

What can I do about the new Omicron variant?

Three doses of the Pfizer vaccine is said to prevent 75 per cent of people from getting any COVID-19 symptoms, according to the latest information released by Pfizer and the World Health Organization. Moderna also reports in a press release that three doses of its vaccine is said to increase the rate of neutralizing antibodies fighting Omicron by 37 times.

Where can I get a booster vaccine?

All adults 18+ are eligible for a third booster dose as of Monday, Dec. 20.

Thousands of additional third-dose appointments have been added to the region at Cambridge Pinebush Vaccination Clinic and Bingemans.

Third doses can be booked at the Region of Waterloo’s website, www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19-vaccination-pre-registration.aspx#Cambridge-Pinebush-Vaccination-Clinic-Cambridge, or the Ontario government’s website, covid-19.ontario.ca.

Where can I get a rapid test?

Rapid tests were initially provided to 100 LCBO retailers across the province, but they have since run out of rapid tests. All Waterloo Region District School Board students will be sent home with five rapid tests over the winter break. However, there are currently no plans for more tests to be distributed anywhere in the region. For more information about upcoming available rapid tests, go to www.ontario.ca/page/pop-up-holiday-schedule-rapid-antigen-tests.

What precautions should I take around the holidays?

Limit your indoor gatherings. The provincial indoor gathering limit is 10 people inside and 25 people outside. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore also advised against holiday travel if at all possible.

What precautions should I be taking at work?

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore urges Ontario employers to let employees work from home if possible.

What are other restrictions I should know about?

• Youth ages 12-17 must be vaccinated to participate in organized sports at recreational facilities.

• Ontario has introduced a 50 per cent capacity limit for restaurants, bars, personal service establishments, retailers, shopping malls, sporting venues and recreational facilities.

• The number of people allowed to sit at a restaurant table is now 10.

• Bars, restaurants, meeting, event spaces and strip clubs are required to close at 11 p.m.

• Food and drink services have been suspended at sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, and casino and bingo halls.

• The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol in a business or setting at 11 p.m.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After the province announced new restrictions in light of the Omicron virus, reporter Genelle Levy decided to compile a list of everything pandemic-related that residents would need to know.

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Genelle Levy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times

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