Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story indicated that several residents and staff members at Heritage Green Nursing Home had tested positive for COVID-19. They are ill, according to the city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, but it is not clear that the residents have been tested for COVID-19. Those changes have been outlined in the story below.
The city of Hamilton says the total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 91, with 21 new cases added on Monday afternoon.
It’s the single biggest increase since the city began keeping track of the pandemic. It comes just a day after another significant bump, with 18 positive cases reported on March 29.
In an update from city hall on Monday afternoon, emergency operation centre (EOC) director Paul Johnson said there was a positive case connected to a man staying at a city shelter.
“We do have an individual that is now in the isolation shelter that we set up as part of our approach to dealing with COVID-19 within our homeless population and our shelter system,” said Johnson.
The Salvation Army confirmed to Global News that the man was transferred from the organization’s Booth Centre location at York Boulevard and Bay Street North.
In a statement, spokesperson Dan Millar said Booth Centre was taking a variety of measures to limit exposure to clients and staff.
Millar said the location is using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns, gloves and masks when in close contact with individuals coming into the building, in addition to screening clients accessing Booth Centre.
The man is the only one in the city’s isolation shelter as of Monday, which is located at the Bennetto Community Centre on Hughson Street North.
Meanwhile, the city’s medical officer of health revealed more troubles for Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek, Ont.
There was one new reported case at the home on Monday however seventeen residents and another ten staff members have come down ill, according to Richardson.
Hamilton Public Health (HPH) has confirmed four cases of COVID-19 at the home, which includes one death.
Richardson did not reveal whether any of the 27 symptomatic people on multiple floors have been tested for the virus, she said that HPH only tests a “certain number” of people in such instances.
“When we manage outbreaks in long term care facilities or any other institution or a group of that sort, is we only test a certain number of people because once we’ve tested and ascertained what the virus is that’s going on and causing that outbreak, then we don’t test further,” said Richardson.
On March 21, HPH declared a novel coronavirus outbreak at the nursing home after a second resident at the facility, a 55-year-old woman, tested positive on March 19.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on March 18 and involved an 80-year-old female resident who lives on the same floor as the second patient at the nursing home.
Richardson told Global News that Sunday’s increase in new coronavirus cases was the result of the Public Health Ontario Laboratory reporting previously outstanding results coming from cases tested between March 13 and 29.
Richardson said the new positives were not unexpected and that the cases came through from people that had been waiting eight to 10 days for results.
Public Health says the backlog is not done, and more cases should be added to the city’s overall daily totals over the next week.
Richardson says only 10 out of the 70 have had hospital stays as a result of contracting COVID-19.
The city says 42 per cent of its positive cases come from people aged between 20 and 44 years old with 27 of the 91 cases connected to a history of travel.
As of Monday Halton Region is reporting 36 positive cases of COVID-19, with 16 residing in the Oakville area.
Niagara Region is reporting 34, Brant County has 11, and Norfolk and Haldimand counties are jointly reporting 23 in the region as of March 30.
Ontario reported 351 new cases of novel coronavirus on Monday – the biggest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began. The total case total in Ontario stands at 1,706. The death toll remains at 23.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
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.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and Ryan Rocca