New and emerging COVID-19 outbreaks in Hamilton include St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Barton St. Jail

St. Joe's hospital says their new visitor policy as of Dec. 17 requiring vaccinations is to protect patients and staff from the new emerging variant. Lisa Polewski / Global News

Hamilton’s medical officer of health says COVID-19 has appeared in several new institutional settings in Hamilton.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson confirms an outbreak at the West 5th Street campus of St. Joseph’s Healthcare where two health-care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

READ MORE: Ontario reports 640 new coronavirus cases, total reaches 13,519 with 763 deaths

Dr. Richardson says both are now self-isolating at home and St. Joe’s is “undertaking a number of measures” to ensure the safety of patients and employees at the hospital, which specializes in mental health and addictions programs.

She says that includes close monitoring of patients and identifying those who need further testing.

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St. Joseph’s Healthcare also confirms that an outbreak has been declared at two separate units at its Charlton campus, after two health-care workers tested positive within one unit and four health-care workers tested positive on a second unit.

READ MORE: Hamilton drive-thru COVID-19 testing site seeing 60 people per day

Dr. Richardson, during her Friday update, also announced two other “emerging” outbreaks in Hamilton.

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She says both remain under investigation, one of them involving St. Joseph’s Villa and the other at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre where one inmate has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Richardson stresses that it would not be “unanticipated” to find further outbreaks in long term care settings as widespread testing is carried out.

She says “we may well find addiitional positives in those settings because we do know there are some people that are asymptomatic with this virus.”

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