Coronavirus: 80-year-old from nursing home Hamilton’s first COVID-19 fatality, says city

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's Medical Officer of Health, addresses the media during a daily update session at city hall on March 13, 2020. Don Mitchell / Global News

Hamilton Public health is reporting it’s first death in the city from COVID-19.

In a release Tuesday, officials say an 80-year-old female resident from Heritage Green Nursing Home, died at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Charlton Avenue East earlier in the morning.

The victim had been in isolation at the hospital since March 16, the release said.

As of noon, Hamilton Public Health confirmed 35 cases of COVID-19 in the city. Two of the cases have not been connected travel and are believed to be through community transmission.

Ontario now has eight deaths from COVID-19, according to the ministry of health. There are now 572 confirmed cases in the province as of Tuesday, March 24.

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“I offer my sincere condolences to the family of the woman who passed away,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this tragic news highlights why we need to take this virus very seriously and continue to take collective actions to stay at home and stay safe.”

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“Our Heritage Green family is very sad to learn of this passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones at this time. We continue to do everything within our control to contain the virus and prevent the spread in our nursing home,” said Scott Kozachenko, Administrator, Heritage Green Nursing Home.

On the weekend, public health declared a coronavirus outbreak at Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek, Ont.

It comes after a second resident at the facility, a 55-year-old woman, tested positive on March 19.

During the city’s update at city hall on Tuesday, mayor Fred Eisenberger offered up his condolences to the family and urged residents to continue to engage in what he called “physical distancing”

“It is a lesson in that this community – like many other communities, – is not immune from this,” said Eisenberger, “We are going to be affected by this. We may very well have more casualties as a result of this.”

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.


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