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COVID-19 outbreak at Kitchener church continues to grow

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The COVID-19 outbreak connected to a church in Kitchener continues to spread, according to Waterloo Public Health.

The agency says that there have now been 28 cases related to the outbreak at Nazarene Christian Congregation, which the region’s top doctor said was a result of services held there on Aug. 1.

Read more: Waterloo Region now providing 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine to some vulnerable residents

“Anyone who attended the Nazarene Christian Congregation on Aug 1 is advised they are considered a high-risk contact,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told reporters on Friday.

At that time, she expected more cases to be connected to the outbreak, which then involved 25 cases.

The outbreak is one of only four active COVID-19 outbreaks in the area, with the others involving the Conestoga Lodge Retirement Residence in Kitchener as well as others in the retail sector and at a food processing plant.

Click to play video: Doug Ford says PC caucus members must get vaccinated or get kicked out

Waterloo Public Health rarely publicly names COVID-19 outbreaks but the one at the Kitchener church met all the criteria for the agency to name it, according to Wang.

The criteria for a disclosure includes 15 or more cases with a proportion of employees or patrons which are positive surpassing 15 per cent with 20 or more employees and patrons in the facility. Alternatively, it can also be 50 or more cases and sustained transmission with both options offering no significant privacy concerns.

Waterloo Public Health also reported a new COVID-19-related death for the second straight day, raising the death toll in the area to 288, including six victims this month.

“The individual was a male in his 90s,” Wang stated Wednesday. “I wish to express my deep sympathy to the family and loved ones of the individual.”

Waterloo Public Health also reported 13 new positive tests for the coronavirus on Wednesday, lifting the total number of cases in the area to 18,699.

This raises the seven-day rolling average number of new cases slightly to 18.3.

Another 15 people were also cleared of the virus, raising the total number of resolved cases to 18,272.

Read more: Ontario government mandating COVID-19 vaccine policies for high-risk settings

The area now has 133 active COVID-19 cases, including 16 people who are in area hospitals as a result of the virus, with 10 of those patients needing intensive care.

The region’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force says there have now been 387,305 vaccinations in the area, 1,623 more than it reported on Tuesday.

It also says that 387,305 area residents are now fully vaccinated, 1,208 more than the agency announced 24 hours earlier.

This means that 65.77 per cent of the population has now been fully vaccinated, or 76.38 per cent when only including eligible residents over 12 years old.

A total of 72.72 per cent of all area residents have had at least one jab of vaccine, with that number rising to 84.43 per cent when discounting those ineligible to be vaccinated.

Read more: Ontario reports nearly 500 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 485 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a jump from the previous day of 348. The provincial case total now stands at 556,920.

70c8fc80Of the 485 new cases recorded, 309 were unvaccinated people, 41 were partially vaccinated people, 98 were full vaccinated people and 37 were unknown.

According to Wednesday’s report, 108 cases were recorded in Toronto, 75 in Windsor-Essex, 59 in Peel Region, 36 in Hamilton and 27 in Middlesex-London.

All other local public health units reported fewer than 25 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 9,431 as three deaths were recorded.

*With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues

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