Coronavirus: Requests for COVID-19 tests have more than doubled in Hamilton

Don Mitchell / Global News

Hamilton public health is reporting record-high demand for COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began.

On Wednesday, associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran told city councillors that the phone is “ringing off the hook” with inquiries about testing.

Tran said calls on Tuesday alone topped 3,000 in one day for the first time. He went on to indicate that there’s a “supply and demand issue,” with capacity and that staffing at the city’s testing centres are limited by provincial funding.

Read more: Ontario reports 335 new coronavirus cases, 69% under the age of 40

Public health is reporting visits have doubled in recent weeks to approximately 1,000 people per day, compared to numbers prior to September.

During a general-issues meeting on Wednesday Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark characterized the delays for testing and results as “problematic,” saying people want “assurances” it’s safe to return home to family.

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Clark added that constituents have complained about waiting 3 to 4 days just to hear back about the appointments they’ve requested.

The city will extend hours at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus starting Saturday to include weekends, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Appointments can be made at 905-974-9848 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Online appointments can now be booked through St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

The process involves a short screening questionnaire before giving a user options for a COVID-19 test. Appointment information will be sent by email.


Hamilton reports 5 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

In the meantime, Tran confirmed Hamilton’s 46th death connected to the coronavirus on Wednesday. The death was travel-related and involved an elderly woman in the community.

Read more: Ontario hiring 98 more labour inspectors to speed up COVID-19 pandemic workplace response

Hamilton public health reported five new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 23.

The city says 44 per cent of the city’s 61 new coronavirus cases in the last 10 days have come from people under the age of 30.

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The city has 73 active cases as of Wednesday.

Since the pandemic began, Hamilton has had a total of 1,094 confirmed cases.

The city has no current institutional outbreaks.

Public health is also reporting its seen an average of eight cases per day over the past week.

Dr. Tran told councillors on Wednesday that he believes its due to an increase in private gatherings.

Read more: Ontario announces $70M flu shot campaign as part 1 of fall COVID-19 plan

“It appears in terms of what we’ve been discussing on social privatization, gatherings and not aren’t adhering to some of the public health measures, in terms of the social bubbles, physical distancing or mask-wearing,” Tran told councillors.

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Halton Region reports nine new COVID-19 cases

Public Health Halton reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with three of those recorded in Oakville and Halton Hills respectively.

The region has had 1,173 cases since the pandemic began. Public health says there are 137 active cases and 25 deaths tied to COVID-19 as of Sept. 23.

Read more: Coronavirus: Brantford extends mandatory face covering bylaw

The region has no current institutional outbreaks.

The agency says 37 per cent (50) of its 135 cases in the last 10 days came from residents aged 20 to 39.

Haldimand-Norfolk reports no new COVID-19 cases

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported no new COVID-19 case on Wednesday. The region has an overall total of 489 lab-confirmed positive cases.

Officials say there are four active cases as of Sept. 23.

Public health says about one-third (33.1 per cent) of all cases in the region involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

Thirty-two people have died as a result of COVID-19, with the bulk of the deaths (27) tied to residents at Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.

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Brant County reports five new COVID-19 cases, new outbreak at school

Brant County’s health unit says it recorded five new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The region has a total of 181 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Read more: Street-racing group stages ‘mega meet’ in Hamilton amid COVID-19 restrictions

The region has one new outbreak at Onondaga-Brant School in Brantford confirming a positive test on Tuesday. Students and staff identified as close contacts were asked to stay home by public health on Wednesday.

Public health says more than one-third (36.5 per cent) of all cases in the county involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

Five people in the County have died due to COVID-19.

Niagara Region reports one new COVID-19 case

Niagara public health reported just a single new COVID-19 case on Wednesday.

The region broke the 1,000 case mark this week with 1,003 cases reported since the pandemic began. The region has 43 current active cases as of Sept. 23.

Public health reported another COVID-19 outbreak on Tuesday at Pioneer Elder Care in St. Catharines. The region has two current outbreaks, including Deer Park Villa nursing home in Grimsby.

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Since the pandemic began, 327 of the region’s 1,003 cases have occurred in people between the ages of 20 and 39.

Sixty-four people with COVID-19 have died in Niagara.