Advertisement

Hamilton hospitals reveal plan to open beds as public health reports 183 COVID-19 cases

Hamilton hospitals say they have begun plans to increase bed capacity amid concerns over a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city.
Hamilton hospitals say they have begun plans to increase bed capacity amid concerns over a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city. Lisa Polewski / Global News

Hamilton Public Health (HPH) reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 on April 7, bringing the city’s overall total of positive tests to 183.

The city says 55 of the cases are connected to travel, while 42 indicate spread within the community.

Nineteen people are in Hamilton hospitals receiving treatment for the disease: 12 at Hamilton Health Sciences facilities and seven at St Joseph’s.

READ MORE: Ontario reports 379 new coronavirus cases, total reaches 4,726 and 153 deaths

Public health says 73 cases are now considered resolved.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city’s medical officer of health, says the number of cases are doubling on average every five days.

Hamilton is holding at five deaths connected to the COVID-19 pandemic as of April 7, according to public health.

Story continues below advertisement

The last two deaths were reported on Monday, including the first male to succumb to the illness — an 89-year-old in the community who passed away in hospital.

An 80-year-old female from the transitional care unit at the Cardinal Retirement Residence on Herkimer Street is also reported to have died.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials say investigation needed into recalled masks
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials say investigation needed into recalled masks

In a conference call with the media on Tuesday, representatives from the two major Hamilton hospitals revealed plans to handle a potential surge in COVID-19 patients.

Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare say 1,200 beds could open up, if required, after scaling back surgeries, discharging patients, and converting non-traditional spaces such as lounges and cafeterias into make-shift hospital wards.

The hospitals are also finalizing plans for the conversion of an off-site facility, if necessary, potentially a hotel or convention centre.

READ MORE: Privacy experts raise red flags as Ontario first responders get access to COVID-19 info

Rob MacIsaac, president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, said the two hospitals need to create at least 261 acute care beds and 90 critical care beds tied to projections of the virus’ spread according to province.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“However, we have to acknowledge that the pandemic we are facing is unpredictable,” said MacIsaac.

“It’s overwhelmed hospital systems elsewhere in the world. Accordingly, we continue to turn our minds to adding further capacity.”

Story continues below advertisement
Increase in food waste and reliance on single-use plastics suspected during COVID-19
Increase in food waste and reliance on single-use plastics suspected during COVID-19

St. Joseph’s president Melissa Farrell admits that hospitals in the city have been running at 100 per cent capacity for some time now and that the freeing up of beds has been at the cost of scaling back scheduled surgeries and procedures.

“These are very difficult choices, as you can appreciate, for us to be making and can be very hard for patients and their loved ones, but it is really important for us to make sure that we have the keep the capacity that we’re requiring,” said Farrell.

READ MORE: Burlington offers relief on late tax payments amid COVID-19 pandemic

Both hospitals began utilizing virtual care as of March, with St. Joe’s seeing more than 5,000 patient visits online via video, telephone and secure messaging. The hospital says it’s about a 1,000-per cent increase in virtual care compared to the previous month.

Thirteen new cases in Niagara region connected to COVID-19

Niagara region public health (NRPH) says there are 13 more positive cases of COVID-19 within its 12 municipalities as of April 7 for a total of 162.

There were no further deaths reported. Twenty-two people are still in hospital.

Public health says 43 have now recovered from the virus.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials say everyone needs to be ‘moving in same direction’ to slow virus spread and end social distancing
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials say everyone needs to be ‘moving in same direction’ to slow virus spread and end social distancing

Haldimand-Norfolk reports sixth COVID-19 related death

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says the region has another death from it’s 109 positive cases as of Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

No details were released on the deceased.

Public health is also reporting a spike in cases, with 28 new positive tests in the region as of April 7.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario launches online portal to recruit health-care workers

Halton Region has 169 novel coronavirus cases

Halton Region is reporting 14 new positive COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday for a total of 169 in the region since the pandemic began.

Two people have died in the region.

Brant County with 47 COVID-19 cases

Brant County’s health unit is reporting only one new case as of Tuesday. The region has one death since the pandemic was announced.

 

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.