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Coronavirus: Hamilton reports 19 new COVID-19 cases, announces new guidelines for gyms

Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

Hamilton, Ont. public health has issued new workout guidelines to the city’s gyms amid a COVID-19 outbreak at SPINCO, which has infected 78 people as of Monday.

Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said the new recommendations include three metres of distancing, a limit of 10 people per indoor group, and a face covering for staff and customers during workouts.

Public health is also recommending operators make adjustments to heating and ventilation systems as per manufacturer guidelines and ASHRAE standards to reduce the airborne concentration of the coronavirus, and that staff and customers also refrain from shouting during classes.

“We’re also asking them to ensure that no shouting or singing occurs in classes and if they need to facilitate communication, that instead, the instructors use a microphone to do that,” Richardson said during the city’s COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

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Read more: Ontario reports 704 new coronavirus cases, majority in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York regions

Richardson said the measures originated during discussions with the province and the public health measures table, and she expects the province to have their own similar recommendations soon.

“So those are interim guidelines that we’re issuing here given what we’ve seen in discussion with the province and as they go through and do a broader review,” said Richardson.

During the city’s board of health meeting on Monday, a presentation from public health outlined how bad the spread of the virus could be from one person setting by setting across the city.

The SPINCO model was used to show how an individual can potentially infect more people by travelling from setting to setting.

“They may have gone to an exercise class in one place, but they work somewhere else and they live somewhere else and so there’s three potential settings that they could be linked to,” Richardson said.

Hamilton Public Health

 

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The chart represents the challenges the agency had early on in the pandemic when testing was limited and only around 25 per cent of cases were actually being tracked by public health.

“We’re not sure where that number sits now. We think with the increasing volume of testing that’s available and the reach of testing that has been done, that number’s probably come down, but we can’t say for sure,” Richardson said.

Read more: Door-to-door trick-or-treating not recommended for regions in modified Stage 2: Ontario health officials

Hamilton’s case numbers declined over the weekend which helped bring down the city’s average over the last 10 days from 25 to 18 cases per day.

Richardson said the spike a week ago can be attributed to the impact of so many cases at SPINCO but said it was not the sole issue for the fluctuation and increase in the past few weeks.

“So while SPINCO has been a vehicle for us to talk about the importance of these and for us to see the importance of what can happen, it by no means is the only thing that’s going on related to transmission here,” Richardson said.

Hamilton reports 19 new COVID-19 cases

Hamilton public health reported 19 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the city’s total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 1,525.

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Officials say 42 per cent (97) of the city’s 232 new coronavirus cases in the last 10 days have been among people under the age of 30.

Hamilton has 155 active cases as of Oct. 19.

The city has nine outbreaks at two schools (Shannen Koostachin elementary school and Sacred Heart of Jesus elementary school), three long-term care homes (Dundurn Place Care Centre, Macassa Lodge, Parkview Nursing Centre), a retirement home (Cardinal residences), a retail outlet (Kushies baby store), a woman’s shelter (Inasmuch House),  a restaurant (Radius), and a gym (SPINCO)

The outbreak at the Salvation Army Lawson Ministries was declared over on Monday.

The 78 cases at SPINCO involves 49 patrons, two staff members and 29 others who were connected to people who went to the gym.

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Halton Region reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, one new death

Public Health Halton reported 38 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with Burlington reporting 17  new cases and Oakville reporting 11.

The region has had 1,841 cases since the pandemic began. Public health says there are 221 active cases as of Oct. 19. Burlington has 87 active cases and a total of 514 coronavirus cases since March.

Read more: PM believes Canada has ‘more tools’ than in first wave of COVID-19 to avoid a second shutdown

The region has five current outbreaks including four long-term care homes (Village of Tansley Woods LTC in Burlington, Cama Woodlands in Burlington, Revera Northridge in Oakville and Chartwell Waterford in Oakville) and one retirement home (Village of Tansley Woods).

The outbreak at Chartwell Waterford accounts for 20 cases in four residents and 16 others connected to the home. The home also reported a death on Friday. No details were made available by Halton public heath. The region now has 30 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began, with 11 in Burlington and 11 in Halton Hills.

Public Health Halton says 43.2 per cent (138) of its 319 cases in the last 10 days were among residents under the age of 39. Burlington accounts for 146 of the total new cases in the last 10 days with 47 (32.2 per cent) under the age of 39.

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Niagara Region reports 15 new COVID-19 cases, one death

Niagara public health reported 15 COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the region’s total number of cases to 1,268 since the pandemic began.

There are currently 66 active cases as of Oct. 19.

The region also recorded another death tied to the coronavirus on Monday. It’s the third in the last seven days. The region which now has 68 virus-related deaths since March.

Read more: COVID-19 more prevalent among Hamilton’s low-income and racialized residents: public health

The region has three outbreaks connected to the coronavirus, which includes two retirement homes (Pioneer Elder Care in St. Catharines plus the Meadows of Dorchester in Niagara Falls) and one nursing home (Millennium Trail Manor in Niagara Falls).

The outbreak at Ina Grafton Gage retirement home was declared over on the weekend.

Since the pandemic was declared, 42.5 per cent (539) of the region’s 1,268 cases have occurred in people under the age of 39.

Haldimand-Norfolk reports one new COVID-19 case

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported one new COVID-19 case on Monday. The region has an overall total of 504 lab-confirmed positive cases.

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Officials say there are 11 active cases as of Oct. 19.

Public health says 33.7 per cent (170) of all cases in the region involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

The region has one outbreak tied to two staff members at the Caressant Care long-term care home in Courtland.

Brant County reports four new COVID-19 cases

Brant County’s health unit reported four new COVID-19 cases on Monday. The region has a total of 217 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

There are 12 active cases as of Oct. 19.

Read more: 3 Toronto hospitals report COVID-19 outbreaks

Public health says 37.14 per cent (80) of all cases in the county involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

The region has one institutional outbreak at Hardy Terrace long-term care home in Brantford.