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New COVID-19 integrated response team launched in Waterloo Region

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With two dozen new charges laid in Waterloo Region for ignoring pandemic measures, Regional Chair Karen Redman is frustrated by the number of people ignoring precautions put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

“The situation in Waterloo Region remains serious,” Redman said. “Our hospitals and the provincial health system are extremely strained.

Read more: COVID-19-related death connected to construction outbreak in Waterloo Region

“I feel the same frustration and recognize the anger that many in the community expressed when they see these unlawful gatherings.

“The vast majority of residents are following public health education guidelines, and yet a small few in our community are putting public health at risk.”

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Redman said Waterloo Regional Police were building an integrated response team alongside municipal bylaw to deal with the issue.

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“Waterloo Regional Police Services will work with our municipal and law enforcement to ensure that a proactive and responsive approach is taken towards complaints and inspection around violations of the reopening Ontario Act and the Emergency Management Civil Protection Act,” she explained.

A short time later, police provided further details about the new integrated response team.

They say there will be four new teams created that will be available around the clock to deal with pandemic-related complaints and will launch on Sunday.

“Behaviours such as hosting or attending large gatherings risk spreading COVID-19 and place a significant strain on our public health system and on the health and safety of our community,” Chief Bryan Larkin stated.

“It is critical that we take steps to enforce these restrictions to ensure the health and safety of the community. We want to thank those who continue to follow public health guidelines and urge everyone to continue working together to ensure we can soon return to normal.”

Read more: Coronavirus tracker — how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

Redman said 18 of the 25 new charges occurred between April 15 and April 21 with a vast majority coming in Cambridge.

“Waterloo Public Health issued one ticket to Curves and Contours Body Sculpting Waterloo for failing to comply with the continued order for operating while a shutdown order is in place,” Redman said, noting the fine is for $880.

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“City of Cambridge Bylaw issued 15 tickets to private residences for gatherings.”

Those fines were also $880 as bylaw officers in Waterloo also issued six $880 tickets to private residences.

Read more: COVID-19 — 2 Toronto police officers charged after attending large church gathering in Aylmer, Ont.

In addition, bylaw officers in Kitchener and Waterloo-Laurier University special constables also handed out tickets to people ignoring gathering limits in place to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“GRT security issue one ticket at the Allen station (in Waterloo) for failing to comply with a face covering by law and that carries $240 fine,” Redman said.

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