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Hamilton reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, presents recovery plan at virtual council meeting

Hamilton's medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, during a COVID-19 update at city hall on March 13, 2020. Don Mitchell / Global News

Hamilton, Ont., reported 12 more cases of COVID-19  on Wednesday and now has a total of 661 cases overall since the pandemic began.

The city’s count of confirmed positive cases now stands at 653 plus eight probable cases.

Public health reported no new deaths as of May 27. The city says 34 people with COVID-19 have died since March.

READ MORE: 292 new coronavirus cases, 32 deaths in Ontario as total cases reach 26,483

The city has six institutional outbreaks at four retirement residences (Aberdeen Gardens, Alexander Place, Desmond & Peggy Little Retirement home, and The Rosslyn), one long-term care home (Macassa Lodge) and the COVID-19 unit at Hamilton General Hospital.

The outbreak at The Rosslyn accounts for 86 total cases in the city’s overall count, with 64 residents and 22 staff affected.

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Hamilton hospitals say, in all, they have 62 COVID-19 patients in care units —  Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s hospitals say they have 31 each.

READ MORE: CANUSA Games cancelled for 2020 due to coronavirus

Four hundred-thirty-six of the city’s 661 COVID-19 cases — or 66 per cent — have been resolved.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health says city’s new normal in its ‘recovery plan’ will emphasize physical distancing, hand washing, the use of face coverings, and people getting tested within 24 hours of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

A public health framework was revealed by Dr. Elizabeth Richardson at a virtual council meeting on Wednesday which featured a number of city departments presenting plans for the reopening of Hamilton.

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During the presentation, Richardson made a case for the use of homemade, double-layered cloth masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus  – until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Using an analysis published by a group of researchers from China, Japan and the United States, Richardson said if 60 per cent of people wear a mask that’s 60 per cent effective, it would be enough to contain the spread of the virus.

“So when you think about a good set of sheets or a tightly woven T-shirt, if you have two layers of that, it may be as effective as a surgical mask that we use today,” Richardson told Global News.

During a presentation to Hamilton city council on May 27, 2020, medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson shared findings from a study that favoured the wearing of two-layer fabric masks when attempting to contain the transmission of the coronavirus. (Tomas Pueyo / Liang Tian et. al.). Tomas Pueyo / Liang Tian et. al.

Richardson’s suggestion comes just days after a group of international researchers found evidence from the past that cloth masks may reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

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Dr. Catherine Clase, associate professor of medicine at McMaster University and a nephrologist of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, who was a part of an international opinion piece published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, says there are indications that cloth masks can block droplet and aerosol contamination in the environment.

READ MORE: Evidence suggests cloth masks could help in fight against transmission of coronavirus: researchers

“We identified some historic masks from the 1960s and 70s that blocked more than 90 per cent particles, which would be really amazing if we could produce that today,” said Clase.

The director of Hamilton’s emergency operations centre (EOC) also delivered a presentation – highlighting a three-phase reopening of facilities and the restart of services and programs.

Paul Johnson says guidance from the province and public health will determine when and how businesses, schools, child care and others will open.

Niagara Region reports no new COVID-19 cases, 1 more death

Niagara public health reported no additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The region has a total of 634, with more than three-quarters of their total cases — 522 — resolved.

The region reported another death in the community not connected to long-term care or retirement home. Forty-eight of the region’s 58 total deaths have been tied to nursing homes or retirement residences.

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The region has eight current outbreaks at four long-term-care homes (Crescent Park Lodge in Fort Erie, Kilean Lodge in Grimsby, Royal Rose Place in Welland, Tufford Nursing Home in St. Catharines ), three retirement homes (Albright Centre in Lincoln, West Park Health Centre in St. Catharines, Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls), and at one unit of the Greater Niagara General Hospital.

READ MORE: Military teams raise concerns about conditions at Ontario care homes

Haldimand-Norfolk reports no new COVID-19 cases

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported no new COVID-19 cases as of May 27. The region has 216 total lab-confirmed cases.

The regions reported no new deaths on Wednesday.

HNHU says 96 people have recovered since the pandemic began and 31 have died from COVID-19.

Halton Region reports no new COVID-19 cases

Halton Region reported no new cases of novel coronavirus on Wednesday. The region now has 698 total cases, one less than Tuesday after confirming a probable case was negative.

The region has 623 confirmed positive cases and 75 probable.

Public health says more than 87 per cent (547) of its cases have now been resolved.

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The region has 25 deaths tied to COVID-19 with 11 from a confirmed outbreak at an institution.

Halton’s six outbreaks — all at long-term care homes — include Brant Centre, West Oak Village, Wyndham Manor, Bennett Centre, Creek Way Village, and Extendicare Halton Hills.

READ MORE: Researchers believe combining samples could speed up coronavirus testing in Ontario

Seventy-eight of the region’s cases are connected to residents or patients in an institutional outbreak.

Brant County reports no new COVID-19 cases

Brant County’s health unit (BCHU) reported no new cases of COVID-19 as of May 27.

The region has 108 confirmed cases with three people receiving care in a hospital.

The county has four deaths and 94 total resolved cases.

There are no institutional or community outbreaks as of Wednesday.

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

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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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

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