Hamilton surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases, MOH says city ‘not at all’ looking at move to orange

Hamilton’s medical officer of health (MOH) said public health is not considering a move into the orange restriction level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework anytime soon.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson responded with a “not at all” and “absolutely not” to the ‘felicitous’ question from councillor Tom Jackson during a board of health meeting on Friday saying community spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, in the province is the primary reason for staying put.

“We’re seeing community spread of that,” Richardson said. “We are seeing increasing rates of positivity with that spread in the tests that are done Ontario wide.”

Read more: Ontario reports 1,150 new coronavirus cases, 47 more deaths

On Friday, the Doug Ford government announced that York will be the only region in the province seeing some restrictions eased when it transitions to the red-control level on Monday.

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Niagara will remain in the grey-lockdown level for another week while Hamilton and Halton Region stay in red with Brant County and Haldimand-Norfolk remaining in the orange-control level.

The orange level allows larger social gatherings of 10 people indoors, as well as a capacity of 50 people indoors at restaurants, bars and some gyms, as opposed to just 10 under red level restrictions.

Richardson told the mayor and councillors on Friday that increased cases of the B.1.1.7 variant suggest the potential for a spike in cases should restrictions be eased.

“So now is not the time to be progressing even further,” said Richardson.

“Now’s the time to take care of a few things that you need to take care of and support our local community, but very much to be staying home is still as much as possible to be minimizing contact with those outside of your household.”

Hamilton reported 37 new COVID-19 cases on Friday with active cases remaining the same day over day at 290 as of Feb. 19.

Read more: Community vaccine strategy presented to Hamilton’s board of health

The city recorded four new outbreaks at a drop-in centre downtown, a pair of missions in central Hamilton, and at the Juravinski hospital.

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The new outbreaks at Carole Anne’s Place in the YWCA and the Mission Service men’s centre involve just single cases with residents, while Wesley Urban Ministries is reporting a pair of cases with workers.

Two outbreaks declared over on Feb. 19 include Canada Bread and the Imagineer’s Early Learning centre. The bakery on Nebo Road saw 44 total cases in an outbreak that began on Jan. 28, while the Imagineer’s daycare saw two cases among staff members over 12 days.

The outbreak at the Juravinski is in the M2 unit which is a rehabilitation and alternate level of care (ALC) section. Three patients and one staff member are associated with the surge.

The city has 18 outbreaks involving 187 total cases and 22 deaths. Twenty of the deceased are connected to just two seniors’ homes currently in an outbreak — The Meadows and Macassa Lodge.

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Hamilton has now had 10,002 total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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As of Friday, the city has administered 26,738 COVID-19 vaccine doses: 17,314 at the HHS fixed clinic and close to 9,424 through the mobile clinic.

Just over 16,000 health-care workers have received a shot while about 7,200 residents have received a dose.

Seniors over 80 living in retirement homes and other congregate settings will be the next to receive vaccines as part of public health’s strategy.

The St. Joe’s West 5th Campus hospital will become the site of the city’s second fixed COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The launch date for the appointment-only clinic offering shots for those eligible for the vaccines is March 1.

The clinic will have the capacity to administer 2,000 vaccines per day. Public health says the target date for vaccinations of the general public are likely sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Read more: COVID-19 test clinics for Hamilton schools set for next week amid 3 outbreaks and rising cases

Hamilton is in the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Tuesday.

Halton Region reports 43 new COVID-19 cases

Halton region reported 43 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and another day over day drop in active cases.

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Public health says active cases went down by nine to 244 as of Feb. 19.

There were no new outbreaks reported, nor any declared over on Friday. Halton has 25 open outbreaks in the community with eight tied to an LTCH or retirement home.

Read more: First case of the more contagious U.K. COVID-19 variant arrives in Hamilton, says public health

The region still has 189 virus-related deaths and 9,181 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic started.

Public health has administered 23,934 COVID-19 vaccines as of Friday. Close to 8,000 doses have been given out by mobile teams and just under 16,000 from fixed clinics as of Feb. 19.

Halton is in the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Tuesday.

Niagara reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Niagara reported 26 new coronavirus cases on Friday and recorded two more virus-related deaths.

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The region’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths is 365. There have been 8,428 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

As of Feb. 19, the region’s active cases were at 284, a drop of three, day over day.

Read more: Niagara to stay in ‘grey-lockdown’ level of province’s COVID-19 framework

Niagara has 23 total outbreaks made up of surges at 14 health-related facilities, including six in St. Catharines and two in Niagara Falls.

Public health administered another 103 COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday. Close to 8,800 doses have been given out in the region as of Feb. 19.

Niagara is in the grey-lockdown zone level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Tuesday.

Haldimand-Norfolk reports nine new COVID-19 cases

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Friday and a slight increase in active cases from 11 to 13 day over day.

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The region has had 1,394 total coronavirus cases and 39 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

The HNHU is dealing now with just one outbreak involving a single coronavirus case at the Delhi long-term care home.

Public health says 3,235 doses of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered, while about 1,190 people have completed their vaccinations with a second dose.

Read more: ‘I’ve been pushed to my absolute breaking point’: Canadian zoos struggle to survive

Haldimand-Norfolk moved into the orange-restrict level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework on Tuesday.

Brant County reports two new COVID-19 cases

The Brant County Health Unit reported just two new COVID-19 cases on Friday with active cases decreasing by two day over day to 27.

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Read more: Toronto, Peel, North Bay-Parry Sound COVID-19 shutdown extended to March 8, York to enter red zone

Public health is dealing with just two coronavirus outbreaks, at Ryerson Heights elementary in Brantford and an unnamed corporate office with three cases.

More than 5,200 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region with more than 2,200 people having completed their vaccinations as of Feb. 19.

The county has had 1,415 coronavirus cases and 12 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began last March.

The region is now in the orange-restrict level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Tuesday.

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