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Waterloo reports 64 new COVID-19 cases, first case of Brazil P.1 variant

Waterloo public health officials have confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 P.1 variant in the region.

The variant, first detected in Brazil, was announced on Thursday, one day after the region announced its first case of the B.1.351 variant first detected in South Africa.

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The variant, which has the potential to lower the effectiveness of some vaccines approved for use in Canada, was first detected in January in four Japanese travellers who had returned from Brazil’s Amazon region.

Another 64 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the region, raising its total case count to 13,003.

Active cases fell by 13 from the previous day to 624, with 31 people in a hospital, including 14 in intensive care.

Another 76 people have been cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases to 12,114.

The number of fatal cases remains unchanged at 246 after one death was reported on Wednesday.

Active COVID-19 outbreaks in the region have fallen by one in the past day to 17.

Outbreaks have been declared over at Waterloo Collegiate Institute and St. Luke Catholic Elementary School, while one new outbreak was declared at Doon Village Retirement Residence, where one staff member has tested positive for the virus.

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The region’s vaccine distribution task force says 133,168 vaccinations have been done in the region, 9,722 more than what it reported on Wednesday.

At least 19.91 per cent of Waterloo Region residents have now received at least one dose of vaccine.

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Ontario is reporting 4,736 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a single-day high since the pandemic began. The provincial total now stands at 403,571, surpassing the 400,000 mark.

The death toll in the province has risen to 7,639 as 29 more deaths were recorded — the largest increase in deaths since mid-February and a third-wave high.

Meanwhile, 357,591 Ontario residents were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is about 89 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 3,174 from the previous day.

Ontario reported 1,932 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 55 from the previous day) with an all-time high of 659 patients in intensive care units (up by 17) and 442 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (unchanged).

— With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues and Rachael D’Amore

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