Hamilton’s medical officer of health says public health has increased its sensitivity in contact tracing amid a growing number of COVID-19 variant cases across the city and province in recent weeks.
In an update on Monday, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson also said a bump in active outbreaks in Hamilton and a reproductive rate greater than 1.0 suggests the epidemic is growing.
“The blunt reality really is that we are still at a very critical point in the pandemic,” Richardson said.
“Our local trends are, you know, at best sort of at the bottom of the curve and looking to be perhaps on the way back up.”
Just two weeks ago, public health recorded and a weekly new case rate of just 34 per 100,000 and a reproductive rate lower than 1.0.
As of March 1, those numbers have now moved to a weekly rate of 56 new cases per 100,000 and a reproduction number of 1.11.
Richardson says the emergence of variants does have public health looking at the numbers more closely in terms of adjusting community control measures and the possibility of engaging the province’s proverbial “hand brake” in it’s COVID-19 response framework.
“What does concern me is that these variants, particularly the B.1.1.7 variant we know is more infectious than others,” said Richardson .
“It spreads more easily, and so very concerned about that. That’s why it’s just so very important that people follow the control measures.”
Hamilton reports 54 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more cases at detention centre
Hamilton reported 54 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and saw the outbreak at the Hamilton-Wentworth detention centre grow by eight more cases.
Since starting in mid-February, the outbreak at the Barton Street jail now has 58 total cases among 45 inmates and 13 staff.
Hamilton has 25 on-going outbreaks that also include eight shelters, six seniors homes, three hospitals, and a school.
Cases at the city’s shelters grew by six more on Monday to 86 in total, with 67 residents testing positive for the coronavirus.
There were no new outbreaks or COVID-19-related deaths reported on March 1.
The city added one more positive screening for a coronavirus variant bringing the city’s total number of unconfirmed cases to 57. The city has confirmed three cases involving the B.1.1.7 strain that first emerged in the U.K.
There are no reported cases for any of the other variants.
The city’s active cases are up day over day from 435 on Sunday to 449 on Monday.
Just over 36,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Hamilton, about 25,000 at the HHS fixed clinic and close to 11,000 through the mobile clinic.
About 16,000 doses have been given to health-care workers, with about 6,000 tied to a staffer at an LTCH or retirement home. Just over 7,000 shots have been given to residents in homes and 1,500 to essential caregivers.
Halton reports 35 new COVID-19 cases, 11 identified as variants
Halton public health reported 35 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with 11 classified as having ties to emerging variants.
The region now has 75 total variant cases from its 9,510 total cases amid the pandemic.
Active cases are up day over day by 10 to 251 as of March 1.
There were no new outbreaks or deaths recorded on Monday. The region has 18 active outbreaks with five in long-term care homes, two retirement homes, and at the Georgetown hospital.
Public health has administered 28,622 COVID-19 vaccines as of Sunday. Close to 9,000 doses have been given out by mobile teams and just under 20,000 from fixed clinics as of Feb. 28.
Halton is in the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Monday.
Niagara reports 14 new COVID-19 cases, over 30 variant cases discovered
Niagara public health say they are now investigating 33 coronavirus variant cases in the region as of March 1.
Health officials have not yet confirmed which types of the variants they are dealing with but suspect its the B.1.1.7 strain that first emerged in the U.K.
In an update on Monday, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji said testing for variants was “quite an involved process” and suspects the B.1.1.7 strain since it’s been discovered in 95 per cent of cases across Ontario.
“What we do know though is that the screening test is very close to being 100 per cent accurate and as of Friday we were up to 17 screened positive for the variants,” Hirji said.
The region reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with a slight increase in active cases day over day from 264 reported on Sunday to 270 as of Monday.
The region is now down to just two institutional outbreaks as of Monday at the Tufford Manor Retirement Home and Revera Garden City Manor Long Term Care Home. Niagara has 14 community outbreaks as of March 1.
Public health administered another 76 COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday. Close to 11,000 doses have been given out in the region as of Feb. 28.
Niagara is in the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Monday.View link »