WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) has reported 493 new COVID-19 cases between Jan. 14 and 16.
As of Jan. 17, active cases sat at 1,255 after hitting an all-time high of 2,972 cases on Jan. 4.
Public Health Ontario cautions case counts are an “underestimate of the true number of individuals with COVID-19” in the province due to the narrowing of testing eligibility to only high-risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, meaning not all positive cases are known to health officials or identified.
The case rate per 100,000 population was 319.6 on Jan. 15, a decrease from 725.3 observed between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.
The rate of COVID-19 tests returning positive for the virus was 23.3% on Jan. 13, trending downward after reaching 32.1 on Dec. 31.
The region’s effective reproduction number, used to measure how many additional cases spread or result from a single case, sat at 1.03 as of Jan. 15. A value of one or above means cases will increase; below one and spread will eventually cease.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region has increased from 30 to 43 – an all-time high – from Jan. 9 to 15.
Of those individuals, 33 are in acute care and an all-time high of 10 are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in either Guelph or Orangeville. Acute care occupancy levels reached 94% on Saturday and ICUs were 88% occupied.
The previous all-time high for COVID hospitalizations in the region was 24, set in April of 2021, when nine people were in an ICU.
Vaccination status of those hospitalized are not disclosed locally.
According to provincial data, as of the morning on Jan. 17, there are 934 unvaccinated persons hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, of which 195 are in an ICU. In contrast, there are 2,246 two-dose vaccinated persons hospitalized across the province, of which 196 are in an ICU.
Considering about 82% of eligible Ontarians are vaccinated with at least two doses, data from the Ontario Science Table indicates that as of Jan. 17 unvaccinated individuals are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and over 12 times more likely to end up in an ICU than those who are vaccinated.
WDGPH identified the region’s first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on Dec. 9 in a fully-vaccinated Guelph male aged 12 to 20.
According to Public Health Ontario (PHO) data, as of Dec. 29 (the latest available) there have been 574 Omicron cases identified by either “complete genomic analysis” or “S-gene target failure” in the health region.
WDGPH estimates Omicron represented 99% of all COVID-19 cases on Jan. 16 in the health region.
Wellington County had 128 newly-confirmed cases over the Jan. 15 to 17 reporting period, bringing the total active cases to 363 in the county as of Jan. 17.
There were 562 active cases in Guelph and 276 in Dufferin County as of Jan. 17.
There has been an additional COVID-related death in the region reported by WDGPH as of Jan. 17, bringing the death toll to 133 people, including 41 from the county.
Since Jan. 11, another 2,073 people have become two-dose vaccinated in the WDGPH region, bringing the total as of Jan. 17 to 246,476 or 83.5% of the population aged five or older.
There are 15,753 people aged five or older in the region who have received a first dose, as of Jan. 17.
According to Ontario’s COVID-19 Advisory Science Table data, as of Jan. 17, there were 992 new cases every day per million people in those unvaccinated, and 516 cases per day in those with at least two doses.
The data concludes there’s a 48% reduction in the risk of contracting a case with two vaccine doses. The reduction in the risk of being hospitalized with two doses is 80%.
In Wellington County 82.4% of eligible residents are two-dose vaccinated as of Jan. 17.
Less than 70% of residents in Mapleton are vaccinated, and it remains the only municipality within the county below that threshold.
Across the region, according to WDGPH data, there are an estimated 11,292 high school students who are vaccinated with two doses; 284 with only a single dose; and 1,980 students who have not yet received a single dose.
In elementary schools in the WDGPH catchment area, there are an estimated 30,030 students who are now eligible for vaccination, according to WDGPH data.
Of that group, 9,790 elementary students are at least vaccinated with a single dose, and 8,438 are two-dose vaccinated. The remaining 11,802 students have not yet received a single dose.
As of Jan. 17, outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in 20 long-term care or retirement settings and one hospital throughout the WDGPH region.