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Region getting more contact tracers

Public health has also been monitoring over 50 workplace and business settings to prevent them from going into outbreak
COVID-19 Village Media

The Region of Waterloo is getting some assistance from the province when it comes to contact tracing.

The request was made earlier this week by Regional Chair Karen Redman and the Ford government is promising ten additional contract tracers to track down those who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

"With each case in an outbreak, we are seeing very high numbers of contacts that require hours of contract tracing by public health officials. It is getting more and more difficult for public health to reach everyone who has potentially come in contact with a person who later tests positive for the virus." Redman told a media briefing on Friday morning.

Waterloo Region's medical officer of health says contract tracing is currently being done by over 90 staff and students.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang explained they've been challenged recently by the number of large scale outbreaks in workplace and business settings, "In the past week, our ability to contact cases within 24 hours has dropped to as a low as 50 per cent ... but this is temporary, as we continue to reallocate and reinforce our staffing. Our team has indicated we should be back up to 90 per cent of cases in the next day or two."

Those additional contract tracers promised by the province are scheduled to start next week.

There are 13 outbreaks in workplace and business settings, but Dr. Wang points out they have currently been monitoring 56 others to prevent them from going into outbreak, "...We begin monitoring, in fact, and investigating settings as soon as a single case is identified. We do not wait for transmission to occur before we begin to monitor for potential outbreaks."

During the media briefing, Redman also mentioned a recent fine issued to Ming's Restaurant in Cambridge - for not having proper space between tables, or a barrier between them.

Both Redman and Dr. Wang have recommended to the province that Waterloo Region be placed in the 'red-control' category of the province's framework, meaning more restrictions.

That announcement could come as early as Friday afternoon.

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