LONDON, ONT. -- While most of Ontario is heading into Step 2 of reopening soon the Waterloo Region is seeing a delay due to a spike of new COVID-19 infections, and the trickle down effect has brought more patients to London hospitals.

The president of St. Mary’s General Hospital, Lee Fairclough, told CTV Kitchener Thursday that more patients are coming in critically ill and that some will be transferred London.

“Hospitals are starting to send patients outside of our region due to a lack of capacity locally and this is a precarious position. We want to protect our health system.”

She adds, "We’re seeing younger and younger cases in the community, particularly the twenty to 39 year olds. But we’re also seeing younger people being admitted to hospital."

The London Health Sciences Centre, (LHSC) confirms they have received fewer than five patients, and do not anticipate further transfers.

But in an email statement officials say, "...we are ready to help our health-care partners as needed."

"From a capacity perspective we can certainly handle whatever we would anticipate the province and Waterloo send us," says LHSC's Dr. Adam Dukelow.

London has been taking patients from out of region throughout the pandemic, especially in the third wave.

During April and May LHSC routinely had critical patients from out of region, including as far as Manitoba.

The hospital system based in London is the largest in southwestern Ontario.

During June the number of out-of-region patients in acute and critical care have been fewer than five for both.

"Our hospitals are part of one health system but all health care sectors... need to work together to respond and as we work together we’ve will actually create a better health system for the future," says Dr. Dukelow.

As of Thursday the Waterloo Region had 504 active cases and accounted for 23 per cent of the province’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The region currently has 17 active outbreaks.

Just an hour down the road it is a different story in London-Middlesex which had 55 active cases as of Thursday.

- With files from CTV Kitchener's Max Martin