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COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 70 lives in Waterloo Region, doctor says

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More than 70 deaths have been prevented in Waterloo Region due to COVID-19 vaccines, according to one of the area’s top doctors.

From Dec. 22, 2020, to Aug. 28, 2021, COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have prevented 3,498 cases, 520 hospitalizations and 73 deaths among individuals aged 18 and over in our region,” Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rabia Bana told reporters Friday morning.

Read more: Mississauga, Ont. plant tapped to make mRNA for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines

She also noted that the rate of infection among those who are not vaccinated is much higher than residents who have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine this month alone.

“As of Sept. 1, the seven-day average rate of COVID-19 is 8.6 times higher in unvaccinated individuals relative to fully vaccinated individuals,” Bana said.

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According to the region’s vaccination task force, 408,769 residents are now vaccinated, which is 690 more than a day earlier.

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This means that 69.41 per cent of area residents are now vaccinated, a number that climbs to 80.61 per cent when discounting those who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

“Among the cases reported in the last 30 days. 70.8 were unvaccinated,” Bana said, which means that 30 per cent of the population is responsible for 70 per cent of new cases in the area.

The number climbs even higher when one looks at those who have had to be hospitalized while everyone who has been in intensive care has not been vaccinated.

“The majority of hospitalizations — 72.2 per cent — were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, and 100 per cent of all cases admitted to the ICU,” Bana said.

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Two people have suffered COVID-19-related deaths this month, with none being reported on Friday, leaving the death toll at 291.

Bana says both of September’s victims were unvaccinated.

She also noted that the number of new cases reported on a daily basis has also begun to increase.

On Friday, Waterloo Public Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases, which is the highest number the area has reported since July 9.

This lifts the rolling seven-day average number of new cases up to 23.4. This number has been slowly creeping up since July 27, when it stood at 13.

Another 22 people have also been cleared of the virus, pushing the total number of resolved cases in the area to 18,705.

This leaves the region with 194 active COVID-19 cases including eight people who are in area hospitals as a result of COVID-19, with seven of those patients needing intensive care.

Read more: Ontario reports almost 850 new COVID-19 cases, 11 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 848 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest count in almost a week. The provincial case total now stands at 572, 978.

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Of the 848 new cases recorded, the data showed 534 were unvaccinated people, 76 were partially vaccinated people, 189 were fully vaccinated people, and for 49 people the vaccination status was unknown.

According to Friday’s report, 166 cases were recorded in Toronto, 117 in Peel Region, 77 in York Region, 74 in Windsor-Essex, 53 in Hamilton, 53 in Ottawa and 48 in Durham Region.

All other local public health units reported fewer than 45 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 9,590 as five new deaths were recorded. In addition, the Ontario Ministry of Health said six more deaths occurred more than a month ago due to data cleanup and were also added to the overall total.

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