Hamilton's medical officer urges shoppers, retailers to 'reconsider' annual traditions

Hamilton’s medical officer of health is urging residents to reconsider holiday shopping trips to public spaces amid new highs in COVID-19 case reporting from the city.

On Friday, public health said the city hit two pandemic highs with 87 new COVID-19 cases and an active case total of 419.

The previous daily high of coronavirus cases was set on Thursday with 71, while the previous high in active cases was 402 set on Nov. 13, according to public health.

“Going into what will likely be the start of a very busy shopping weekend, I would like to encourage holiday shoppers and retailers to reconsider the way they approach this annual tradition,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said in a statement after the city reported the new case numbers.

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Coronavirus: Hamilton reports 87 new COVID-19 cases, new high in active cases

“Instead, try online shopping, curbside pickup and only going into essential places.”

The plea comes a day after Richardson said the city’s recent “fluctuating” numbers were not “worsening,” but “not getting any better.”

“They’re just fluctuating slightly around that level of about 50 per 100,000,” said Richardson.

As of Friday, the weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 population went up again to 59.7.

The seven-day moving average number of cases is now 48. The per cent positivity among tests has also risen again to 3.7 per cent.

“While it’s important that the numbers be viewed over a seven-day average as opposed to a day-to-day tally in order to fully understand the current local status of cases and trends in the community, these sustained increases are concerning,” Richardson said.

Public health believes the city is still “firmly” situated in the “red-control” level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Friday, however, Richardson pleaded with the community to “work together” to lower the numbers to avoid another lockdown.

“We need to continue to be mindful of the ways in which we conduct our day-to-day lives, and the choices we make in order to keep our friends and families safe.”

Hamilton reports new COVID-19 outbreak, death at LTC

Public health also reported another death at a long-term care (LTC) home on Friday. A woman in her 70s from Baywoods Place passed away on Thursday.

The city has had 82 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

There was also one new outbreak reported at the CONNECT Communities rehabilitation centre in Stoney Creek.

The city says an outbreak that started Nov. 6 in the north tower of St. Joseph’s Villa was declared over on Thursday.

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Hamilton has 21 active outbreaks as of Nov. 27 at:

  • Seven long-term care homes — Alexander Place, Baywoods Place, Chartwell Willowgrove, Hamilton Continuing Care, Idlewyld Manor, St. Joseph’s Villa (south tower) and St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke
  • Four retirement homes — Cardinal, First Place Hamilton, Grace Villa, and The Village at Wentworth Heights
  • Five workplaces  — Advanced Motor Solutions, Rainbow Cleaning, Golden Auto Service, Red Hill Orthodontics, and Universal Precision Technology
  • One school – Rehoboth Christian School – Copetown.

There are also outbreaks at four other locations including Hamilton Police Services-Records Department, Rygiel Supports for Community Living, CONNECT Communities and St. Joseph’s Healthcare-CTU Charlton.

Read more:
St. Joe’s investigating COVID-19 outbreak at Hamilton long-term care home

The outbreak at Chartwell Willowgrove now involves 86 total cases, including 56 residents, 28 staff members and two other people connected to the home.

Hamilton Continuing Care’s outbreak, now being managed by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, is at 46 cases tied to 28 residents, 17 staff and one other person.

Baywoods Place and the north tower of St. Joseph’s Villa have reported more than 30 cases each since their outbreaks began.

The city has 419 active cases as of Nov. 27 and 2,955 since the pandemic began. Twenty-four people with COVID-19 are now in hospital requiring specialized care.

Health officials say there have been 464 positive coronavirus cases in Hamilton in the past 10 days.

Hamilton is in the red-control level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Friday.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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