The City of Hamilton is holding its third virtual town hall meeting, starting at 7 p.m.
The town hall will include Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, a representative from the city’s office of medical health and the director of the city’s emergency operations centre (EOC), Paul Johnson.
Hamilton Public Health confirmed 101 cases of COVID-19 in the city on Tuesday. Twenty-nine cases have been resolved, which are cases involving asymptomatic persons who are no longer considered infected, according to public health.
However, the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, believes there are more cases out there than the ones being tested. She estimates maybe “10 times to slightly more than that” in terms of actual cases in the community.
“That’s why, for anybody who is sick, it is very important that if they have any symptoms whatsoever that they stay home,” Richardson said.
Since mid-March, the City of Hamilton has put in place aggressive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, implementing significant closures across the region but stopping short of declaring a state of emergency.
The city closed all municipal facilities to the public, including municipal buildings, service centres, libraries and public counters — a move that was extended to May 25 on Tuesday.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) also closed all of its conservation areas. The HCA warns that anyone entering any of its attractions will be considered trespassing and subject to fines.
The city’s EOC continues to receive a deluge of emails from concerned residents reporting large gatherings and people not practising social distancing in the city’s parks and conservation areas.
Following a provincial order banning social gatherings of more than five people, the city now has new enforcement powers.
Municipal bylaw officers, along with Hamilton police, can now break up crowds of more than five and even have the ability to hand out fines of up to $750 per individual.
Johnson, Hamilton’s EOC director, said on Tuesday that the crackdown means the “persuasive approach” didn’t work to the degree needed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
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.
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