There are now 69 people in Waterloo Region who are believed to have contracted COVID-19, according to public health officials.
READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada
The organization updated its list on Friday morning and it has grown by 11 since it was last updated on Wednesday.
Public Health said the cases include 33 confirmed cases and 36 presumptive cases.
Among the cases include 11 who are hospitalized and one case that has been resolved — a man in his 50s who tested positive at St. Mary’s General Hospital after returning from a cruise.
The Ministry of Health has is now allowing most people who test positive for COVID-19 to end their 14-day self-isolation, without a negative test result.
“If the case is not hospitalized, they’re not a health care worker, they recover, they feel fine and it’s been 14 days since they became ill, we’re saying they can be considered resolved,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate medical officer of health, said on Wednesday.
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Health officials said 1,463 have been tested in the region and 901 have tested negative, but there are almost 500 still awaiting results. Public Health is also currently monitoring 562 people.
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Acting medical officer of health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, said she is still hearing of large gatherings among faith communities and churches and is urging them to stop even if it is under the 50-person threshold.
“Suspend all in-person gatherings,” she said during a news conference on Friday, “Please explore virtual options to continue to support members of your community.”
Wang said all gatherings should be suspended regardless of the number of people in attendance.
“It is now important more than ever we do what we can to encourage and enable our residents to stay home when they do not need to be out,” she said. “For people who have been invited to gatherings, I ask you to not to attend.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
With files from Global News’ Travis Dhanraj