WELLINGTON COUNTY – After a continued decline in the number of known COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region, the amount of people infected and hospitalized has increased marginally.
As of Feb. 28, there are 292 known active COVID-19 cases in the region, with 106 newly confirmed cases reported over the weekend (Feb. 25 to 27).
As of Monday, Wellington County is home to 85 confirmed cases, of which 24 are new.
There are 69 confirmed active cases in Dufferin County and 129 in Guelph.
(Active case totals above may not necessarily match the total active cases reported within the health unit because some cases haven’t yet been assigned to locations within the health region.)
Provincial changes narrowing the eligibility for who can access publicly-funded testing to confirm COVID-19 cases in the province have resulted in an underrepresentation of how many active cases there truly are in the province.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region has fluctuated between 17 and 21 people since Feb. 15.
There were 20 individuals testing positive for the virus who were in hospital as of Feb. 24, the latest data available, up from 18 on Feb. 23.
Of those hospitalized as of Feb. 24, there were four admitted to an ICU in either Guelph or Orangeville.
According to seven-day moving averages reported by WDGPH as of Feb. 24, acute care occupancy levels reached 85% and 89% in ICUs.
Vaccination statuses of those hospitalized locally are not disclosed, however, at the provincial level they are.
As of Monday morning, there are 295 unvaccinated persons hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, of which 70 are in an ICU.
In contrast, there 670 two-dose vaccinated persons hospitalized across the province, of which 86 are in an ICU.
Considering nearly 86% of eligible Ontarians are vaccinated with at least two doses as of Feb. 26, data from the Ontario Science Table indicates that unvaccinated individuals are over six times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and almost 12 times more likely to end up in an ICU than those who are vaccinated.
Of the total persons hospitalized in the province, regardless of vaccination status, over half have been admitted for non-COVID-related reasons and have tested positive for the virus.
In ICUs, 82% are admitted because of COVID-19, whereas 18% are admitted for other reasons.
The COVID-attributed death toll has risen to 159 individuals across the health unit as Feb. 28.
Deaths have been rising steadily for weeks since December, with the exception of last week when there was no change from the 156 deaths reported the previous week.
Of the 159 people who have had their deaths attributed to the virus, 50 are county residents.
Since Feb.22, another 651 people have become two-dose vaccinated in the WDGPH region, bringing the total as of Feb. 28 to 256,158 or 86.8% of the population aged five or older.
There are 9,525 people aged five or older in the region who have received a first dose and 152,285 (61.4% of the eligible population at least 18 years old) who have received a third dose as of Feb. 28.
In Wellington County 85.5% of eligible residents five and over are two-dose vaccinated and 62.8% of those at least 18 and over have received a third dose as of Feb. 28.
Mapleton remains the only municipality in the county with an uptake of less than 70% of the eligible population. Of those who are vaccinated in the township, between 40 and 44% are vaccinated with three doses. WDGPH does not publicly publish more specific data.
According to the province’s Advisory Science Table data, as of Feb. 27, there were 182.5 new cases every day per million people in those unvaccinated, and 106 cases per day in those with at least two doses.
The data concludes there’s a 42% reduction in the risk of contracting a case with two vaccine doses.
The reduction in the risk of being hospitalized with two doses is 84.5%.
According to WDGPH data as of Feb. 28, 85.3% of high school students are vaccinated with two doses and around 1,688 remain without a single dose.
In elementary schools within the health unit’s catchment area, 49.5% of an estimated 28,568 eligible students are two-dose vaccinated. There remain another 10,171 students without a single dose.
Outbreaks in health care settings
Outbreaks data has not been updated by WDGPH since Feb. 24. The last reported active outbreak was at the Royal Terrace long-term care home in Palmerston, with 10 residents testing positive for COVID since an outbreak was declared on Feb. 5.
A previously declared outbreak at Caressant Care long-term care home in Harriston was declared over on Feb. 22.
For public health officials to declare an outbreak over, 14 days must pass since the last symptomatic or positive individual is reported.