WELLINGTON COUNTY – Known cases of COVID-19 are down this week in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region following a steady rise in cases that began at the end of February and stretched through March and into April.
There were 581 confirmed active cases throughout the health region as of April 19, a seven per cent decrease from 625 on April 12.
As of Tuesday, there were 157 known active cases in Wellington County, 88 in Dufferin County, and 305 in Guelph.
Provincial health officials admit limited access to COVID testing has resulted in an underrepresentation of how many active cases there truly are in the province.
WDGPH hospitalization data, used to determine COVID’s impact on the health care system, has not been updated locally since April 4 because of a data issue spokesperson Danny Williamson said is being worked on.
The Advertiser requested data from the Wellington Health Care Alliance (Fergus, Palmerston and Mount Forest hospitals), Headwaters Health Care Centre and Guelph General Hospital, with officials reporting 15 total cases across the region.
As of April 19, there were 12 people hospitalized with COVID at Guelph General Hospital, a single individual at Groves Memorial Community Hospital, and two people at Headwaters in Orangeville.
None were in an ICU.
Across the province as of Tuesday morning, there were 224 unvaccinated persons hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 31 were in an ICU.
In contrast, 1,037 two-dose vaccinated persons were hospitalized across the province, of which 83 were in an ICU.
Considering the vast majority of Ontarians are vaccinated as of April 17 (86.7% with two doses according to the Ontario Science Table), there will be a larger representation of vaccinated persons in hospitals.
According to science table data, as of April 17, unvaccinated individuals are 1.5 times as likely to test positive for COVID-19, 3.6 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 6.4 times more likely to end up in an ICU than those who are vaccinated.
Less than half of the persons hospitalized in the province were admitted because of COVID-related reasons, regardless of vaccination status. Persons admitted for other reasons accounted for 55% of admissions.
COVID’s impact is more pronounced in the province’s ICUs, where 64% are admitted because of COVID-19 and 36% are admitted for other reasons.
As of publishing, vaccination data had not been updated by WDGPH since April 13, when 258,511 people or 87.6% of the population aged five or older were vaccinated with two doses.
There are 155,629 (57.7% of the eligible population at least 12 years old) who have received a third dose as of April 13.
According to the province’s Advisory Science Table data, as of April 18, there were 337 new cases every day per million people in those unvaccinated compared to 224 cases per day in those with at least two doses.
The data concludes there’s a 34% reduction in the risk of contracting a case with two vaccine doses.
The reduction in the risk of being hospitalized with two doses is 72%.
The death of a Wellington County resident has been attributed to the virus since last week’s update, increasing the death toll in the county from 52 to 53.
Across the health region, there have been 160 COVID-related deaths reported as of April 19.
Four previously declared outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes within the county continue this week with no new outbreaks reported as of April 13.
In Wellington County, there are currently outbreaks at:
• Strathcona Long-Term Care in Mount Forest (14 residents, one staff);
• Wellington Terrace Long-Term Care Home in Aboyne (17 residents, four staff);
• Caressant Care Arthur’s nursing home (17 residents, three staff); and
• Heritage River in Elora (seven residents, no staff).
For public health officials to declare an outbreak over, 14 days must pass since the last symptomatic or positive individual is reported.