Local officials are weighing in on the latest provincial measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
"I know that this is difficult news for residents to hear, but we have to get these numbers under control, and unfortunately more significant steps have become necessary," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic while speaking with 570 NEWS.
The province has imposed another state of emergency, plus a stay at home order.
Vrbanovic said the orders make it very clear that people need to stay home, unless they need to go out for groceries, to medical appointments, or if they can't work from home.
"...going out and about right now is not the right thing to do, and we need to do what we did in the springtime, to get those numbers under control. And hopefully that, coupled with a vaccine in the next couple of months will allow us to return to a 'new normal' in the months ahead," he added.
Vrbanovic said to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, we need to follow the directives put out by the province.
He added as we go forward, there needs to be adequate accommodations for those affected by the lockdown or COVID-19.
"We know that workplace spread has continued to be a concern here in Waterloo Region. It's part of the reason why earlier today, at special council we adopted our motion looking for better sick leave benefits for those who have to self-isolate."
He said he'll continue to advocate for necessary supports from upper levels of government.
As for Vrbanovic's message for the community:
I talk to health care workers regularly, and I know they're extremely tired and extremely concerned with what they're seeing in terms of growing numbers in our region and across the province. If we don't want to see our health care system overrun, we need to follow the direction from the province that came out today.
Meantime, the mayor of Waterloo said the new measures just reinforce that we need to be more vigilant in dealing with the second wave of COVID-19.
"You know, I think over the months we have become accustomed to COVID ... that's not a good thing, and that's come back to bite us. So the premier and the health team had to take action, to reinforce to all of us, to stay home is not only necessary, it's also an order," stated Dave Jaworsky. "I think that's a good thing. We need to get this under control because the forecast is terrifying."
Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, provided the following statement to 570 NEWS.
We continue to experience an acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our active case load and case rates are the highest we have had to date in Waterloo Region. We are supportive of the Province's stay-at-home order and enhanced enforcement measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our health care system.
New data, released by the province on Tuesday morning, shows the growth of COVID is accelerating, growing at seven per cent on the "worst days."
Projections show there could be about 500 COVID-19 patients in intensive care by mid-January and potentially more than 1,000 by February under more severe scenarios.
With files from The Canadian Press.