WELLINGTON COUNTY – Limited testing has shown a 46% increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region over the past week.
Provincial changes narrowing the eligibility for who can access publicly-funded testing to confirm COVID-19 cases have resulted in an underrepresentation of how many active cases there truly are in the province.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has previously said actual cases are estimated to be 10 times what’s reported.
As of March 29, there were 427 known active cases of COVID-19 in the region (up 46% from 292 a week earlier) and 122 in Wellington County (up 30% from 94).
There are 57 confirmed active cases in Dufferin County and 232 in Guelph.
(Active case totals above do not match the total active cases reported within the health unit because some cases haven’t yet been assigned to locations within the health region.)
Hospitalization data has not been updated since March 20, when there were 15 hospitalized persons testing positive for the virus. Of those, two were admitted to an ICU in either Guelph or Orangeville.
Across the province as of Tuesday morning, there are 176 unvaccinated persons hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 23 are in an ICU.
In contrast, there 531 two-dose vaccinated persons hospitalized across the province, of which 61 are in an ICU.
Considering the vast majority of Ontarians are vaccinated as of March 27 (86% with two doses according to the Ontario Science Table), there will be a larger representation of vaccinated persons in hospitals.
Of the total persons hospitalized in the province, regardless of vaccination status, less than half have been admitted for COVID-related reasons and 53% have been admitted for other reasons and then tested positive for the virus.
COVID’s impact is more pronounced in ICUs, with 72% admitted because of COVID-19 and 28% admitted for other reasons.
According to science table data, as of March 27, unvaccinated individuals are 1.4 times as likely to test positive for COVID-19, almost five times more likely to be hospitalized, and over six times more likely to end up in an ICU than those who are vaccinated.
The number of people who have died and had their deaths attributed to the virus remains unchanged from last week’s reported total of 158, including 52 residents of Wellington County.
Since March 22, another 266 people have become two-dose vaccinated in the WDGPH region, bringing the total as of March 29 to 258,068 or 87.5% of the population aged five or older.
There are 8,220 people aged five or older in the region who have received a first dose and 154,808 (57.4% of the eligible population at least 12 years old) who have received a third dose as of March 29.
In Wellington County 86% of eligible residents five and over are two-dose vaccinated and 58% of those at least 12 and over have received a third dose.
Mapleton remains the only municipality in the county with a vaccination uptake of less than 70% of the eligible population. Of those who are vaccinated in the township, less than 40% are vaccinated with three doses. WDGPH does not publicly publish more specific data.
According to WDGPH data as of March 29, 85% of high school students within the health unit’s catchment area, and 53% of eligible elementary students are vaccinated with two doses.
According to the province’s Advisory Science Table data, as of March 21, there were 220 new cases every day per million people in those unvaccinated, and 150 cases per day in those with at least two doses.
The data concludes there’s a 32% reduction in the risk of contracting a case with two vaccine doses.
The reduction in the risk of being hospitalized with two doses is 79%.
Outbreaks in health care settings
There has been two new outbreaks declared at long-term care homes since last week’s update.
On March 29, the Wellington Terrace Long Term Care Home in Aboyne declared an outbreak in its Oak Glen neighbourhood. Officials say four residents who tested positive (there are no staff cases tied to the outbreak) are experiencing mild symptoms.
On March 28, the Cedar Wing at Caressant Care Arthur’s nursing home declared an outbreak, with one resident and one staff member testing positive for the virus.
A facility-wide outbreak at the Royal Terrace retirement home in Palmerston continues unabated, with 24 residents and five staff members testing positive as of March 28.
A previously declared facility-wide outbreak at Highland Manor Retirement Lodge in Fergus on March 19 was declared over on March 28, with two residents and one staff member testing positive.
At Guelph General Hospital, a previously declared outbreak on the 4 East wing declared on March 16 was declared over on March 25, with eight patients and three staff members testing positive.
For public health officials to declare an outbreak over, 14 days must pass since the last symptomatic or positive individual is reported.