The volume of calls to Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline are still “outstripping” the city’s capacity to respond, according to the emergency operations centre (EOC) director.
However, Paul Johnson says they are making progress as thousands of bookings were logged into the city’s makeshift call systems as of Wednesday afternoon.
“I know it may take a few tries. I know it’s frustrating, but persevere because thousands of people are getting signed up for those vaccines” Johnson told Global News.
The hotline struggled to get off the ground on the weekend due to high call volumes from those looking to book a shot for some 11,000 over the age of 85 that qualify for one of the two vaccines available.
The EOC boss said with the province’s booking system yet to launch, the city opted to use its locally-based call centre in a push to keep clinics rolling with new vaccines arriving over the next few weeks.
“The only other recourse we would have was to wait for the 15th of March when the provincial portal opens and we wanted to get vaccine out,” said Johnson.
The city are asking those who are not 85 or older or calling for someone who qualifies for the vaccine to refrain from hitting up the hotline to help keep call volumes down.
Johnson says “large scale” clinics will be operation in the later part of March, however Johnson said the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are still coming in “drips and drabs.”
“So we’ve got a few weeks of going at low volumes and doing what we can,” said Johnson.
“We expect to see that ramp up as we head to the end of March and April.”
The city has 410 active cases with 65 positive screenings for a coronavirus variant.
One more case has been identified as a B.1.1.7 variant that first emerged in the U.K.
The there are now 4 variants of concern (VOC) that belong to the B.1.1.7 category.
There are no confirmed cases for any of the other subtypes of the coronavirus.
Public health declared two new outbreaks on Wednesday at a retirement home in the west end and at a workplace in the city’s industrial sector.
The outbreak at the West Suites retirement home on King Street West involves a single resident while the outbreak at the Nicayne Metal Processing plant on Wentworth Street North affects three staffers.
An outbreak at the Queen’s Garden long-term care home (LTCH) has been closed. The facility on Queen Street near York Boulevard had just seven cases in a surge that lasted just over 30 days.
As of Tuesday, there are six seniors homes in an outbreak affecting 67 people. The bulk of the cases, 62, involve Macassa Lodge who’s been in an outbreak since Jan 1.
Hamilton has 24 current outbreaks involving over 260 cases at seven shelters with 91 cases, three hospitals with 18 cases, and a school with three.
Halton reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths at Georgetown hospital
Halton public health reported 38 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with a pair of deaths at a hospital in Halton Hills.
Public health says Georgetown hospital now has four virus-related deaths tied to an outbreak that started on Feb. 13. Fifteen people have tested positive since the surge started.
The region has now had 198 COVID-19 connected deaths since the pandemic began.
Halton has 18 active outbreaks which includes 169 cases from five long-term care homes and 96 cases from three at retirement homes.
Active cases are down by two day over day to 251 as of March 3.
The region added 13 more variant cases on Wednesday and now has 15 confirmed cases and 75 suspected cases.
The region has had 9,576 total COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic.
Halton residents 80 years or older can now book online or call 311 to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated at a regional vaccination centre.
The clinics for 80 and over are expected to run during March and April. All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.
So far, public health has administered 28,622 COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday. Close to 9,000 doses have been given out by mobile teams and just under 20,000 from fixed clinics as of Feb. 26.
Niagara reports 32 new COVID-19 cases, drop in active cases
Niagara public health reported 32 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and saw active cases drop by 43 day over day to 167.
The region added just two new variant cases and now has 40 detected cases.
The region is now down to just two institutional outbreaks as of Wednesday at the Tufford Manor Retirement Home and Revera Garden City Manor Long Term Care Home. Niagara has 17 community outbreaks as of Mar. 3.
Public health administered another 169 COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday. Close to 11,000 doses have been given out in the region as of Mar. 3.
Haldimand Norfolk reports four COVID-19 cases, close to 1,600 vaccinated
Haldimand Norfolk reported just four new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and a slight drop in active cases by three to 27 as of Mar. 3.
The region has now had 1,434 total COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic and 39 deaths.
There are just a pair of outbreaks at health-care facilities involving one staff case each at the Cedar Crossing retirement home in Simcoe and the Grandview Lodge long-term care home in Dunnville.
Close to 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered with about 1,600 having completed there series of shots.
Brant County hits 1,500 COVID-19 cases amid pandemic
Brant County has now recorded 1,500 COVID-19 cases since March of last year reporting another four cases on Wednesday.
Active cases in the region dropped slightly day over day from 54 on Tuesday to 48 as of Mar. 3.
Public health says there are two variant cases in the county but have not determined the lineage of the samples.
More than 8,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered with about 2,500 having completed there series of shots.