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COVID-19 lockdown 'a real possibility,' says region's top doctor

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said COVID-19 statistics in Waterloo Region have 'gotten worse' since moving to the 'red-control' level of the province's colour-coded framework
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The region's top doctor is urging community members to be more careful while in the 'red-control' level of the province's framework, so Waterloo Region can avoid a full-scale lockdown like we're seeing in Toronto and Peel Region.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is repeating the message to wear a mask, wash your hands, and remain socially distant.

Wang said moving to the 'grey-lockdown'' level is a real possibility for Waterloo Region.

"We are firmly in the 'Red' zone in terms of our statistics and in fact, we have gotten worse since we've been placed in the 'Red' zone," she said.

"However, we've only been in the 'Red' zone for a little more than a week. It generally takes some time for restrictions to take effect. Usually, that's two or three weeks at least."

Wang said during the month of November, the highest percentage of workplace outbreaks were recorded at manufacturing/industrial type businesses.

"What we're seeing is a spread in employee-only areas during lunch and during breaks," she added, "There's not as much adherence to distancing and masking as they would have when they are actually doing work."

Dr. Wang noted employers need to figure out how to minimize risks during employee lunch breaks.

"We see spread in social settings, social gatherings -- and we see spread in workplace settings between employees, when they are in break, when they are on lunch or for example, when they carpool together to work," she said.

"They are in close quarters together in the car, but they are from different families and they're not really distancing and masking while they are carpooling."

If Waterloo Region does move to lockdown, Dr. Wang knows it'll have a significant impact on several local businesses.

"Essential businesses will remain open, and schools will remain open, but there is going to be significant restrictions overall that are laid on our community," she said.

"This will be laid out in more detail in the provincial framework."

Consultations with the province are continuing to determine what "is best for Waterloo Region."

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