Hamilton’s emergency operations centre director characterized Wednesday as a “tough” day for certain parts of the city amid the province revealing another COVID-19 state of emergency starting Thursday.
“The fact that we have a vaccine program rolling out is wonderful news,” Paul Johnson told city councilors on Wednesday. “But I need to let you know that the crisis this community is dealing with, a number of cases and the number of outbreaks, is not something that is a side issue. It is a front and center issue.”
The new four-week stay-at-home order will see non-essential retail businesses provincewide limited to curbside pickup in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Big-box stores will be restricted to selling essential items only.
Schools and child care in most areas will remain open for in-person operations.
Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told city officials she supports the province’s decision to activate a much broader lockdown since the local case numbers have been rising due to new variants of the coronavirus.
“They cause higher rates of death, and we’re sitting at about 50 per cent now of our new cases in the last week are variants of concern,” Richardson said.
As of Wednesday, Hamilton has 1,171 total cases tied to variants since the city began tracking the data earlier in 2021.
Hamilton has 46 outbreaks across the city involving 298 total cases as of Wednesday. Variant cases have been detected at 31 of those locations.
The city’s latest virus reproduction rate, which estimates how many cases a single case will infect, is at 1.21 as of April 7.
As of Wednesday, about 4.5 per cent of those tested for COVID-19 are coming back with a positive result.
Hamilton reported 132 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and seven virus-related deaths.
The city now has 330 deaths tied to the coronavirus amid the pandemic.
Public health says the new deaths are three people between the ages 70 and 79, two between 60 and 69, and two over 80.
There were two new outbreaks revealed on Wednesday — at a school and at St. Joseph’s hospital.
The outbreak at the St. Joe’s Charlton campus involves a pair of cases in a general internal medicine unit involving a patient and a staff member.
The surge at the Guido de Brès Christian High School on the Mountain is tied to two students.
There are now outbreaks at 11 schools in the city connected to 47 cases among students and staff.
Public health says a couple of school outbreaks ended Tuesday at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club – Viscount Montgomery Elementary School and Lake Avenue Elementary School.
Rygiel Supports for Community Living on Sanatorium Road and the Extendicare Hamilton nursing home also saw outbreaks close on April 6.
The city’s two hospital systems have a combined 101 patients being treated for COVID-19, 72 at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) facilities and 29 at St. Joe’s.
St. Joe’s hospitals are reporting acute care occupancy at 96 per cent as of Wednesday with HHS reporting 91 per cent occupancy.
Four area hospitals are experiencing outbreaks, which account for 69 cases since mid-March and 10 virus-related deaths.
Active cases are up again day over day by 44 to 904 as of April 7.
There have now been 13,635 total coronavirus cases locally since the pandemic began last year.
Hamilton is reporting 114,631 vaccine doses have been put into residents’ arms as of April 6.
The clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has administered the bulk of the shots, having jabbed about 54,000. Around 25,000 shots have been given at the St. Joe’s site, about 19,000 through the mobile clinics, close to 11,000 at the large site at First Ontario, close to 5,000 in primary care settings and just over 1,000 at pharmacies.
Around 19.3 per cent of the city’s eligible population had received a vaccine as of April 5, according to public health.
The good news on the fight against the virus is the early arrival of Moderna vaccines that were expected to arrive on the weekend. Richardson said just over 5,000 doses arrived this past weekend.
As of Wednesday, the city’s mobile vaccination teams have been deployed to two Central Hamilton recreation centres, Bernie Morelli and Pinky Lewis.
The clinics will run for five days until Sunday.
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