‘I think it’s just a question of when’ – Medical health officer expects Omicron variant to reach Waterloo region


Dr Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo Region Health Medical Officer, says she hopes the new Omicron variant will reach the Waterloo Region.

“Although no local cases have been identified yet, I would not be surprised to learn of cases in the Waterloo region at any time,” Dr. Wang said during a COVID-19 community update on Friday.

She says the variant is unlikely to have been detected here yet because Public Health Ontario has been conducting genomic testing of all COVID-19 samples. However, Wang adds that there is a lapse of about a week from when Public Health Ontario receives a case and when the sample is taken.

Dr. Wang reiterated that it is no longer a question of ‘if’ the Omicron variant will reach the region.

“I think it’s just a question of when,” said Dr. Wang.

He added that when Omicron cases are detected locally, the region will not return to ground zero because there is a sufficient supply of vaccines and adequate resources to combat it.


During the update, Dr. Wang said that the cases are occurring more frequently in unvaccinated people, including children.

Dr. Wang said she anticipates that the growing number of cases in school-age children will continue until more of them are immunized.

Public health says that more than 83 percent of eligible residents age five and older received their first dose, while 79 percent of eligible residents age five and older are fully vaccinated.

As of Thursday, 8,613 doses have been administered to children ages five to 11.


When it comes to general trends, Dr. Wang says that sewage data shows the virus is widespread in the region, but public health is moving toward third-dose administration, with 24,000 injections already given.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the region is 34 per 100,000 each week.


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