Caution is required, as step 3 “will increase the risk” of the delta spreading: Dr Wang – .

Caution is required, as step 3 “will increase the risk” of the delta spreading: Dr Wang – .

WATERLOO – Moving to Stage 3 on Friday “will increase the risk of spread” of the COVID-19 Delta variant, warns Waterloo Region’s top public health doctor.

Speaking at a Waterloo Region Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Dr Hsiu-Li Wang said that while the region’s COVID-19 trends are moving in the right direction, the Delta variant “continues to grow. circulate in our community and remains a threat ”.

She urges residents to continue to follow public health guidelines, such as physical distancing and mask wearing, and to avoid crowds, closed spaces and poorly ventilated areas.

“It’s important not to let go now,” she said. “On an individual level, be careful when adding activities for yourself and your family. “

The Region of Waterloo, along with the rest of the province, will advance to Stage 3 on Friday. The third step of the Roadmap to Reopening Ontario allows for the resumption of indoor dining and fitness, larger social gatherings and the reopening of theaters, among other relaxed restrictions.

“We can expect the risk of the delta spreading to increase,” Dr. Wang said. “That is why we must continue to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, and we must continue to apply public health measures diligently. “

In recent weeks, the rollout of the vaccine in Waterloo region has accelerated. More than 80 percent of adults have now received a dose, while more than 54 percent are fully immunized.

Area health officials are urging residents to increase their appointments for the second dose.

Meanwhile, local hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have slowed.

“Our public health and health care indicators continue to improve or stabilize, and our vaccination rates have increased rapidly,” said Dr Wang. “The weekly incidence rates return to those of March, before the third wave. “

Ontario will not exit Stage 3 until 80 percent of people 12 years of age and older receive a dose and 75 percent are fully immunized.

Another caveat about moving to the next phase is that no public health unit can immunize less than 70% of its eligible population.

On Tuesday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Keiran Moore said he believed an increase in COVID-19 cases was likely in September.

Dr Wang responded to those concerns on Wednesday, saying she believed a potential fourth wave could be blunted if enough people were vaccinated and public health protocols were followed.

“Whenever you have more social contact and less restrictions, like when we move into reopening phases, and also when you start to enter the seasons of the year when people spend more time indoors , you always have a greater risk, ”she said. . “But a greater risk doesn’t necessarily have to equate to a real increase or a real significant impact on our community, on our health system, if we can control it. The best way to control it is with vaccination. ”


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